An Innocent Question That Can Lead to a Very Hard Answer


questionThey seem like an innocent question, “How many children do you have?” Or “Is she your first?”

After September of 2014, the answer to these questions wasn’t as straightforward as you would think. You see, my firstborn, my three-year-old, passed away. To cope, I dove into my relationship with my 16-month-old daughter. I tried to do as much with her as I could, things that I wasn’t necessarily able to do with her brother. So the questions arose as we explored Fairfield County, Las Vegas, and Puerto Rico in those first months after his passing.

At first, I was hesitant to disclose his death to the innocent strangers that asked, but it didn’t feel right not to mention him. He will always be my son, and he was what my world revolved around. How could I not acknowledge him?

So I resolved that no matter who asks, I will always say I have 2 children (and now, after the birth of my twins – 4) and mention him. I know it makes people uncomfortable or sad when I say that he has passed, and I apologize, as I know it’s unexpected. Sometimes I say his name and how old he was, sometimes I say he would have been 5, and other times I tell a brief story of what happened to him to cause such an early passing.

I have found that sharing his story or sharing that he has passed opens up a dialogue, and others can speak of their losses and say their child’s or grandchild’s name. I know it feels so good to say his name and talk about him because he made me a mom. He existed and taught me so much that I would have otherwise taken for granted. I can only hope it feels the same for others who have experienced the loss of a child when asked and able to speak of them.

So when asked the innocent question, “How many children do you have?” I will hold my breath for a second, say 4, and smile on the inside because I get to talk about him.

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Caroline is a mom of four, D born in 2011 (a son who left us at 3 years old after significant medical issues), H born in 2013 (daughter), and A & M born in 2016 (twin daughters). Originally from Westchester, she and her husband settled in Wilton in 2010. She became a stay-at-home mom after D was born. She serves on the board of STAR Inc. and is also very involved with the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley, where she stayed for almost 3 months. She enjoys reading, tennis, cooking, baking, and grocery shopping!


  1. You are an awesome Mom. All of us are blessed to have you in our lives! Your Four children are beautiful in every way. God bless you, cousin!

  2. I lost one of my four in September 2014 when he was 30. When asked about my kids I usually avoid telling this if possible because it ruins the conversation right there. Sometimes I get away with bragging on his accomplishments without getting the question “where is he now?” That makes me happy.

  3. A beautifully written blog article , Caroline. As your mother, I am proud of you and how you have been able to answer the innocent questions.


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