My life since Parker has left me has been full of "firsts". First time to see someone since..., first time to explain to someone what happened, first time to meet someone new who has no idea.
Last night while at Payton's swim meet I had met a wonderfully nice woman who was going to be handing out ribbons with me. There are over 100 kids on the swim team, and I obviously do not know all of them or their parents. Most of them are from out of town, even out of state who vacation on Long Beach Island for the summer. This woman was one of them. We were sitting together getting ready for the swim meet, casually talking and getting to know each other. She had met Payton, as I her daughter. She chatted about her other children, how they were going off to college and this and that. Then she asked me if Payton was an only child. This was a "first" for me. I didn't know how to answer her. Payton is NOT an only child - she has a brother that she loved for the last 9 years. But he is no longer here. I don't know how to answer that question. I didn't want to answer that question. It brings the conversation with a stranger to an entirely different level. I couldn't walk away or avoid her. I was going to be sitting next to her for the next 2 hours. So I told her. I told her she has a brother that passed away from Leukemia in March. I made him present. I made him real. He was real. Living and breathing and smiling and her brother just a few months ago.
Our life is never going to be the same. Payton's life will never be the same. I don't want anyone to ask her that question. Ever. I know it will happen, it will happen over and over again as she lives her life. I hate that question. It is a source of unbelievable pain. A simple question. "Is she an only child?".