Most loss parents dread the question, “How many children do you have?” I am one of them. I. Hate. It. Seriously, every single time I get that awful feeling of so much sadness and not knowing what to say. Do I tell them all about my family and accept the discomfort and look of terror I get in return? Pretend like Blake was never here? Dodge the question? Lie?
This brings me to something that I know many will not understand, I am still Blake’s mom and I still parent her. Before you start thinking I’m a nutcase, listen up. I’m horrifically aware that I don’t get to parent Blake in a physical sense. That was stolen from me and my husband the day that we lost her. But just like Kenley and Ayla, Blake is constantly on my mind. I would say even more so because I don’t get to come home from work and see her. Or find joy in knowing she is at school playing with her friends or blissfully napping in the other room.
I parent her in spreading awareness about the fucked up disease that took her life. I tell anyone who will let me about SMA.
I parent her by sending sunshine to other families in her honor.
I parent her by raising money for research and assistance to those still living with SMA.
I parent her through teaching her sisters about her.
I parent her by thinking of her every single moment of every single day.
I parent her in so many other ways too.
Parenting for one third of my babies looks different now but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there and just as important as it ever was. My dear friend, and fellow loss mama, said it best in a text message, “You and Jeff will always be parents to three girls in the hardest way.”