Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Privileged Information

     A few months ago I was showing some clients a home and we began talking about our families.   I told them that I lost my son DJ in 2006.  I suppose I did expect some sort of comment back from them, most people will acknowledge the statement with something like "I'm sorry" at the very least.  Now I didn't tell them about DJ to get that sentiment, I wasn't looking for any sympathy-- we just had established a relationship in the time I had dealt with them and I felt they were nice enough, etc that I could share that with them.  (Sorry for the poor grammer and rambling here).  Anyhow they didn't say a word and continued with the conversation as if they didn't even hear me mention DJ's name.  I have to say I was really surprised but not shocked.  I have been in situations before when people will gloss over DJ's death and change the subject.  This time however there was no acknowledgement at all. 
      Awhile back I was having a phone conversation with someone and I made a mental decision not to say a thing about DJ.  I didn't know this person well enough to give them that privileged information about me, my family and my son. 
     I write about this because these are two incidents where the words we say, the information we share about our child is privileged information.  I don't think, no- I know, that people who we share this information with do not realize how much we are truly sharing.  We are baring a little bit of our soul with them-something so private and privileged that we do not share it with everyone.  To give a person a bit of our story we are truly risking the memory, the life of our child.  We do not chose to tell about our loved ones flippantly, it is not just words to us--it is a memory, an honor we are giving them and they are choosing to accept or deny it.
     When DJ first passed away I probably told everyone about it.  Ofcourse it wasn't hard to know something was wrong-grief was written on every inch of my body and that of my families.  But now as almost 7 years have gone by I chose who I tell.  Not everyone is worthy of knowing about DJ's life and our loss. 
     Not everyone is worthy of knowing how wonderful and cool he was.  How DJ could light up a room just by walking into it. How beautifully green his eyes were.   How he would be into his first year of college now.  Not everyone gets the opportunity to learn that he teased his family-his brother almost mercilessly and was a constant source of support to his friends.   How he was his sisters very best friend and how much he is missed.
     I now choose who I share my memories with, I choose who I share my life and DJ's with.  I have learned over the years that not everyone is worthy of this part of my life.  Knowing about DJ is a privilege.  I hope all of you reading this have friends and family that you can share that privilege with.  I hope that all of you reading this that have not lost a child now realize what a gift a bereaved parent is giving you by sharing their words with you.


  1. Hey Lisa well said. I feel just the same and only share my story when I feel the people are right. Sometimes I am right and sometimes wrong but the right times are worthwhile.

  2. OMG Lisa this is exactly how I feel but just didnt know how to put it in words or understand my feelings or thoughts. People understand LOSS but they DON'T understand the loss of a child. Thank you for writing this blog, it has reallly helped me!!! Very well said! Again Thank YOU!!!

  3. Pat and JJ I agree with you, timing is everything and knowing whether or not to share is so important--obviously I have been wrong on many an account. Beatrice I am so glad that the blog has helped you and I really like your words that people understand loss but not the loss of a child--I may need to borrow that for a future blog. Thank you all for your words of support-they mean so much to me as well!

  4. I just found your blog. I lost my 13 year old son only 36 days ago. I too homeschool. Thank you for sharing

  5. Oh Jillybean, I am so sorry. If you email me your address I will send you my book. I wrote it after DJ passed away, it has helpful information in it that I couldn't find anywhere and needed--like what to do with DJ's clothes, his school, his room. How to handle the holidays, the firsts, etc. I will send it to you-it's called Flower's on a Child's Grave, Now What. my email is eppersonc21@gmail.com Lisa Epperson