“Is Ravi your first?”

“No, he is our second.”  Silence.

“So, does Ravi have an older brother or sister at home?”

“Our first son died at the age of 3 and a half.  It is almost three years ago now.”

“Oh, um, I am sorry to hear that…May I ask what happened?

I pause.  What is today’s story?  “it started with the flu…”  “REALLY?” this scares typical parents, this could happen to anyone.  Or  “he was born with compromised health, a fragile boy…” “OH, I see.”  That must explain everything.  It can’t happen to anyone.  The world is as they think it is, under their control.  When I start this way, I wonder if they think this made his death inevitable, expected?

I don’t know why I have two versions.  It did start with the flu.  But I have noticed that when I leave out Kiran’s underlying issues people are more uncomfortable.  I end up comforting them telling them it’s ok, when it’s not.

Why do people think his death is somehow less awful because he had compromised health?  Why are there times when I try to make this easier for strangers and harder for me?