The Hardest Question

The hardest question so far to answer hasn’t been about my son, or what the doctors are saying, or even how I’m doing. The hardest question to answer has been when someone asks how my wife is doing.

The hardest question to answer isn’t just a question, but a weight I carry with me.

The hardest question to answer gets generic responses like “she’s ok” or “she’s doing as well as she can be”.

The hardest question to answer isn’t a question anyone wants me answering, not honestly. Not completely. How can I? How can I answer a question that breaks my heart to think about?

How’s my wife doing? Do you mean the woman that many people never thought would have kids? Who had given up on the idea herself by the time we got together? The woman who has been there and been the super aunt for countless nieces and nephews? The woman who is an amazing stepmom?

That woman?

She’s good. She’s keeping her head above water because she has to. Because we have our son to take care of and to build a life and help him with everything we can. Because she’s the type of person, the type of Mom, that will put herself on the back burner for the benefit of whoever needs her.

She shows strength in ways others aren’t even capable of thinking about.

And it all breaks my heart.

She’s had to mourn the loss of a life she had dreamed of and anticipated. Not only of our son’s life but hers as finally being able to be a Mom. Nothing will be how she had hoped, or how she had anticipated. Things she was looking forward to, now locked away as fantasy and dreams.

There are no photos of our newborn son holding our fingers.

There won’t be cute mittens or shoes for him to wear.

Clothes and toys that were bought in anticipation of his arrival, will now be put away, given away, or simply allowed to collect dust. No longer needed or of use.

Trading the typical expected memories and milestones for the unexpected ones.

There likely won’t be those first-time drawings or writing of Mommy. Getting to laugh and smile at first attempts of feeding himself. No first-time crawling or first steps. No ball throwing or sitting in the stands cheering him on.

My heart breaks for my wife for the things she won’t get to experience. For the memories that were anticipated. The moments and milestones in life that had been looked forward to, being replaced with unknowns.

My heart breaks for my wife having to put on a strong front as countless people throw out information they’ve looked into.

Trying to build hope, only to realize they’re twisting the knife in a still painfully fresh wound. Not giving her time to even process the new life we’re now facing, while having the let go of the life we were anticipating.

My wife is an amazing woman. The strongest person I can imagine. I can’t even fathom facing the ups and downs we’ll be facing with anyone else. Fact is, a child facing a disability could not ask for a more amazing human being to be their parent. She is a force. She loves our son with a passion and a love unmatched. She adores him while being heartbroken knowing of the trials and struggles he will face. Heartbroken her power is limited in terms of what she can do for him to shoulder those pains.

My wife is an amazing mom. Others would break under the pressure she’s already endured. Having everything shatter in front of her, but picking herself up and keeping one step in front of the other. I adore her and have already stopped in awe of her countless times.

How is my wife doing?

She’s amazing. She’s an amazing Mom, an amazing Wife, an amazing person, and that’s all while she’s broken inside. Keeping things inside to not burden or worry others. Maintaining composure while the world around her pours down. Shouldering things I wish I could shoulder for her. My heart breaks for her. For all the moments she won’t get, that she deserves, but man-oh-man just you wait. The moments ahead of us; those moments will be something unique, something special, and they’ll be for her.

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