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Just Like You - Deborah Wiseman

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The conversation turned to death and dying - a familiar subject for me but not for my friend. He looked me in the eye and said, "I would leave the country if one of my children had a terminal illness (like yours did). I couldn't bear to watch him die. I would go crazy-I'd lose it if one of my children died!" With that, he turned away from me and walked to a safer place. A place not so close to the living truth that children do die. "No, you wouldn't," I said, my face flushed and the tears welling up. Did he have any idea of the emotions that he had brought to the surface? No.

With his words he unconsciously made me feel that he knew he loved his children more than I loved mine. That the fact that I was there - walking, talking, and not in an insane asylum was because in some way, I was different. But I'm not. And I envied him because there was a time I remembered when I had spoken some of the same words with conviction. I would never speak those words again from the security of a complete family and healthy children. I want to scream at him, "Don't you know a part of me did die with my child? Can't you see this hole in my heart?!"

But I didn't - because I knew that he was lucky enough not to be able to understand. So I silently forgave him, as I whispered softly, "I used to be just like you."

Deborah Wiseman, TCF Nashville, TN