No one ever likes to open their mail to a letter from the IRS. I'm not an exception (especially when I know there is not going to be a check!). So, you can imagine my surprise when I found a letter, addressed to me, this afternoon.
Upon opening the letter, I find that they believe our taxes werent filed for 2008. Being the person I am, even though Peter wanted to call tomorrow, I called tonight, waded through the automated prompts, and sat down at the kitchen table to be helped in "4 to 7 minutes".
When the person came on the line, she asked me to verify socials, birthdays, names, and addresses, and then, just to make sure I really am who I am, she needed to ask me some questions about my return. She asked, I answered, and then... THE question.
"How many people were claimed on your 2008 return?"
I felt my breath catch in my throat. I couldnt breathe. As Bobby and Maya giggled in the background while Peter played with them in the living room, I felt my entire heart collapse in my chest. "I don't know..." I managed.
"Just the total," she said politely.
I must have stammered for a few moments before I finally was able to say, "That's a difficult question. I actually don't know. My husband and I lost three children that year." And I began to cry. "I don't know if we filed for 5 or for 2."
Immediately, I heard an intake of breath and she told me that she was sorry. And she apologized for asking a question that was completely related to her task. I felt bad she needed to apologize. And grateful. She asked if I needed some time and, as I tried to breathe and not openly sob into the phone, we were able to ascertain the problem (we filed online and there was an issue with the pin number so they rejected the return and now we have to file it in paper because- get this- the IRS doesnt tell you if your forms are rejected! I'm sure when my pissed offness sets in, I'll blog about this, but for right now...).
I'm stunned. I thought that I had worked through, on some level, my pain. I talk about the children all the time and don't cry. I remember them and hold their hats and their box, and can do so without sobbing. And yet... That innocent question... God, it brought so much to the surface. So much.... So much hurt. So much. Loss. Pure, unadulterated loss.
Three children. Here. And then. NOT here. Gone. My world empty. Five? Or two? Missed from a census, recorded forever on an IRS tax form. The only record of them. Rejected.
Perhaps this wouldnt have hurt so much had it not been July 1st. at 7:45pm. 29 months to the moment that I delivered Nicholas in our lime green, downstairs bathroom. 29 months to the moment that I held his perfect, warm little body as he wiggled and kicked and struggled to live.
29 months to the moment that I became a mother in the most fullness of the word (because I believe you are indeed a parent the moment your child is conceived). 29 months since my world fell apart as it came together.
29 months. So short. So long. A lifetime.
29 months since my sweet, first born son, my husband's namesake, entered this world, and graced it with his beauty and his life for 55 sweet minutes.
And my soul, balmed by the lives and love of Bobby and Maya, was ripped apart for this stranger, who asked, so kindly, if I needed a moment.
I need a lifetime, I think.
And, truly, I'm not sure that even that long would be enough.
Grief is so unpredictable, isn't it? I guess it'll always catch us off guard every now and then. Wishing all 5 of your beautiful children were there with you.
oh, i am so sorry. what an unimaginably horrible reminder.
"Missed from a census, recorded forever on an IRS tax form. The only record of them. Rejected." - intense, powerful words...
Michelle...this is SO real, so true, and so relevant.I can totally relate and feel your pain.
I just can't imagine. I can't imagine delivering a little baby at home and watching him struggle to survive. I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. I do want you to know that your story and strength has touched my life tremendously and I am sure you have done the same fir so many others.
I have your hanky here with me in the hospital. Thank you so much.
That lady sounded kind and I am sure that you touched her heart as well.
oh honey..i am aching for you right now. I won't offer words since none are sufficient.
I am glad the employee was kind & civil and decent, though.
So sorry...the IRS sucks!
Your little ones,and mine are not nor ever will be rejected in Heaven and for that I am thankful singing praises to the Lord Jesus for His goodness!
Hurtfully though there are jerks here on earth and for that I am sad, I hurt for you.(((HUGS)))
Although this is a beautifully written post, my heart breaks because of the pain that inspires your words. You do your children great justice here, you know. I am so sorry -- and yet those words will not ever be enough.
This is one of the hardest things that we have to live with. I too lost three, actually 4 children, within the past year. Each time someone asks about my pregnancy, if I had the babies......It just breaks my heart. I think pieces of you heal, but your heatstrings are still torn. I hope you are feeling better today. Just remember that you have children waiting for you, watching out for you, and protecting you. Thats what helps me through the day.
I'm so sorry Michele. It is horrible when something like this comes along, out of the blue, and hurts so much.
Thinking of you and all your children but especially Nicholas today. x
It sure does sneak up on us doesn't it?
A lifetime is still not enough but my our lifetimes will get us back to them.
My heart just breaks for you, Michele. I'm sending you so much love, and so many tears.
I'm so sorry. This is a beautiful post, and it really brings through the emotion and grief you feel. I'm so sorry about everything. And also proud of you that you are still going on with your life, raising your beautiful twins, and getting in shape and doing triathlons. I'm sure your first three children are proud of you, too.
I am so sorry for you and for what you've had to endure. You are a very strong woman.
And even though this post if incredibly said, it is also absolutely beautiful. Each word is so full of impact and pain, it's eloquently heartbreaking.
I read this tonight then tried to read it out loud to my friend here without tears...It can't be done. The strength you have amazes me. I'm so sorry this had to happen, even more so on the date/time that it did.
Hugs to you.
I can't imagine how painful that must have been, especially since it likely caught you off-guard and then flooded you with such intense, raw emotion ... and the timing of it ...
Your feelings leapt off the page as I read this. As Girl in the dark said, it is eloquently heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Michele. With you and with your sweet Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander.
Oh, sweetie. What a rough day. I'm sorry. Thinking about you, Peter, and all your babies. (((Hugs)))
Grief seems to have a way of sneaking up on us. Sorry you had to deal with the IRS. My heart broke for you as I read this. Thinking of you!!
*tears* with you...Im so sorry xxx
Oh, I am so sorry. As I read this, my brain just didnt even want to go there-I wish that grief didn't do this to us. It strikes completely out of nowhere and leaves us completely unprepared and strips us of everything.
I'm sending you love and hugs
I've never lost a child, but I found this post so powerful, beautifully written. Keep on writing, girl.
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