Thoughts from a Grieving Mother

I wanted to take a moment to blog about some things that have been going through my head as Emily’s birthday approaches. I must warn you, though, my mood is solemn and not all these thoughts are entirely rational. They are just thoughts, put here to help others understand how I, as a grieving mother, feel. These are the things I don’t always say. These are things that sometimes just flit through my head and then they are gone. These are things I think when I am at my most vulnerable and need the Lord to pick me back up and help me move through it. What I write here is as much an outlet for me as it is a way for those of you who have not lost a child to catch a glimpse of what is inside a grieving mother’s head.

Have you ever had a child go and visit somewhere for a few days? Do you remember the feeling you had as you counted and recounted your other children’s heads. That feeling that someone is missing. That feeling that something is not quite right. That is how this feels. But, my child will not be coming home. I’m not sure, this side of Heaven, I’ll ever feel like things are “right”.

Going to WalMart is excruciating. The baby section is the major offender, but I could literally find something in every department to make me ache for her. As I walk by the cute little 4th of July bibs, I want to scream, “My child should be wearing one of those!” She was my little firecracker ~ literally. The 4th of July will never be the same. We will celebrate Emily’s life, but we will grieve as well. And we will always remember what we were doing July 4, 2007.

There is a chasm between those who have lost a child and those who have not. I do not envy those who have not felt this pain, but I must admit there is a sort of camaraderie amongst those who belong to this “club.” We have lived through everyone else’s nightmare. We continue to live through it.

I find myself often thinking, “How did I get here?” I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have wished I could go back in time. Not that there is anything I could have changed, but she would be here. I want her back. But, of course, when I really sit and think about it, I know that isn’t fair. She wouldn’t want to come back. She is right where she belongs. But, in my humanity, I still want her back.

People ask what number of child is the hardest transition for a family. Is it 1 to 2? Is it 3 to 4? No. It is 5 to 4. It is going backward. I don’t know that you ever truly adjust to having less children.

I now understand why it took my husband’s grandmother 40 years to put up a headstone for her son who died as a child from cancer. How do you manage to get everything you feel about your child on a bit of stone? How can you ever say all you want to say? Yet, every time I go to the cemetery, I am grieved that no stone marks her grave. This paradox hangs over much of our lives. We have to deal with something involving her death, but we do not want to do it. The longer we put it off, the harder it becomes to deal with it.

Every time I hear someone call their child Emily, I catch my breath. There are a lot of Emilys out there.

I wish everyone knew about Emily. I am most uncomfortable in places where I know there is no one there who knew she existed. People ask me how many children I have. I point to my obviously pregnant belly and say, “This is number 6.” So far, no one has questioned the fact that there are only 4 children surrounding me. That is okay. At least I feel as though she has been included, whether the person I am talking to knows it or not.

I sometimes feel like I don’t have a job. There is no one here who is completely dependent on me anymore. I have not been in this position in nearly 4 years. I “baby” my 2 year old…everyone knows it…I don’t care.

I go to Emmy’s grave often. Some people think that is not healthy. But it is all I have left to take care of. I can keep the area tidy, pull weeds, leave pretty purple flowers. I am still her mother. I also like to walk through the cemetary and read the headstones of other babies and children. I then read the parent’s gravestones as well. This may seem strange to some, but for me it makes me feel less lonely. I am not the only one. There have been many others before me.

There are many more thoughts rambling about in my head I am sure, but these are the ones I could latch on to and semi-coherently put into words. I am just so thankful that no matter how far I fall, the Lord’s Everlasting Arms are still underneath me.

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29 thoughts on “Thoughts from a Grieving Mother

  1. We celebrate the birth of our son on Friday as well, and as I purchased his gifts, I stopped and wept as I thought I should be buying a gift for Emily’s precious first birthday. Our hearts are with you, and we join so many others in prayer for your family. May the peace of the Lord be with you.

  2. I know not how you feel truly, yet I am thinking of you and praying for you and your family. And, yes, God’s everlasting arms will always be there for you and me.Marie in NC

  3. I’m praying for you as Friday approaches. The birthday’s and milestones are the hardest times, though the times in between aren’t exactly easy! Dont’ worry what people think. If you need to go to her graveside than you go. You may feel that you are taking care of her but this is also a way of taking care of you too. You need to have time and space to grieve in your own way and to come to terms with all that has happened. I’m praying for you as one who is ‘in that club’ – Deedee (www.homeschoolblogger.com/deedeeuk)

  4. We go to the cemetery pretty often, too. We always bring paper towels to clean off the stone and make it look pretty, we put flowers there, I talk out loud. And then our little family drives along the winding paths, under the tall trees for awhile. The ritual is meaningful for us. I can totally relate to the feeling of, “I get to do so little for her, this is my one place.”Felicity’s birthday is in September. It’s insane to me that a year has almost gone. I’m sure you’re feeling similarly. This is not a loss that you recover from in weeks or months. It truly takes years (based on some things I’ve read). I don’t really know what to ask for from the Lord for you as you approach Friday. I suppose I would ask that you feel a freedom to grieve and miss Emily before God, pouring your hearts out before Him in your grief.

  5. You remain in my prayers, and as Friday approaches. I haven’t walked that road, so thank you for sharing for those of us who don’t know your true pain. May Gods peace and comfort be with you, in times of the valley.

  6. Continuing to pray for you, Ty, and your dear children. May you always feel His everlasting arms, sustaining you.Mel

  7. I have walked through that valley also. We lost our second son after 18 days. The pain does lessen after a while. One day, you realize you feel okay seeing other babies, and can even walk by that infant section without feeling overwhelmed. You will always carry her with you, you might even be able to help someone else one day. I will be praying for you this week! Jana in TX

  8. After years of experience in walking this path I have found that there is no guesssing, no telling, no knowing how these seasons are going to play out.Sometimes the anticipation is worse, sometimes the day itself is worse, sometimes you’re fine and it sneaks up to ambush you later. Sometimes it is hours, sometimes days, sometimes weeks.You are ahead of the game, as you know to rest in the Lord who has everything under control.You are being prayed for.

  9. I can’t say anything to comfort, but I think of you often & have remembered her birthday coming up. I am praying for you.

  10. I am still out here as I have not posted a comment in awhile, sometimes just feeling like your existing as you probably know that feeling. I think for me it was more emotional waiting for the day than the day itself on the first birthday that our little ones are not here. I too share many of your thoughts, like going to the cometary to want to continue to do “something” for them. I think that we need to do what our hearts tell us as far a s releasing the grief. I know the Lord has surrounded your family with such gracious people to help hold your arms up. May the Lord give grace as you continue the journey. Keep looking up from whence cometh your help!!!Cindy Morrishttp://www.weloveyoujoel.blogspot.com

  11. I just wanted to say that I’ll be praying for you. I happened across your blog from a friends blog at HSB. Your story has touched my heart. Your little girl was beautiful and you have paid her a beautiful tribute. May the God of all comfort truly give you His comfort!

  12. I just want you to know–I don’t know you but O love you and your beautiful daughter. I have been struggling with being overwhelmed as a Mommy. Your sharing has put me in a better perspective. Thank you for sharing. My prayers are for you!

  13. I JUST WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU FOR HAVING THIS IN YOUR BLOG. I LOST MY 1ST CHILD TO MISCARRIAGE IN MAY 2001. I LOST MY LESS THEN 4HR OLD FULL TERM BABY GIRL JULY 16TH 2009 SHE IS MY 8TH. SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN 32WKS THURSDAY. I HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH ALL THE THINGS U HAVE SAID IN THIS POST N THEN SOME N I THOUGHT I WAS CRAZY OR BEST ALL ALONG. I HAVE BEEN BEGGING GOD TO TELL MY WHY. NOW I WOULD NEVER WANT ANYONE ELSE TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS RATHER THEN ME BUT I STILL WONDER WHY ME, WHY US? WAS I NOT A GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER? WHERE R U GOD? IT WAS HARD TO READ YOUR POSTS N RELIVE HER DEATH BUT IT HELPED ALOT TO HEAR YOU PUT INTO WORDS MY THOUGHTS… WE ALSO HAVE GIVEN THE LORD OUR FERTILITY BUT I AM SCARED (WHICH I KNOW ISNT FROM OUR LORD) I AM WANTING A BABY BUT I AM NOT WANTING THE PAIN OF WORRYING ABOUT EVER HAVING TO BURY ANOTHER CHILD. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF U DID ANYTHING (BESIDES PRAYER OF COURSE) THAT HELPED U DURING UR NEXT PREGNANCY AFTER EMILYS PASSING? PLZ IF U HAVE TIME (WHICH I KNOW IS RARE IN OUR LRG HOMESCHOOLING FAMILIES) EMAIL ME MY EMAIL IS motherwqsalways4@yahoo.com I WOULD APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH THANK YOU GOD BLESS

  14. Thank you for your blog. I lost a son at 12hrs old. Way too many complications on his poor body, the ONLY parts of him that worked were his heart and brain. He even had a huge whole on his back from Spinibifida (I am glad I never saw this, but my poor husband did) I know he is in a better place with God, a place with no pain. You talked about being able to say you have 6 children and how it makes you feel a little better. My son was my first and only child (so far) I don’t know if I want to have more (my husband and I have decided to adopt children soon)… but after almost 4 years the hardest part for me is answering the “do you have a child” question from co-workers or doctors. If I say no then I feel like i’m betraying my little boy, but if I say yes then I feel like must say but he past away (as to not get the next obvouse questions “how many” or “how old”?) and then I get sympothetic replys which always make me feel uncomfortable too. I am fine with his passing now, way more times then I’m not and the I don’t know how to handle the sympothy. I just hate the “do you have children” question (besides even if I say no some people look at me like “well why the hell not” since I’m almost 30). I know it’s hard…. thank you so much for your bravery to write here your experiance, it has helped to know about others out their going thorgh similar things!!! Keep praying and remeber that what ever you are doing or feeling in regards to your daughter is the exact right thing NO MATTER WHAT!!! There is no formula and everyone is different, if you need to cry that is good if you need to go to the grave that is good if you need to just live your life and don’t remeber her for days that is good too…. what ever you do is right and nothing is wrong and don’t let people tell you other wise (I had a “friend” tell me I hadn’t delt with my soons grief enough because I never wrote anything down and because she never saw me cry)

    • Tahira,
      The “how many children” question still gets me and sometimes my answer is 6 rather than 7 (I’ve had another child since this post was written). If I’m in a position where it will just be too complicated to explain, I don’t mention Em. So, I truly understand. You just give what information you feel like you can deal with at the time. Blessings to you on your journey! :)

  15. My daughter Amberley would be 30 this November. (11-24-81 to 4-1-820 She lived for less than four months. She is my child #2, with 2 miscarriages since and 3 living sons, I have 7 children. Hard to explain when people don’t get it. My children are 33, 27, 25, and 22.
    There is still a empty spot.
    Will be thinking about you and praying for you. Time and events fill the corners a bit, but you never stop missing them. She was born with Cerebal Pasly.

  16. I lost my son, Patrick, on March 18, 2012. He was 20 year old, on fire for the Lord & about to graduate Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murietta, Ca. His last joyful full day of life was St. Patrick’s day. I wanted to call, as I thought about him all day, but was busy packing for a “girls mountain retreat” my daughter & I were planning on taking with my sisters the next day. “I’ll call as we are driving tomorrow”, I thought. I awoke at 5 am EST the next morning, March 18. I couldn’t get back to sleep. “I guess I am just anxious about our 9 hour drive today. I wish I could catch another hour & a half sleep.” Finally, I got up at 6 am, let the dog out & stood looking out the back door, wondering why I felt strange. Must be this trip. I let the dog in, got in the shower. When I got out, my husband somberly & quietly told me to get dressed and come into the den. There was a change of plans. As I dressed, I thought what could be so drastic as to keep Sarah & I from going on our girls trip? NEVER CROSSED MY MIND to be ANYTHING like what it was. When I was ready, I went in the den where my other two children still living at home were waiting. James is 7, Sarah is 15. He said, “Patrick died this morning.” What?!!! Not possible. At midnight, PST, he had gone with a friend to hang out at Gold’s Gym across the street from campus. They wanted a little “bro time”. At some point, they met 2 strangers who wanted a pick up game of B-ball. One of them had an injured knee, so they were just shooting hoops. At 2 AM PST (5 AM EST) Pat said his chest was tightening up and he needed a drink of water, so he left the court. He never made it to the fountain. 2:01 EMT’s called. At 3:14 he was pronounced dead. So far, the coroner can’t determine a cause of death. We are awaiting genetics testing. Your posts are such a blessing to me! You articulate what I have been going thru so exactly it’s uncanny. Thank-you for this site! Pat’s birthday is September 29, and the little bro he adored will be 8 on September 24. I don’t know how to celebrate his birthday. We still have not picked a tombstone. I know I will be visiting your site often. You can watch my son’s memorial service at http://www.calvarychapelbiblecollege.com and go to the archives for March. It’s there. I pray the Lord continues to rehabilitate you…. It’s like learning to live with an amputation. God Bless you! Thank-you again so much for sharing! Sincerely, Melisa

    • I am so sorry, Melisa! I’m so thankful you have come here and you can relate to my emotions in your own grief over Patrick. It sounds like he was a real blessing to your family and many people. (hugs)

  17. Thank you for putting into words exactly how I feel at times. We lost our first child, our son, just 2 weeks ago, and I still feel like I’m in a nightmare and I’m fighting so hard to wake up. I do constantly feel like something is missing, but I am relying on the Lord more than ever before. Rational or not, you are not alone in your thoughts.

  18. I am there, now. My infant daughter died 9 weeks ago today and I am now where you were when you wrote this. Some many people are implying that I should be getting better now, that I should start to feel ok. But I wonder if I will ever feel ok. I am surrounded by things that remind me of her and her very short life. I am still dealing with the physical pain from the complicated pregnancy. I am still mothering my other three young girls and helping them deal with their grief. My heart is broken, my faith is shaken, and my family is short one precious little girl.

    Please pray for us.

    Shannon

    • Shannon,
      You are on my heart tonight. I stood at my daughter’s grave this past week and wept. She has been gone over 5 years now. I will never be the same. You will never be the same. And yes, there will always be people who do not understand, but we wouldn’t want them to because to truly understand this means you’ve lived it. You are loved. You will move forward. It won’t be easy, but every step of the way, the Lord is right there with you. I have had some major faith crises, but I needed them to grow me. Keep praying…even when you don’t have the words. He hears. He is faithful. ((HUGS))

  19. I was introduced to your site a few months ago through a close friend. I was pregnant at the time and saw your posts on the “Grieving Mother”, but shyed away from them. However, only a few days later, we were told that our baby had died. I had actually carried it for almost two weeks without knowing it was dead. I had a D/C, and we were able to burry the baby a few days after that. The baby was 12.5 weeks when it died, I did not find out until 14.5.
    I would now be 22.5 weeks and I am struggling with what you call, “Living the Nightmare” that other mothers never want to live through. I never wanted to think about having a D/C, let alone the thought of having a baby buried in a cemetery. But now I have one. I only know of one friend who can say the same. It is so hard to reconcile my heart and head against the stigma that I dreaded thinking about, and yet I now live that reality. It took me almost a month before I could actually say that it was in a grave in the cemetery. It just seems so surreal.
    This is my second miscarriage and some things are easier, but some things are new and harder. With my first, I hated that people would tell me that God would bring something good from it. I didn’t care. I wanted my baby back. It seemed so selfish of Him to allow something so horrible, just so He could show off in the midst of it. I felt guilty that I was angry at God. I struggled with depression. After many months, one day I heard Him say, “It is okay. You can be mad at death. I am just as angry at death as you are. It was never part my plan in the beginning.” It was then I realized, in His grace, He did bring good things in the midst of the bad. In spite of sin, He brought Christ and redemption. He brought eternal life and HE defeated death. He died to buy myself and my baby back from death. For that, I am so grateful.
    He has brought earthly blessings as well. Exactly a year after my due date from our first miscarriage, we had another baby. We have actually been pregnant four times in four years, when we only had a less than 3% chance of conceiving. All of them were natural conceptions.
    Thank you for your blog. It has been very comforting. Happy 6th birthday to your Emmy!

  20. I came across your website tonight as I was searching for other bereaved mothers. My ten year old daughter, Abby, passed suddenly on June 3, 2010. She was and is my only child. She would be starting the eighth grade this week. I miss her oh so much. Like you, I know Abby wouldn’t want to come back even if she was given the choice but I miss her so much and wish I could have her back.

    Perhaps God led me to your site tonight because I just had her foot stone put down this past Friday. It took me three years to decide what to put on it and even that wasn’t perfect. I hope she likes it. I put “Loving daughter, granddaughter, and friend” and we are mounting her favorite horse’s horse show in the middle. I am so relieved to find that I’m not the only one who has had trouble doing this. Sometimes it is so comforting to know I’m not alone.

  21. I will not to begin to say I know how you feel but I myself have lost my daughter at age 2. It has been 3 years and there has not been a day I don’t think of her. Don’t get me wrong some days are easier then others but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of her. My heart goes out to you and your family.