I can’t even imagine the scenario of my daughter dying, whether by some terrible accident or a long, drawn-out illness. Literally, I can’t do it – I’ve allowed my mind to start down that morbid road countless times. I never get very far; just the thought of waking up without her in the world catches my breath and brings immediate tears to my eyes. I have to stop the thought before it develops. It feels like someone just stabbed me in the heart and is cutting me open with a dull blade from chest to naval. That’s when I just begin to imagine something fatal happening to my baby girl.
To have it actually happen is something I’m fairly certain I would not face with an abundance of grace. I would not be brave. I would not be strong. I wouldn’t know how to breathe, let alone be happy again. I think I would completely self-destruct without her in my life; I’d crawl into the dark gaping hole her absence left inside of me and never come out again. That’s why I’m so moved by stories of mothers who have lost a child, but who get up each day and face the world anyway. These moms are warriors who have lost one of the most painful battles a woman can fight, that for the life of her child, and still manage to get out of bed in the morning. Maybe it’s because they’re not alone.
Many Mamaloders have experienced this loss, some with more than one child. While it may slightly dull the pain to know that you still have other surviving children, nothing can ever replace the child or children you lost. It can also be hard trying to explain to your living kids what happened to their brother or sister, or why they’re no longer here to play.
Regardless of how long you got to spend with your child before they died, whether it was days or years, you will undoubtedly count every second they’re gone from now on. That’s okay. Just don’t forget to try and be thankful for the moments you still have left, and to live each day like it could be the last. You know firsthand that it very well could be. Although, nothing is permanent, and “this too shall pass.”
Kathy Glow is a Mamaloder who blogs about losing one of her sons to cancer, as well as raising her four wild boys. Visit her blog, Kissing the Frog, or here is a list of some of her stories on Mamalode:
- An Extreme Kind of Mom Guilt
- He’s Always in Our Hearts
- It’s Okay to Cry
- Mommy’s Little Healer
- I Spy a Family
Team Mamalode has done reviews on a few books about coping with the loss of a child. The reviews on Anna Whiston-Donaldson’s book, Rare Bird, Chanel Brenner’s memoir Vanilla Milk, and Sukey Forbes’ The Angel in My Pocket are some favorites. Time Runs Out and The Dirt on the Grave are two amazing poems for grieving parents, also from Mamalode.
The Compassionate Friends and The Cope Foundation are both national nonprofits that offer support for parents who are grieving over the loss of a child. Healing Hearts and Cancer.net are two other support centers for parents. Lastly, here is an absolutely heartbreaking, yet surprisingly uplifting, recording on the site Call Me Ishmael. It’s about a woman who loses her premature baby at a young age, but she is able to read him “The Little Prince” before he dies. All this is a testament, that while dealing with the grief of losing a child – you are not alone.