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Lessons in Grief & Child Loss: If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

One day I was asked what I would tell my newly bereaved self. Looking back, I wish I could take that broken mother and fold her in my arms, take her pain away if only for a moment, and tell her you will survive. There is so much I'd want to say...

Dear Me,

There are no words. At 17, Katie had life all figured out. She studied hard, had a scholarship to go to nursing school, a wonderful boyfriend, and a healthy lifestyle. Now she’s gone. She left home and never returned. A freak car accident claimed her life and turned your life completely upside down. It tore your heart out and made you question whether life was worth living without her.

You know there is nothing that can change this awful situation. You are also smart enough to know that the only choice you have now is deciding how you are going to move forward; how you are going to live, and how you are going to make peace with this.

No matter where your head goes on some days, you need to remember something – you are stronger than you ever thought possible. You will survive with love in your heart in a way that honours Katie. She is so proud of all that you will do in the coming years and she is with you, guiding you along. Open your heart and mind and you will see her, feel her, and hear her.

While everyone will deal with child loss differently, you will discover that your healing is largely determined by you and that you are the only thing standing in your way.

Fear, anger, bitterness, jealousy, and sadness prevent you from seeing the beauty and meaning in Katie’s life. When you open your heart and mind to love, you will begin to heal.

Choose to love.

Choose to heal.

Choose to live for your son, who still needs his mom.

Choose to hold your little family together, even though it feels like it’s falling apart.

Choose to live a life that would make Katie proud.

Choose to take care of your body, mind, and spirit.

Choose to reach out to other angel moms.

Choose to live a life of kindness and generosity.

Choose to nurture your soul by embracing your spiritual connection to the universe.

Choose gratitude. See the beauty in everything.

Choose to honour Katie, every chance you get.

Choose to believe you will survive, because I know you will.

Katie’s 17 1/2 years were a gift. Those memories will always be with you. Her legacy will live on in all that you do including the Katie Boehm Memorial Scholarship, the memory garden at Campbell Collegiate and the beautiful tree you will plant there, the grad gown drive, the changes that you will fight for regarding road safety, and the book that you will write will speak to many mother who need support on this lonely journey.

All of these things will help take you from the darkness to the light and a life filled with meaning. Let Katie’s spirit guide you.

This will be the most difficult journey you will face but know you can do this.

After more than four and a half years, I can promise you that even though it seems impossible now, you will find joy again. You may feel confused when it happens but you will smile again. You will always miss Katie with every ounce of your being. However, the choice to heal and help others will bring purpose and meaning to your life.

Regardless of what other people think or believe know that Katie is with you. Each feather that you find is from your girl. When you smell her perfume - that is Katie. Be open and find the comfort.

As your heart begins to heal, you will focus on Katie’s life, not her death and that will help you focus on all the good that she brought to your life.

Remember that although you miss her dearly, she was a blessing from the moment she was conceived. Your pregnancy still makes you smile and always will. She was a gift to carry, to hold and to love.

You will always be her mom.

One day at a time.

Breathe and allow yourself grace.

Baby steps or big runs - you’ve got this.

Each day that passes isn’t just a day without your beautiful girl, it’s also a day closer to seeing and holding her again.

Sending you love, compassion and understanding,

~From your future self

Written by author, certified grief educator, grief program facilitator, and Angel Mom Lisa K. Boehm (you can find all her blogs HERE )

If you are an angel mom, you might be interested in this free 5-part video series that helps grieving moms navigate the pain of child loss. You can read more about it and request it HERE.

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