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A 'New Reality': Life after the Loss of a Child

Updated: Jan 15

grieving mom and teddy bear on the sidewalk
Everything changes after a child dies

There is no doubt about it, a bereaved parent is forever changed after the loss of a child. In fact, you probably think of your life as having two distinct time periods: before and after your child died. It's impossible to be the same no matter how much time has gone by.

Before my daughter's car accident I was a content wife, mom, and health care professional. As a family we had our squabbles of course, but we had everything going for us. We had two healthy teenagers with very bright futures. They both participated in extra-curricular activities and excelled at school. My husband and I had secure jobs and we were living comfortably in a great neighbourhood. The biggest concern in our lives was where to go on vacation and how we would work all of our busy schedules around it.

My, how things change.

After my daughter Katie died, my memory was terrible and I'm not sure it ever came back fully. I used to be a master multitasker; balancing my hospital job, side-hustle, and my family's busy schedule. As a grieving mother, I could hardly make a meal that had more than two ingredients, I couldn't remember things like names or appointments, and I needed a serious refresher when I returned to my job at the hospital ten months later.

Navigating all the changes that come after the loss of a child is not easy. There are no stages of grief, but rather a deep, dark hole that is called your new reality.

Physically, I was and still am exhausted. Sleep has become an impossible endeavour and I have more headaches than I ever did before. I seemed to age about 14 years in just a matter of months.

Emotionally, my anger was out-of-control some days then I'd find myself eerily calm the next day. I'd go from yelling at my teenaged son to laughing hysterically at something dumb. I actually scared myself sometimes, until another grieving mother told me was experiencing the same thing.

I changed spiritually, too. My pain made me turn inward and helped me grow in many ways. . You can read about my first spiritual encounter with Katie here: