The road through grief and child loss is one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I would sell my soul to the devil himself to have Katie back. Yet, as a grieving mother, I feel like I have learned so much. I named my book Journey to HEALING because it is a road; an uphill hellish road and harder than any of us could imagine.
I struggle to say that there is good in Katie’s death or any child’s death, but I will say that I have experienced so much transformation and learning which has affected all areas of my life.
Katie will forever be woven into the fabric of my life and she will continue to guide me from beyond. While not a day goes by without some pain and sadness, wishing she were here with me, Katie’s death has taught me more than I ever thought possible.
Here is what I have learned:
Life is short. It is a gift not to be wasted. The days will pass no matter what. We can pass the days in pain or in peace.
It’s okay to cry. This is our way to release the pain.
We don’t always have to be strong. Own your feelings; lean into them. Stay there as long as you need, but don’t stay there forever.
Crying is a human reaction and it’s healthy. We must grieve in order to move forward.
It’s alright to lean on others. We need each other. We can’t travel this path alone.People want to help. Help them help you by saying yes. Try to be patient when they stumble on clichés and don’t know what to say. Everything comes with good intentions even if the execution seems hurtful.
It’s okay to laugh on this journey. Katie had the most infectious laugh and laughed loud and strong. Laugh with warm memories and love in your heart.
Love is the greatest gift. Love everyone and everything. Make every decision based on love and see how your life changes.
Cherish the good memories. You will carry them with you forever.
By holding onto grief, we are focusing on our child’s death. When we work on our HEALING, we are focusing on their life.
Nothing in life is permanent. Enjoy what you can when you can. It can all change in a heartbeat.
You are not to blame for your child’s death. Blame and guilt will prevent you from seeing the beauty in your child’s life.Our loved ones are just a whisper away.
Heaven is not way up in the sky, it is right beside us. Our children are with us every step of the way. Although they are no longer with us physically, they live on in our hearts, our minds, and our dreams.
Speak up for what’s important, do the right thing and offer a hand up to those who need it. HEALING can come from helping too.
Living and loving are choices and they fill our lives
with meaning and hope.
Find your tribe. Choose to be with people who lift you up, inspire you and encourage you to be okay.
Look for a supportive group of mothers that are the best fit for you and start lifting each other up.
Katie’s death gave me the opportunity to take a good look at my life. It was a wake-up call I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but it’s
also been the defining moment in my life.
I have clarity on who I want to be and whom I want to spend my time with. The petty things are just petty things now. I cherish my family and will never let them go out the door without an “I love you” or a hug.
Death is a taboo subject in our society and it’s not helpful for healing. Let’s talk about it and let’s change the way we deal with loss.
Allow yourself to find peace by acknowledging your grief. You will learn to build your life around your grief, just as you will learn to carry your suitcase of grief.
There is a life beyond your loss and, in time, it can be filled with joy and laughter, if you let it. But it’s work. Hard work. Katie’s death was a reminder to go after what really makes me happy and I am so thankful for that. I always wanted her to have an amazing life and she did for 17 1/2 years. I will make sure that I will enjoy mine as much as I can — for her.
There is hope. Every day might not be good but there is good in every day.
Love never dies. We grieve the loss of our children because we miss everything about them and mourn the loss of their future and our future with them. Grief is love.
If you can’t see the good, make the good. Start a movement, change laws, have safety lighting installed along the road, plant a tree or create a scholarship.
Grieving mothers are a force to be reckoned with. We can turn loss into legacy. The suffering and the sorrow will always be with you but it is your choice if you let it run and ruin your life.
I know deep sorrow and because of that I know joy. When you have experienced pain so horrific, you will see that the sun shines brighter on a summer day and that each day is a gift. After experiencing such devastation, we live from a deeper place. This is also how grief changes us.
I am grateful for the joy, no matter how it comes.
Be fully present in all aspects of life. Don’t spend your life with your head buried. Put down your phone. Connect with people.
Take loads of pictures and videos. Back them up. Organize them. They are more valuable than you will ever know especially when they are all that you have of the person you love. Take nothing for granted. Ever.
Take the scenic route when you can. Find the beauty and enjoy the sights and find the things that make you smile. Take your time. Only you can travel this road.
Walking beside you today and always,
If this blog resonated with you, you might also enjoy this article about child loss; 7 Confessions of a Grieving Mother.
A free resource for grieving moms:
I have created a free resource for grieving mothers who have lost a child.