A note on how to this piece came to be
After women join my email list, I often send a simple email welcoming them to our community and inviting them to share with me anything they’re struggling with. As soon as I began reading Treva’s reply, I knew more people needed to hear her message, so I immediately asked her if she’d let me share it here, and she agreed.
Thank you, Treva, for your courage. I am heartbroken for your loss, but I’m grateful for this window into your world…
From Treva B., wife and mother living in Nashville, Tennessee
I’m struggling with the death of my daughter.
I’m struggling with her not being here and part of our lives. I’m struggling watching my oldest son grieve her and not being able to take away the pain.
I’m struggling with my own heartbreak as a mother… I will never hold her, brush her hair, buy her ribbons and bows or beautiful gowns. I’ll never play with her or dress up in costume. I will never hear her voice or see her do a school play. I will never see her lose teeth, get hair cuts, bake and decorate cookies, play a sport, dance, run, play, graduate, marry or become a mother.
I will never see her… breathe again.
Living without one of your children… is a messy and heartbreaking part of motherhood that very few understand. You never get over it, you never heal, you just learn to carry the burden along with you daily while trying to “live” life, even though you are stuck at a particular moment in time.
You pray for courage, strength and the wisdom to keep moving forward with God’s plan for your life, but you don’t understand the journey.
You try to share your heartache, and sometimes others put a deadline on your grief and make ugly statements about how you should be “over it” now that a certain amount of time has passed or now that you have another child.
How can you help?
You can pray for us, shoulder the burden of loss in motherhood. You can be an advocate for our hearts on days when we don’t have the courage to face the world. You can remember that though our child is in the arms of Jesus, we are still mothers and they are in our hearts and minds daily as we share our life with others.
Please don’t be afraid to speak about our lost children to us as we mothers long to hear our child’s name—to know that we aren’t the only one who remembers them and to know they impacted this world, even if their time on earth was short.
You can listen without trying to give an answer or find a cure. In the loss of a child, there are no silver linings nor are there any words that will make it all better or take away our pain. Forget the statements that begin with “At least…”, because while it may sound good to you, nothing good comes after a statement beginning with “at least.”
Do not try to label our grief or put a time and date stamp on it. We may learn to live life again without our child, maybe even smile again, but by no means are we over it or do we move on from it. We all grieve at our own pace. There doesn’t have to be an end, because there never really is an end to grief.
As we raise our other children, there are milestones, achievements, and precious moments—moments that warm our hearts to the core but also break our hearts because it is something we will never share with our child in heaven.
Most of all, be a friend. Don’t allow our loss to make you so uncomfortable that you run from us like we are bad luck or have the plague. It is our life and child and we will want to talk about it, share it with others, because unlike the rest of the world who attended a memorial or funeral service and moved on, we cannot move on like our child and their life never happened. We still love them, yearn for time with them. Time to touch their faces, hear their voices, and say their name. We want to remember them, and we want you to remember them too.
So you asked what can you do to help. Please pray for and remember us.
Beautiful photos courtesy of Utah-based MarLyn Hill Photo.