Monday, November 14, 2011

To those fresh in grief.

I feel like there has been so.much.loss lately.
It is almost too much to bear.

You hear stories about soldiers in war who have seen so many terrible things that they almost grow numb to the horrors they bear witness to.

That doesn't happen here.
In this corner of the loss world.
You never, ever grow numb.

When you come across the story of a little one who has died, when you see the pictures of their parents holding them and saying goodbye, or read (and can relate to) a final post from a mother who realizes that the battle has been lost.

There is no growing numb to that.

It is both a gift and a burden.

I cry for children I have never met.
For loved little lives unlived.
For the pain that their parents now face, and the tough journey that I know firsthand is ahead of them.

There are days when you almost have to step away because there is SO MUCH SADNESS AND GRIEF that you forget the other side, the happy, blessed, sun-shining side of the world even exists.

You forget that most children are born healthy.
That they get to live full lives.
Because it seems the deck is so stacked against them.

You have to make a conscious effort to remember to celebrate.
To remind yourself about the beauty.
And the good.
Because the dark cloud of grief and loss is so vast that it can weigh you down.

Why are so many children born destined to die?
Why are so many loved children lost?
Why are so many loving parents forced to walk the road of grief?

Why? Why? Why?

The injustice is overwhelming.

I was trying to think of the right things to say to a friend whose baby just died, and went back to an email that I had sent to my cousin when her daughter, Faith, died late last year.

I decided that I would share it with this friend. But also that I would share it here.
For what it's worth.

This is my advice to those fresh in grief.
Some of this may be familiar to those of you who have read here for a while.

All I can tell you are the few truths that I have learned on this journey. You will survive this. It may feel impossible in the coming days and weeks but I promise you, you will.

When you don't know what else to do - just keep breathing. Things don't return to the way they were, but you will find joy again with time.

Also know that you and your husband will in all likelihood grieve differently. That is okay. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, just hold onto the love you have for one another, the love that created the amazing life that was your child, and you will come out the other side of this stronger than you can imagine.
Laughter is not a betrayal to the child you lost, and tears are not a betrayal to those loved ones you still have with you. Like the bible says “A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.” It feels impossible but I promise you, you will dance again. And laugh.  

It took me 8 months to even want to go on living.  Two years until I smiled on a regular basis. That was my timetable. Do what feels best for you.

Even having walked this road, I find myself at a loss tonight. All I can do is tell you guys how loved you are, and direct as many prayers as I can from those I know in your direction.

My thoughts are with all those on this road.
Those who will start on this journey tomorrow. 
And those who have come to a place where they can look back on the children they have lost with love, while embracing the possibility of the joys yet to come.

As a way to honor her third birthday, I have entered the Reader's Digest "Your Life" Contest with an entry about my experience mothering Peyton. The voting is open until November 15th, and you can vote once a day. It would mean a great deal to me to get Peyton's story in Reader's Digest. Can you please help me out by visiting this link and casting your vote for my entry.Thank you so much! I would really love to honor Peyton this way, as well as to raise awareness about infant loss, infertility, and the reality of Peyton's cancer.

Peyton's story is a rare one, but it still deserves to be told. xoxo


  1. I have found that the longer I blog the deeper I grieve. I often have to step away. Not just with BLM but also just blogging friends who lose a loved one. I went over and voted!

  2. Those are amazing and wise words. I would have loved someone to tell me those things three years ago.

  3. Very wise words from a very wise lady.

  4. You wrote a wonderful and true letter. My heart breaks for every new baby I hear of who has passed away and for another set of parents on this road.

  5. Such a beautiful letter full of truth and wisdom from a heart that has "lived it". It is overwhelming and heart breaking sometimes the amount of loss and grief.

  6. Thank you for this, I have needed lately, even 2 and half years in, I am struggling. Thank you.

  7. I visit your blog often, it's a place where I can find comfort. Peyton is a beautiful angel, and you are so blessed to be her mother. The twins are amazing, and I'm so glad that they're here. I thank you for sharing your experience and your words. I wish things didn't have to be this way.

  8. I just found your blog this week...the day you wrote this post, I found out our son had died and delivered him just before midnight. We struggled with infertility and conceived twins through IVF. We lost the one baby very early and then found out our other baby had a fatal diagnosis at 15 weeks pregnant. I carried him for 12 weeks before he went to Heaven. More of our story can be found on my blog...

    Thank you for writing this post on a day that is so meaningful to me. I am fresh in my grief and hurting badly. It's encouraging to hear that the sun will shine again...