The depths of despair, loss, and heartache that come with losing a child are hard to explain in words. It’s like a part of your body and soul is missing and can never be replaced. Your heart, so full of love for this child, has a hole the size and shape of your child that will never be filled by another. It leaves you feeling incomplete and longing for a day when you have your baby in your life.
As a mother carrying a child in her womb, you intimately know that child long before he ever arrives in this world. Mother’s have the benefit of a 10-month preview of who your child might be. Every kick and squirm he makes has a purpose and meaning, so much so that you know the moment something is wrong. And when that sweet child decides to make his grand entrance, all you desire as a mother is to hold him close and take care of him for all of his life.
When a child is delivered as a preemie, he is quickly whisked away to be cared for as you lay on a table in a room that you only want to experience as you watch Grey’s Anatomy. Reality sets in when you finally get to see your baby and he is hooked to more tubes and lines than the number of fingers on his tiny hands. The nervous look on the doctors’ faces and the less than optimistic conversations with the specialists lead to prayers of desperation to the God you know is the only one who can heal your child.
As you watch your child fight for his life, you want nothing more than to take his place and remove all the sickness from his little body. Each day that passes is devastating as his health deteriorates. And then experiencing your child take his last breath and join his Heavenly Father for all of eternity is selfishly heartbreaking.
Every dream and hope for your child and family has been shattered into pieces. It’s impossible to imagine that you can let go of those hopes and create new ones knowing your child will never be a part of them.
Every milestone experienced in your other children’s lives provokes the thought “I wonder what my baby would be doing if he were here.” Questions flood your mind while tears fill your eyes:
- What would he have looked like?
- How close would he have been to his brother and sisters?
- What kind of things would he have liked?
- And, how much would he have loved his mommy?
The grief is so thick you feel the fog will never lift and life will cease to go on. Grief takes on different forms from week to week. It comes and goes in unexpected waves. You are told that, with time, coping with this loss gets easier. But for the moment, tears and wailing and mourning are all that are present.
Tragedy, through loss, has a way of bringing people together in a way nothing else does. Everyone wants to support you however they can. As an “angel mom,” it’s hard to know exactly what you need in the way of support. There is nothing anyone on this earth can give you to make things completely better… and that’s really all you want… for things to be different than they are. To go back and change the outcome. However, in the midst of your grief, blessings and thankfulness come in the form of friends and family who allow you to just be sad when you need to be, who don’t make you change out of your pajamas, who pray fervently with you and for you through the pain you are experiencing, who send words of encouragement in the moments when you think everyone has forgotten, and who send hot meals and donations to both ease your mind and provide for your family.
“Everything” will never be ok. But, in time, you will learn to continue living, to be thankful for the children you have, to love your family with all of your heart and give them everything they need from you as a mother; to be the loving wife God intended you to be; to be a supportive daughter, sister and friend to others … You will get back to being all of those things. It won’t be easy. And you will never be the same person you were before. But, hopefully, through your impossibly painful experience, you will become a better version of the woman you were before … A woman who is able to show empathy for others who have experienced loss. A woman able to lift other women up in their times of greatest despair. A woman who shows God’s love in the midst of pain and suffering. And, a woman who shows the hope that God offers us as a result of his amazing grace and mercy. The hope of an eternity where God will wipe every tear from our eyes… Where there will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). The strength and hope that can only come from the Lord is ultimately what will get you through the grief experienced from the loss of your precious child. And one day, you will be with your child once more in a place far better than anything we could imagine.