What Mother's Day Is Like for a Mother Who Has Lost a Child

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As I sit home on this dreary evening, I am overwhelmed with a sadness that you know only too well. I have an ache in my heart that never seems to fade. You, too, understand the pain that lingers. To others, we appear fine. We fake smiles. We hide tears. We remain numb. However, we will never be the same since that day: the day our child died.

I would be lying if I said I am glad that we met. If we hadn’t, it would mean our children would still be here with us. We wouldn’t have known any better. We would have been completely oblivious to this living nightmare. Yes, the unimaginable is what brought us together.

Now that we do know each other, I wouldn’t trade our friendship for the world. You have cried with me. You have listened to me. You never judged. Most of all, you were always there for me.

The pain of losing a child is the worst of any kind. Even still, you gave me hope. You were happy for me when I told you that I was expecting another baby, while also comprehending the bitter sweetness of it all.

From you, I have learned grace. I have learned compassion. I have somehow found an inner strength that I never knew existed. You helped me find it. In many ways, you gave me your own.

Certain days are hard. Very hard. With each birthday that passes, we are reminded of another year without our child. We think a lot on those days. We wonder about all of the “what ifs.” It is just not fair.

Our child should be growing up. He should be going to school, making friends and enjoying all that life has to offer. We have missed all the milestones. We never had the chance to make beautiful memories. Our own family and friends try to be understanding, but they couldn’t possibly fathom the pain. Very often, we are told that we need to “move on” and that “our child would want us to be happy.” We have learned not to expect much from certain people in our lives. However, our one request continues to be very simple: We just want our child to be remembered. You, my dear friend, have always made sure to honor that wish.

Mother’s Day is tough. I vividly remember my first one. Liam had been gone for eight months. I was fortunate enough to be expecting another child, a healthy baby girl. Even so, the devastation lingered. You were the only one that reached out to me that day. We cried and cursed the unfairness of it all. We got through it together. Somehow.

I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I have had some tremendous role models growing up, including my own mother. For many years, I took notice of those who seemed to have it all. I admired those who could do it all. I envied those who made it look easy. Even as a child, I realized that motherhood was no simple task.

Today, I still have my role models, but none are greater than my fellow bereaved moms. Every one of them has shown me a perseverance that I have never seen. It is truly unbelievable. You are all my heroes.

With Mother’s Day approaching, it is hard for me to even find the right words. Some of us have had early losses. Some will be experiencing this day for the very first time. Some have gone on to have other children. As for myself, I have been a grieving parent for almost seven years now. The pain is still raw.

In some ways, it just doesn’t seem right to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. After all, you may not be happy at all. And I understand. I can’t take away the pain; nobody can. So all I can offer is hugs. I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you, and how grateful I am that you are in my life. I also want you to know that I will always remember your child, not just today, but every day. I will continue to be by your side whenever you need me. And, for this, you have my promise.

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