Like When…

Like When...random thoughts only a bereaved parent would understand

They are gone, yet we see them everywhere.

They don’t stand before us, but they consume our thoughts and dreams.

We cannot touch or smell them but we imagine every circumstance with them in it.

Excruciatingly absent.




…random moments only parents of loss would know.

Like when you are on the treadmill at the gym and 2 young boys, exactly your sons should-be-age get on the treadmill in front of you. They are the same build as your son, they are wearing the EXACT clothes your son wore and one of them even resembles your son. The sick feeling gurgles up in your chest, your legs begin to tremble and you know you have to go. So you jump off panting and sweaty, get the hell out of the gym and shout out in the privacy of your car, “This NEVER, EVER ____ ends!”    Because it doesn’t.

…you’re in the grocery store and a young child says “Hey Mom!” You quickly turn in the direction of the voice. You lose your breath and your heart skips a beat because your body still reacts to those words…

…a young family comes and sits right by you at a restaurant. The young mother resembled your daughter SO much! We will never know if she would have had a family, and what those grand-babies would have looked like.
The beautiful Mom is the spitting image of my girl- tall, athletic looking and the same curly dark hair. I watched that family with the little dark- haired babies the entire time that I ate. A constant reminder of what she (and we) will never have. My heart broke in a new way that day.

…the self deprecating thoughts won’t stop…Im worthless as a Mom. I did this, I could’ve stopped this, I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve, what kind of mother loses a child?? Then your daughter at college texts you THAT day just to tell you that you are the best Mom in the world and they never ever doubted your love. “Don’t ever forget that Mom, you are the best Mom ever!” Somehow coming from her you can start to believe it a little.

…a facebook friend posts: “My boy is off to spend time with his buddy for 3 days! I always feels so lost and lonely when he’s gone!”  These are the types of posts that send me over the edge. Seriously? You have no *@%*! idea. YOUR kid is alive and hanging out with his friends, doing what children are SUPPOSED to do!! Lost and lonely.. just be thankful you have no idea what that actually means.

…the ambulance closest to your house flies by with lights and sirens blaring and your heart stops and you literally have to pull over from the sickness in your stomach because you know the person driving that ambulance may have been the one that burst into your home and tried to save your child. And you are ashamed because they were there when your son died and you weren’t and they know things you don’t ever want to.

…a song from his favorite singer comes on the radio while you’re driving and all you can think about is that last time you were both listening to that song together. You look over to the empty passenger seat and then the tears come, again. The sound of that voice, that music that used to make you bop in your seat and sing out loud- it’s intolerable now.

…I was at the hospital visiting with a friend when the Chaplain walked by and saw me. The same Chaplain who was driving that night.  The one who pulled over to the side of the road to try and help my daughter the night she was killed. He saw my daughter being forced off the road to her death. He tried to revive her, and there he was standing in front of me-the last person to see my daughter alive. I never had the chance to thank him. We hugged then and I thanked him for trying to save my baby girl. I was so grateful for that moment, the connection with that person who held her last.

…it’s mid fall and the Christmas cactus should not have been blooming, but it’s almost your sons first birthday in heaven and it’s covered in blooms. Seeing those flowers was the only thing that made you smile that day because you think maybe, just maybe God was trying to tell you He’s there and he’s OK.

Like when I’m wishing I could have some kind of reassurance that my daughter is in heaven, that she is somehow OK.  Mostly, I just wish I could feel her near me. I wish she could know that everything I do is for her. I ache so badly for her every single moment.  Today I was sitting in a boring meeting (inside!), I noticed a feather float down and land on my desk. I don’t know where it could have come from. I just know it was her letting me know she is near me.

…you’re wandering the house on yet another sleepless night and you glance down the hall and see your child’s bedroom door. It’s open, the bed is empty and made, the room is the same as it has been since the day he died, clearly uninhabited. The hollowness of that empty bedroom feels like a demon, haunting you with his absence. 2.5  years and sometimes it still doesn’t feel real- the sight of that room still takes my breath away.

Like when you think you are the only one in the world thinking about your child and this merciless pain. It’s one of those days with just you and your thoughts and you’re so lonely when a text comes through from the mother of one of his classmates…”I’ve left a little something on your porch”.  So you go out and there sits the sweetest mason jar full of home-picked flowers and a little devotional book. It’s the most cheerful looking sight and you smile.

Your day is saved because he’s not forgotten and neither are you.

like when, random moments of grieving mothers


If you know someone who has lost a child, chances are they are looking for anyone who is feeling the way they are and whose life is full of the experiences described here.  Please share so they know they are not alone. Please share for the someone you don’t even know about who is suffering the most horrendous tragedy a parent can face.

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About Jennifer

I am a mother first and foremost. I am also a mother who lost a child, suddenly and tragically. Like other bereaved Mothers, I am trying to find my way back, and writing and creativity is a huge part of that. I hope by documenting my climb out of this, that my walk, my struggles, my failings, my faith, my honesty, and my choice to live-in every sense of the word, will help someone else do the same.

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