What Kind of Mother Has No Child 2017

Annah Elizabeth Child Loss, Family, Loss, Grief, and Healing 0 Comments

Dear Journeyer,

On  May 8, 2015, I wrote this letter to you. I’m re-sharing it now, with a few time-related updates, because I feel it bears repeating again and again, year after year, until it has reached every single mother who has ever experienced the physical death of a child or the death of her Motherhood dream.

Please share it with every one you know so that we can get it into the hands of every single woman (and man) who needs it. Print it out. Hand it out. Hang it in the break room at work. Share it with your church, your social groups, and the friend who confided in you about the gigantic hole that remains in her heart years, decades maybe, after her life-altering loss.

Together, Journeyer, we can heal a world of hurt.

T5F Logo Photo Stamp Black2

Mother’s Day is coming.

Radio stations are running contests while television commercials are crammed with everything from flowers to chocolate to fine jewelry.

Everyone wants us to remember our mothers, to pay tribute to women everywhere, females who know what that classroom is all about…

…from diaper changes and colic and singalongs and all things Gerber Baby…

…from the heartbreaking and the celebratory to the fond memories and the misguided

…from first steps and first smiles to graduations and grand babies…

and everything in between…

The years are changing for me, as they do for all of us; my children are, for the most part, independent and busy creating their own beautiful lives. Fave has been home for a few weeks and leaves in a few days to travel a bit before returning to Louisiana to finish his college degree. Beauty has graduated college and recently rented a house with her beau. Big Guy is completing his second year of college and plans to do some research projects with his professors this summer.

And my oldest? Gavin? He’s turning twenty-seven years old next Thursday, May 11… TWENTY-SEVEN, JOURNEYER!!

That just sounds so…well…old…when I, of course, still feel so young!

I don’t really wonder what he’ll be doing because I don’t know what the options are.

You see, for those of you who don’t know us, my Gavin will mark his quarter-century+ celebration in heaven.

What I do know is that he will be with me, if not all day, at least for a portion of it. He’ll send me a sign, a hummingbird, maybe, an unusual smell, a warm unexpected breeze or possibly a glimpse of his long-legged self.

This May 14 also marks my twenty-seventh Mother’s Day, all of which haven’t been celebrated.

Gavin was born two days before this annual commemoration.

I remember weeping as I read the two Mother’s Day cards friends had sent.

What kind of mother has no child?

There are so, so many of us who have lived this truth, this nagging question.

This is the kind of mother I was and am, that you and our other grieving mothers are:

We are the women who longed for a child since we were young ourselves…

We are the women who swore we wanted no part of parenting and somehow found ourselves with child; some of us embraced this new life while others of us lament…something…

We are the women whose bodies bulged early or late, whose breasts swelled and ached in preparation and then spilled over when there was no mouth to release the stored up nourishment…

We are the women who laughed when we saw our friend’s infant smile as he passed gas and we dreamed when we spotted a toddler taking her first steps…

Some of us plotted and planned a nursery while others plugged away, bellies bulging, in the day-to-day grind…

We are the women whose children left their physical, earthly form far earlier than we expected…

…the humans who plead with Gods to reveal the Why’s even after we realize that sometimes the only explanation is simply Because it is

…the beings who beg for forgiveness even when there is nothing to forgive…

…and the souls who love, as I used to say to my three living children: “Always, forever, and no matter what.”

We love, Journeyer; we love so fully our bodies split with pride and shame and joy and fear and hope…

Split wide open, sometimes…

Not too long ago I came across a quote that I cannot find now…I thought I’d shared it on one of my social media sites but I can’t find it…so sorry I’m not able to credit the source or able to repeat it verbatim…it went something like this: Where this is great pain there was great love.

I prefer to use the present tense for I don’t believe our love ever dies, it merely takes on different forms.

One of the cornerstones of The Five Facets of Healing is this premise: The level of our grief is not determined by what we’ve lost, but rather it is about our attachment to what has gone missing from our lives.

The more we love, the greater our loss, and in the end, when we finally reach the place where we can be okay in the face of adversity, the greater our individual growth and our healing…

Journeyer, if you are struggling with this day, please know that you are not alone, you have neighbors all over the world who are experiencing similar feelings and circumstances and you also have countless allies in healing, those who share similar pain, similar experiences, hopes, and dreams, and who believe fully in the power of the human spirit to heal…

We are here, Journeyer. Please reach out. Tell us what kind of mother you are now or the kind of mother you want to be…share your story, your need…allow us to share in your celebrations and your sorrows…

Leave a comment below or e-mail me privately. If you can’t do either, please trust that you are the kind of mother who cares, simply because you are here and you are the kind of mother who loves, simply because you hurt…

Until we meet again, yours in hope, healing, and happiness,


Also published on Medium.

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