Saturday, July 31, 2010

The overwhelming pain of losing an infant

~~ Cherie Houston

Today I remember my beautiful daughter Robin Marie whose stay was so very brief - only 7 months -Robin was born December 29th, 1971 and we lost her to S.I.D.S. on July 31st, 1972.  As I reflect I can't help but think of all of all the moms who share this special ache - Lisa, Jessica, Kristin, Nikki and countless others - you know who you are - the pain is always there, just below the surface - remember that special little someone who is misssing...

The ache of a young mom is different - I know because I've lost a newborn, and then a 7 month old and last fall a 36 year old and they are all very different.  The ache for a newborn and infant - that  is an ache that resonates throughout our bodies, not only in our hearts but deep within our wombs.  There are times, when we actually think we can feel that faint flutter, you remember - the one that reminds us of that very first sensation - that caused such overwhelming excitement - you wanted to scream to the world "I'm gong to be a mom".  And when we lose a child - of any age - we lose a future - dreams - hopes and endless possibilities that will never be and the loss of memories that will never occur... BUT....

There's no doubt, that once we conceive that precisous child - we are moms and will forever be moms - no matter how young or old - no matter how long we are allowed to enjoy them here on earth - we, from the moment of conception, are moms...  I'm not sure who sent me this poem or when I received it, but it is in with those special memories I had tucked away with her sister Randee Marie's (Randee had died the previous March '71) and Robin's things and I wanted to share it with those other "new moms" who are feeling that ache...

Tiny Footprints on a Mother's Heart

When a baby arrives,
be it for a moment, day, month, year or more,
or perhaps only a sweet flickering moment-
the fragile spark of a tender soul
the secret swell of a new pregnancy
the goldfish flutter known to only you-
you are unmistakeningly changed...
the tiny footprints left behind on your heart
bespeak your name as Mother.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grief is a Unique Journey for Each of Us

Each person travels on his or her own unique journey in experiencing loss. Each person's experience of loss will have subtle nuances that will make it unlike any other loss, but the commonality--the grief response--with the intense feelings of loss, anger, depression, loneliness, fear, frustration, desperation, these are emotions that others will have also felt, endured and survived. What we have in common is that the grief response is felt most intensely by the heart.
 There is a common "language" those who have experienced grief speak, one that can often be understood without words. Many times all that is required to let someone know you have been there, that you understand their grief is just a understanding look, a gentle touch on the arm, a reassuring hug or a heart-felt note.

It is in the sharing of the losses of many hearts that our own heart begins to heal. This site is here to remind visitors that we are not alone in our losses or our feelings of grief, that someone else will have experienced similar losses (or worse) and survived. As the grieving person recognizes that others have lived through loss and survived he or she will begin to realize that he/she can survive their own loss.

Sharing the losses, telling the grief story or expressing the feeling in writing or other creative endeavors, no matter how painful, is important in the healing process. Healing will be recognized when the grieving person is at a point of being able to share with those earlier in the process. With this knowledge the heart grows stronger, more sensitive and more understanding of the suffering of others. The quotation by Dr. Robert Schuller sums this up:

Our grief always brings a gift. It's the gift of greater sensitivity and compassion for others. We learn to rise above our own grief by reaching out and lessening the grief of others.

From the “Journey of Hearts” website - Dyer, KA. Thompson CD. Journey of Hearts: From Idea to Reality A Website for Web-education on Grief and Loss.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Moving on after losing a child

~ By Cathy Babao Guballa - October 29th, 2000 Issue © 2000 Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOSING a child has been described as the worst kind of loss anyone could possibly go through, a searing and unspeakable pain. The emotions that accompany a loss of this magnitude is much like plumbing the depths of an abyss, not knowing if one will ever be able to climb out of it one day, unscathed and whole.

When a child dies, a part of the self is cut off and many bereaved parents like to use the metaphor of an amputated limb.

I once read an account of a father who had lost his only son and his words were poignant. "For the amputee, the raw bleeding stump heals and the physical pain does not go away. But he lives with the pain in his heart knowing his limb will not grow back. He has to learn to live without it. He rebuilds his life around his loss. We bereaved parents must do the same."

From her website:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Simple Prayer

~ ~ By Norman Macleod

"We picture death as coming to destroy; let us rather picture Christ as coming to save. We think of death as an ending; let us rather think of life as a beginning, and that more abundantly. We think of losing; let us think of gaining. We think of parting; let us think of meeting. We think of going away; let us think of arriving. And as the voice of death whispers, 'You must go from earth,' let us hear the voice of Christ saying, 'You are but coming to me.'"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



Our Father Knows What's Best For Us,
So Why Should We Complain?
We Always Want The Sunshine,
But He Knows There Must Be Rain.

We Love The Sound Of Laughter
And The Merriment Of Cheer,
But Our Hearts Would Lose Their Tenderness
If We Never Shed A Tear.

Our Father Tests Us Often
With Suffering And With Sorrow.
He Tests Us Not To Punish Us
But To Help Us With Tomorrow.

For Growing Trees Are Strengthened
When They Withstand The Storm,
And The Sharp Cut Of A Chisel
Gives The Marble Grace And Form.

God Never Hurts Us Needlessly,
And He Never Wastes Our Pain,
For Every Loss He Sends To Us
Is Followed By Rich Gain.

And When We Count The Blessings
That God Has So Freely Sent,
We Will Find No Cause For Murmuring
And No Time To Lament,

For Our Father Loves His Children,
And To Him All Things Are Plain,
So He Never Sends Us Pleasure
When The Soul's Deep Need Is Pain.

So Whenever We Are Troubled
And When Everything Goes Wrong,
It Is Just God Working In Us
To Make Our Spirits Strong.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies – Part 6 of 6

~~Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt

Move Toward Your Grief and Heal - To restore your capacity to love you must grieve when your child dies. You can't heal unless you openly express your grief. Denying your grief will only make it become more confusing and overwhelming. Embrace your grief and heal.

Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember, grief is a process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself. Never forget that the death of child changes your life forever.

"The experience of grief is powerful. So, too is your ability to help yourself heal. In doing the work of grieving, you are moving toward a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life".

Note: Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator and practicing clinical thanatologist. He serves as a Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School in the Department of Family Medicine. – From the website:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies – Part 5 of 6

~~ Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt

Embrace Your Treasure of Memories - Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of your child. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring these memories, share them with your family and friends. Keep in mind that memories can be tinged with both happiness and sadness. If your memories bring laughter, smile. If your memories bring sadness, then it's all right to cry. Memories that were made in love – no one can take them away from you.

Gather Important Keepsakes - You may want to collect some important keepsakes that help you treasure your memories. You may want to create a memory book, which is a collection of photos that represent your child's life. Some people create memory boxes to keep special memories. Then, whenever you want, you can open up your memory box and embrace these special memories. The reality that your child has died does not diminish your need to have these objects. They are a tangible, lasting part of the special relationship you had with your child.

Embrace Your Spirituality - If faith is part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you are angry at God because of the death of your child, realize this feeling as a normal part of your grief work. Find someone to talk with who won't be critical of whatever thought and feelings you need to explore.

You may hear someone say, "With faith, you don't need to grieve". Don't believe it. Having your personal faith does not insulate you from needing to talk out and explore your thoughts and feelings. To deny your grief is to invite problems that build up inside you. Express your faith, but express your grief as well.

Note: Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator and practicing clinical thanatologist. He serves as a Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School in the Department of Family Medicine. – From the website:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies – Part 4 of 6

~~ Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt

Talk About Your Grief - Express your grief openly. When you share your grief outside yourself, healing occurs. Ignoring your grief won't make it go away; talking about it often makes you feel better. Allow yourself to speak from your heart, not just your head. Doing so doesn't mean you are losing control or going "crazy". It is a normal part of your grief journey.

Watch Out for Cliches - Cliches - trite comments some people make in attempts to diminish your loss - can be extremely painful for you to hear. Comments like, "You are holding up so well", "Time heals all wounds", "Think of what you have to be thankful for" or "You have to be strong for others" are not constructive. While these comments may be well-intended, you do not have to accept them. You have every right to express your grief. No one has the right to take it away.

Develop a Support System - Reaching out to others and accepting support is often difficult, particularly when you hurt so much. But the most compassionate self-action you can do at this difficult time is to find a support system of caring friends and relatives who will provide the understanding you need. Seek out those people who encourage you to be yourself and acknowledge your feelings – both happy and sad.

A support group may be one of the best ways to help yourself. In a group, you can connect with other parents who have experienced the death of a child. You will be allowed and gently encouraged to talk about your child as much, and as often, as you like.

Sharing the pain won't make it disappear, but it can ease any thoughts that what you are experiencing is crazy, or somehow bad. Support comes in different forms for different people – find out what combinations work best for you and try to make use of them.

Note: Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator and practicing clinical thanatologist. He serves as a Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School in the Department of Family Medicine. – From the website:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies – Part 3 of 6

~~ Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt

Expect to Feel a Multitude of Emotions - The death of your child can result in a variety of emotions. Confusion, disorganisation, fear, guilt, anger and relief are just a few of the emotions you may feel. Sometimes these emotions will follow each other within a short period of time. Or they may occur simultaneously.

As strange as some of these emotions may seem, they are normal and healthy. Allow yourself to learn from these feelings. And don't be surprised if out of nowhere you suddenly experience surges of grief, even at the most unexpected times. These grief attacks can be frightening and leave you feeling overwhelmed. They are, however, a natural response to the death of your child. Find someone who understands your feelings and will allow you to talk about them.

Be Tolerant of Your Physical and Emotional Limits - Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you fatigued. Your ability to think clearly and make decisions may be impaired. And your low energy level may naturally slow you down. Don't expect yourself to be as available to your spouse, surviving children, and friends as you might otherwise be.

Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Nurture yourself. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. Lighten your schedule as much as possible. Caring for yourself doesn't mean feeling sorry for yourself, it means you are using survival skills.

Note: Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator and practicing clinical thanatologist. He serves as a Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School in the Department of Family Medicine. – From the website:

Sunday, July 4, 2010


As we celebrate this wonderful 4th of July holdiay and remember holidays past with our own beloved children, remember for a moment, those moms whose children have given their lives for the freedoms we celebrate today..  They deserve our heartfelt thanks and gratitude ..

I received this from a mom I do not know who sent a thank you note for the blog - someone had sent it to her and she wanted to share it.  I an thankful that what Joyce began is touching so many - but thought how appropriate for today... on behalf of all those moms whose children have gone before us, we want to wish you and yours a happy, healthy and peace filled 4ht of July Holdiay...

~ ~Author/Written By: Marilyn Ferguson

We gather ‘round to celebrate
On Independence Day
Pay homage to our country
As the children run and play.

With barbecues and picnics
And fireworks in the air
The flag we own is proudly flown
To show how much we care.

The stars and stripes spell freedom
She waves upon the breeze
While bursts of colors can be seen
Above the towering trees.

This is all quite wonderful
We revel in delight
But God above in divine love
Has brought this day to light.

With just a stroke of liberty
A touch of His great hand
He gave democracy to us
And helped this country stand.

The stripes upon our stately flag
Were touched by His sweet grace
Each star of white that shines so bright
Reflects His loving face.

So as you turn to face the flag
For battles that were fought
Be filled with pride for those who died
And freedoms that were bought.

But don’t forget to thank the One
Who gives the bright display
The reason why we paint the sky
On Independence Day

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies – Part 2 of 5

~~Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt

Allow Yourself to Feel Numb - Feeling dazed or numb when your child dies may well be a part of your early grief experience. You may feel as if the world has suddenly come to a halt. This numbness serves a valuable purpose: it gives your emotions time to catch up with what your mind has told you.

You may feel you are in a dream-like state and that you will wake up and none of this will be true. These feelings of numbness and disbelief help insulate you from the reality of the death until you are more able to tolerate what you don't want to believe

This Death is Out of Order - Because the more natural order is for parents to precede their children in death, you must readapt to a new and seemingly illogical reality. This shocking reality says that even though you are older and have been the protector and provider, you have survived while your child has not. This can be so difficult to comprehend.

Not only has the death of your child violated nature's way, where the young grow up and replace the old, but your personal identity was tied to your child. You may feel impotent and wonder why you couldn't have protected your child from death.

Note: Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator and practicing clinical thanatologist. He serves as a Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School in the Department of Family Medicine. – From the website: