Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

When they are gay,
the waves echo their gaiety;
but when they are sad,
then every breaker, as it rolls,
seems to bring additional sadness,
and to speak to us of hopelessness
and of the pettiness of all our joys.
-Baroness Orczy

I sat in the sand at the edge of the shore, looked out at the vast Atlantic Ocean, and watched the waves change the landscape with each crash. I absentmindedly dug a hole in the sand next to me, but then a wave came. The hole filled first with water. Then, wet sand caved in. The surface of the sand was flat once again, erasing any evidence that a hole was in the earth just seconds earlier.

I have heard the analogy that grief comes in waves.

But as I sat in the wet sand five months after my infant son’s death, I found grief more comparable to my futile attempt to dig a hole at the ocean’s edge. I was working so hard to be present, to find joy, to move forward without moving on, but grief didn’t care about my effort. No matter how furiously I dug, no matter how sore my fingertips were from scraping the grainy sand, the powerful force of the tide consumed the hole in an instant.

RELATED: 317 Days of Love

There were brief moments during our family trip to Myrtle Beach when I felt happiness: standing in the shallow ocean water with Luke’s wet little hand in mine, seeing the pure joy on his face as he wiped his mouth and said, “Salty, Mommy. The ocean so salty;” introducing Zack to the world of Harry Potter while snuggling with him in bed at night; seeing Jake confidently take off his puddle-jumper, cannonball into the deep end of the pool, and swim to the steps without any help, his smirky-smile revealing how proud he was of himself; sharing looks with my husband Jeremy when the kids said or did something funny, or infuriating, or heartwarmingly sweet.

The problem was that those moments were only moments.

The joy I felt lasted only an instant–lasted only as long as a hole dug in the sand at the shore’s edge. The rest of the time, underlying sadness permeated my being. As much as I love the beach, I would have rather been at home with my sweet Reed. There was no getting around that fact.

During the years I had struggled with infertility, I felt sadness and longing when I saw bellies rounded with life or mothers carrying their wiggly babies. After I had Zack, those feelings dissolved completely. I had reached the other side of that envy, or so I thought. After losing Reed, those feelings came back even stronger. There was the woman presumably on her babymoon, who looked at least eight months pregnant. There was the mom breastfeeding her newborn on the beach, his red crooked foot sticking out from beneath her nursing cover. There was the family of six walking on the sand just steps ahead of us during our evening stroll to look for shark teeth. Everywhere I looked, there were physical representations of what I had missed out on, what I was currently missing, and what would never be. 

If I stop to think, I know that none of those women’s lives are perfect. I also know it does no good to compare my life to the fantasy lives I have created and attributed to the people on the beach.

I’m sure the sight of my family has caused these same feelings to stir in other people.

A stranger would never guess I struggled with infertility or suffered two miscarriages. A stranger would never guess a fourth little boy is missing. To an outsider, we look complete as a family of five.

Regularly, people at church, in restaurants, and at the park, say to me, “You have a beautiful family.” And they’re right. I do have a beautiful family. They just can’t see all of it. And that hurts.

They say, “Three boys! You sure have your hands full, don’t you?” And they’re right. My hands are full. But they should be fuller. And that hurts.

They say, “It goes so fast. Enjoy every minute.” And they’re right. It does go fast. But I can’t enjoy every minute. And that hurts.

RELATED: She Was Never Mine

But maybe, just maybe, the next time I visit the beach, I won’t try to dig a hole in the ocean-saturated sand. Maybe I will appreciate the ebb and flow of the sea instead. Maybe there will be more moments of joy than of sadness. Maybe I will be able to focus more on what I have than what I have lost. And maybe my love for Reed and my memories of my time with him will make me smile more often than they make me cry. Maybe, just maybe. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Diana Robinson

I am a labor and employment attorney in Toledo, Ohio. I am happily married and the mother to four boys: three on Earth and one in Heaven. I am currently working on a memoir.

To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone

In: Child Loss, Grief, Infertility, Motherhood
To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone www.herviewfromhome.com

You are walking the hardest path anyone will ever walk—living this life without your children. Your losses have come in many shapes and sizes. You’ve lost tiny heartbeats early in the womb. You’ve screamed and sobbed through labor to deliver a silent but perfect little bundle. You’ve held a fragile infant for hours, days, weeks, or months, only to give him back to Heaven. You’ve watched your little one grow into a curious toddler and then held her a final time as disease or an accident took her away. You’ve lived a full childhood with your baby and even watched...

Keep Reading

Check In With Your Bereaved Mom Friends, Their Hearts Are Still Hurting

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman walking in sunset

No mother should ever have to bury her child. But it happens all the time. And this week it was a family we know, making my heart heavier and taking me back just a bit to the familiar feelings of four years ago. I’ve been there. We lost my 3-year-old son in 2016. Disbelief was my first and lasting emotion. Sadness had not yet set in because I didn’t understand how it could actually happen. Disbelief. I mean, really. Seven days prior, we were at home taking pictures because it was a dress-up day at school. Then just one short...

Keep Reading

Grief is a Constant Companion for the Mother Who’s Lost a Child

In: Grief, Loss
grieving mother www.herviewfromhome.com

I’m sorry for your loss. Loss is something that is never easy, but especially excruciating when it was the life you created, carried, birthed, and held. It is so important to remember your child, but also important to remember you. Grief is one of the most uncomfortable topics in the world. When you grieve, you often struggle to capture the wide range of emotions felt day-to-day, or you struggle to grasp what kind of support you need when asked. But for others watching you grieve, it’s awkward and sometimes silent. People say the words “take as long as you need” and...

Keep Reading