Shop the fall collection ➔

We mothers will never forget those precious moments when we held our children in our arms for the very first time. We cuddled our babies, sniffing these little miracles swaddled in blankets as we stared in awe of what we have just experienced. Overflowing with unconditional love for our children, our hearts are forever changed. We would instantly sacrifice our own lives for these blessings from above. Our minds are etched with memories that eternally transform us from the inside out.

Mothers have the most difficult job on earth but the most rewarding one, too. A job we fantasized about as children ourselves, never imagining the possibility of how a little being would change our lives, never once considering life without our children as we are caught up in explicit joy when life couldn’t be more perfect. We map out all of our children’s milestones and birthdays, planning for a successful and blissful future, down to the last detail.

Then suddenly, without warning, the day comes when circumstances out of our control happen and our child’s time here is over, forcing us to say goodbye. What?

No one tells you this is even a possibility when your child is born.

Would that alter our perspective on wanting to be mothers? Would the pain be too much to bear, diverting us from embarking on such a journey? Possibly.

Yet, no matter how long our children stay with us on earth, we are mothers forever and our souls are permanently changed.

We often lose ourselves as we are submerged in deep grief. The connection with our souls and outside world is severed and we board the unpredictable emotional rollercoaster for the rest of our lives. We regulate the bundle of tears that lies just beneath the surface, waiting to flow when we are pierced with moments of sorrow.

We are unrecognizable from the mothers we used to be. We struggle to find ourselves in our new, and unfathomable journey, wondering why this had to happen to us.

Who are we? Honestly, I’m not sure. We know we are still mothers; however, we have become mothers we never wanted to be. Mothers who, if honest, would tell you the last time we cried was in the darkness of night just a few hours earlier. A mother who keeps silent the internal struggles she faces as the sun rises every day knowing her child is not in her arms.

We long to remember how it physically felt to hold our children and their unique, sweet scent we would give anything to smell again.

We retreat from the activities and events of others with children the same age, riddled with secret jealousy as we hide from the realization that our children will never get to experience such wonderful times.

Our Saturday nights turn from dinners with friends and social engagements to sitting in our pajamas wrapped in blankets on our beds frantically searching for online support, desperate to share our children and find someone who can be with us in our moment.

We madly try to erase those vivid images of our children’s last moments, those casket bearing pictures of unbelievable traumas that couldn’t possibly have been real.

We are mothers who have lost their motivation for life, who have become self-critics rehashing everything they should have done differently, obsessed in guilt. Mothers who are vulnerable and afraid of the future.

This was the mom I was in my early years of grief.

But after 10 years, she’s not afraid anymore. She has grown in ways she never believed possible, living outside her comfort zone for so long. How was it possible to live so long as a bereaved mother when we could barely breathe, believing we would never make it one day, let alone months or years?

There is no hiding our true self. We have less tolerance for the mundane and superficial things in life. We learn to be honest with ourselves opening our eyes to the beauty of being alive and the capacity to love unconditionally as we’ve known devastating loss.

We are talented and inherently blessed as we balance life in two worlds, embracing the pain of our past while carrying our children with us into this uncertain future. Bereaved mothers think of their children first thing in the morning and before their eyes close at night.

We walk blindly in faith, one day at a time, clinging to one another and the only hope we can find. We are lead on a destination of self-discovery and purpose, evaluating where we’ve been and where we are going, tossing aside our imperfections. Knowing the value of each breath, we navigate through the intricate weave of life’s delicate threads possessing heavy wisdom beyond anything imaginable. In due time, we will come to a place again of self-love and happiness.

We get it. Loss has ignited a passion for life, a place to thrive while we’re waiting for that ultimate reunion. We strive boldly to honor our loved ones while bursting with compassion and a vigorous drive to serve others.

The strength of a grieving mother is enormous.

As we unite, we create a place where life is real and pain is palpable, yet hope and faith dominate. Differences are washed away and we are transformed into superheroes without even being aware. God holds us up.

United in loss, stronger together. We can do this.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

You may also like:

This is Grief

The Loss Mom Club

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

Daphne Bach Greer

Author of Barely Breathing: Ten Secrets to Surviving Loss of Your Child, Daphne is deeply rooted in faith. She is a wife and mother of five with a daughter in heaven. She is passionate about helping others find the sweeter side of grief, while finding faith, restoring life and igniting hope within. Find her at grievinggumdrops.com.

Grief Is Persistent But God Is Faithful

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman praying by ocean

The loss of a parent doesn’t just sting, it leaves you with an irreplaceable hole in your heart. It’s been two years since my loving daddy went home to be with Jesus, and the loss I feel is still unimaginable.  I know in my heart he’s in a better place that is absent of pain and distress. However, his physical presence and wisdom are so dearly missed here on this earth.  He left behind an army of a family who adored him and looked to him for solid guidance. No matter how hard I try to look to the bright...

Keep Reading

l Will Never Stop Missing My Sister

In: Cancer, Grief, Loss
Woman in red shirt

It might be 16 years too late to properly depict the depressive senses that engulfed my whole being when I lost my only sister Aurora to colon cancer in 2006. Painful flashbacks continue to fill my everyday life at the most inopportune moments that  writing about it might somehow alleviate my grief. I remember getting that random phone call from her one sunny day in September 2006 and how guilt automatically hit me. It had been a while since I last saw her. “It’s positive,” she said. Backed with years of joking around and playing tricks on her since childhood,...

Keep Reading

My Parents Are Both Gone Now, and I’m Struggling

In: Grief
Man holding smiling infant, color photo

I lost my dad at the beginning of the summer. The last time I saw him, my daughter and I picked him up from the hospital after his bout of pneumonia. She talked to him about her last day of kindergarten and how she would now be a first-grader. He sat cupping his warm mug of coffee in his favorite chair while his favorite blanket covered his legs. He smiled and giggled about the kindergarten stories. He and my daughter share the same birthday so he always had that Pop-Pop proud look on his face toward her. He was tired...

Keep Reading

Having Cancer at 34 Taught Me How to Live

In: Cancer
Husband and wife on boat, color photo

This picture came up in my Facebook memories today. It took my breath away for a moment, just like it has for nine years now. It was the last picture taken of me before my midwife found the lump and my life changed forever.  The first time I saw that photo, I realized I didn’t know that woman anymore. She was naive. Laying there in the sun without any inkling that a cancer was growing inside her. Look at her—unafraid and without anxiety. Less than 48 hours later, she would be gone, replaced by someone who was afraid of each...

Keep Reading

My Hands Are Full, but They Should Be Fuller

In: Grief, Loss
Family walking on beach

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...

Keep Reading

To My Sons in Heaven: Your Short Lives Changed Mine Forever

In: Grief
Woman at sunse

Dear Noah, Caleb, and Micah: I can’t believe it’s been nine years since I held you in my arms. My sweet sons, losing you broke me in a way that I never thought was possible. I have loved you every second of every day since we first heard of your pending arrival. RELATED: A Letter to my Daughter in Heaven With each day that you have spent in eternity, my love for you has grown exponentially. I have a vision of the day we will hug once more. I imagine that by then, my heart will have expanded so much...

Keep Reading

What If I Could Meet My Mom Now?

In: Grief, Grown Children
Retro photo of woman in sunglasses

I attempt to swallow. My heart is in my throat. I hold back tears. The woman who stands before me is 36 and looks a lot like me, but is not me. I squeeze my arms, pinch my thigh to make sure. I don’t wake up. “Hello.” Her voice is soprano and nasally like mine. Her black, Farrah Fawcett hair frames her round face. We are the same height. We share the same eyes. The same smile. The same white teeth. The same nose. The same long legs. She wears a baggy t-shirt with white-washed jeans, the kind that are...

Keep Reading

317 Days of Love

In: Grief, Motherhood
Smiling baby girl

She couldn’t speak, yet her life spoke to so many. 317 days she was on this earth. She couldn’t speak . . . only one word she said before she passed. One precious word: “Mama.” I can still hear it clear as day. I remember the moment she was born. I looked at her daddy with tear-streaked cheeks, shaking as I heard her cry. The nurse said, “You have a baby girl!” and I was in such awe. I looked at her daddy whispering, “We have a baby girl.” I was in complete adoration. From her dainty little fingers to...

Keep Reading

The Woman He Married Is Long Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Marriage
Young couple smiling

My husband has been married to at least five different women—and they’re all versions of me. His first wife was the 21-year-old version of me, who was a fit and focused college athlete. She was a driven, perfectionist dream-chaser. She was ready to push and sacrifice to chase the dream. No challenge was too hard—but then again, the hardest thing in her life was her organic chemistry final. She had the eternal optimism that comes with naivety and innocence. She loved him with eagerness and couldn’t wait to build a life with him. He often still daydreams of this first...

Keep Reading

Not Having My Mom Here Never Stops Hurting

In: Grief
Sad woman

Each phase of life since my mom died has brought different struggles, triumphs, and varieties of emotion. I always knew that grief was lifelong and complicated, however, I definitely underestimated the ways in which it changes as time goes on. I remember the beginning years as survival mode. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through each day until that day had passed and I was on to the next one. It was figuring out who I was and what my life was going to become during this awful new normal. Some days were harder than others and...

Keep Reading