My name is Sarah, and I am Koa’s mamaa title I feel privileged to hold. 

My precious Koa was a bright light in the world, and he was a force, truly. He was wild and independent and adventurous and joyful and totally confident in himself. I never once worried about his future because he was such a capable and self-sufficient little guy. Even at the age of two, he embodied the meaning of his name: warrior. He had the biggest personality and he made friends wherever we went, he was so extroverted and friendly. I was always in awe of him, and I could see how special he made people feel. He made ME feel special to be his mom.

Koa died 10 months ago on February 10, 2019 when he fell through the ice at our lake. He was nine days shy of two-and-a-half years old.

He spoke into the deepest part of my being twice that day. The first time was when I knew something was wrong and he was not OK, and the second time was during the hours of CPR they performed on him at the hospital. He said so clearly into my soul, “It’s OK, Mama, I will visit you,” and a wave of warm peace washed over me. That’s when I knew he was gone. 

The experience of losing my precious child has been more horrible and excruciating than I could have ever imagined, but it has also been more beautiful than I would have ever expected.

The hours my husband and I spent with him in the ER while we waited for the coroner were the most sacred and beautiful hours of my life. Koa was never more exquisitely beautiful to me than he was as he lay in front of me, dead on a hospital bed. It doesn’t make any sense.

And it doesn’t make sense that on the day my heart shattered into dust it also grew. Exponential amounts of love burst from my broken heart in that room, like a million doves suddenly released from a cage, something else that doesn’t make any sense. But that is something I’m finding about death: in so many ways its power is inexplicable . . . and in some ways, it’s very beautiful. It doesn’t make any sense.

I learned the secret to life the day we lost our Koa, and that secret is simply love.

I love more deeply because of this little life we created, and I love more fully because of this little life we lost. Nothing else matters. Literally nothing else. 

I am not the same me I was 10 months ago. Ten months ago, I was reborn. My life continues to be excruciating, unbearable, and painful, but it’s also beautiful and sacred in that inexplicable way. I see the world entirely differently now from how I did before. I hardly know who I am now or how to manage my grief, but I’m being gentle with myself.

I’m an infant; I’m only 10 months old.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Sarah Elle Norman

Sarah Elle Norman holds many titles in life, but her favorite is that of mom. When she conceived her first son, Koa, naturally, he was a true miracle after 3 years of fertility treatments. Her second miracle, Ash, came into the world 17 months after his brother, and Sarah had everything she ever wanted in the world. That world shattered when Koa died tragically and unexpectedly at the age of 2.5. Sarah is piecing it back together by sharing her experiences of grief and by gifting other bereaved families with memorial casts of their child's hand through the non-profit foundation she's starting called, "Koa's Hands."