Our Biggest Sale of the Year Ends Today!🎄 ➔

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

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

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

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."

Dear Loss Mom, Grieve Your Baby In Heaven Without Guilt

In: Baby, Grief, Loss

My third baby was due on October 19, 2019. Instead, she was born into heaven on March 24, 2019. Not only do I grieve her more in October than in other months because of her due date, but I also grieve for so many other parents who have also lost their children.  RELATED: A Letter To My Mama From Your Baby In Heaven Pregnancy loss is such a strange journey to walk through. I’m years into it, and there are still days when the grief hits and the tears come and I can’t breathe. On other days, I am so...

Keep Reading

My Sister and I Return To Childhood To Grieve Our Mother

In: Grief
Two women, sitting on swings, color photo

“Grief is itself a medicine,” William Cowper. Everyone processes grief differently. The day after our mother’s death, my sister and I began our grief journey and took up swinging. Not that kind of swinging, Heaven forbid! No. What we chose instead was the weightless, transformational lightness of being that only a tried and true piece of playground equipment can supply.  That morning my sister and I waited rather anxiously for hospice (blessed hospice!) to pick up that wretched hospital bed. We wanted it gone, banished from our sight forever. When the truck carrying the bed and other supplies disappeared down...

Keep Reading

She Was Just a Dog…and So Much More

In: Grief, Living
Young woman in car with dog, same woman years later with dog, color photo

She was just a dog. One of my least favorite sayings is “it’s just a dog” when people comment on how much we love our pets—be it a dog, cat, lizard, chicken, hamster, etc. They’re not wrong . . . Harley was “just” a dog. One random spring morning I asked my mom if I could get a dog of my own. She was working and sick of the phone calls. She said I just had to ask dad. Well, we already had two dogs, so I didn’t have high hopes. Cue dad. He was just about to lie down to take...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Had the Chance to Be Friends with My Mom

In: Grief, Motherhood
Portrait shot of woman, color photo

Dear Mom, I never got the chance to appreciate you as a mother. There was so much life still to do. And not just the big milestones. I’m talking about the parts when daughters grow into mothers themselves and have the chance to appreciate their moms for everything they did for them. The chance to get to know their own mother as a person instead of just a parent. You left this earth soon after I became I mother myself. And now I sit here and think back on memories of you from when I was growing up. And, oh,...

Keep Reading

The Faith and Fear of Trying for a Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Pregnant woman sitting on living room floor

When we decided to start a family we dove in head first. After having been together for five years and married for a year, we were ready. It was September when we decided to give it a go. By mid-December, I took a test. My first positive pregnancy test. I had a life growing inside me! I’ll never forget my husband’s smile when I told him. We embraced and cried together. We couldn’t believe it could be this easy. The next few weeks consisted of a wave of pregnancy symptoms and before I knew it, we were going to the...

Keep Reading

I Should Be Picking You up from School Today

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman sad with eyes closed

I would have cried.  I see the line of cars in the school pick-up line, and my heart is hit with grief, love, and wistfulness all at the same time.  You, sweet boy, should be there, waiting for me to pick you up.   I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone over it in my mind. Your first day of preschool. I’ve thought about your outfit—little jeans and a hoodie with a ball cap. Would you be into superheroes? What backpack would you want? I would’ve taken you school shopping, picking out all the supplies you’d need. And...

Keep Reading

Angel Babies are Heaven’s Gatekeepers

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Mother and baby silhouette

I never seemed to have the right words. I didn’t have the right words at four years old when my parents lost my 11-month-old brother, and I never seemed to have the right words as I watched family members and close friends lose both the new life growing within their wombs and the beautiful, precious life resting in their weary arms. So, I did what I thought would offer the most comfort. I simply tried to show up and be there the best I could. I shopped for their favorite treats. I dropped meals off on front porches and toys...

Keep Reading

Secondary Infertility Took Me By Surprise

In: Baby, Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler by open door

Selfish. Unfair. Guilt stricken. Shameful. Those were just a few of the words that regularly stabbed my lamenting heart as I longed for a second child. Yes, I was grateful for my healthy, beautiful boy who made my dream of motherhood come true, but why did I not feel complete—was he not enough? Was I doing this motherhood thing all wrong and didn’t deserve a second child? Why did I long to give him a sibling so badly knowing millions were aching for their first—how could I be so insensitive? So many questions, so many buts and so many whys....

Keep Reading

Grieving the Baby You Never Got To Know Doesn’t Make You Weak

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Man and woman embrace outside

It seems like almost a lifetime ago that I looked down at my first positive pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe that it happened so fast. My husband and I had just passed one month of marriage, and there we were expecting a baby. I remember how elated we both were and full of gratefulness.  After we told a small group of close friends and family, the bleeding started. “No . . . this can’t be,” I thought. Not our baby. Not me. I Googled so many things and found reassurance in the fact that some women bleed through their pregnancies....

Keep Reading

Finding God in the Before and After

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman standing by ocean at sunrise

Everybody loves a good before and after. Two little photos, placed side by side, are evidence of a transformation. A significant weight loss. A sassy new hairdo. A piece of furniture resurrected from a garbage heap.  A before and after is proof that things can be changed. Anything can be brought back from a place of ruin or neglect. With a can-do attitude and a little elbow grease, your face, your home, your backside—anything, really—can be made shiny, new, and desirable. The trip from before to after is usually a long one. It might only take seconds for us to...

Keep Reading