You have heard the phrase, “I feel like I have aged overnight.” Well, that is what the loss of a child will do. I lost my son, Tyler, on August 23, 2013 to a car accident one mile from my house. I really do feel like I have aged overnight. I have lost weight, I have more grey hair, I feel like the bags under my eyes are darker and stay longer. I can tell when I look in the mirror the sparkle has left my face, especially my eyes. You know that little twinkle that pops when you smile–it’s gone.

I don’t mind the weight loss, the grey hair I can color, even the bags under my eyes I can add makeup. I just hate looking at the lifeless face in the mirror, trying to figure out how to deal with the emotional changes and feeling the pain deep in my soul.

Some days I have this shortness with people, including my close family. There are other days I have a fog where I just don’t feel any emotions and it’s hard to focus. But then there are times I have deep down anger, like I want to yell at the top of my lungs, “I hate everything, everyone and I just want this dream to be over. I WANT TYLER BACK!”

I have yet to feel anger, which is a part of grieving. I know grief has no schedule. In my case, I had it together for so long that maybe now, four plus years later, it is my time. I do not know. Grief does not come with a manual. I just know I hate this feeling. Plus it is not like me to be this way.

Not only have I changed physically since I lost my son, I have changed from my old self. I changed the night I got the call from my husband after he went looking for Tyler. He told me Tyler was not good and I could feel the fear in his voice coming through the phone. I can remember calmly telling him I had to go to call 911 and then hanging up. At that moment, I dropped to my knees in utter weakness and despair. It was only for a brief moment because I knew I had a job to do. I had to call for an ambulance for whoever may need it at the accident. That was the moment I changed.

I used to love life. I used to think I had a pretty darn great life. It was to the point I was on top of the world. I had a great business, looked for the good in everything, was positive, laughed lots and enjoyed life. Now, I get through life, I exist, I look at things differently, I laugh, but sometimes it’s hard. It’s hard to go on the same way I did before I lost Tyler because I don’t feel the same. I have reevaluated my life and made more time for what is important to me. I still look for the good and I try to be positive but I don’t have that inner joy for life. I have even gotten to the point where I wondered if there is something wrong with me?

The further I continue on my journey of child loss I’m learning a lot about me. I am learning the quiet moments are when I miss Tyler the most, it’s when the tears come silently down my face and it’s when I feel the closest to God. I believe you cannot fix a broken heart from losing a child, but with time and trusting God I will grow into a new me. I will be different than I was before because child loss changes you physically, mentally, and spiritually.

However, the scripture Isaiah 41:10 comes to mind: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” So today, I will follow God’s lead. I will not fear what lies ahead of me after losing Tyler. I will trust that He will make me stronger, that He will pick me up when I fall down and that He will walk with me the whole way, until I find the new me.

Missy Hillmer

Missy Hillmer is a writer, photographer, wife, mother, creative lady whose mind is constantly on the go. She loves coffee, dark chocolate especially with nuts, music soothes her soul and being outside in the sun recharges her body. She has an angel in Heaven. Her faith is what gets her through each day. Since her son Tyler’s accident she is passionate about telling her story with the hope that it will help or inspire at least one person who has lost a child.