So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I‘ve had my life planned out since I was a teenager. My dreams were to be a teacher, wife, and mom in that order. I would teach elementary school and have the cutest classroom with the greatest lessons, and I’d teach until I was old and retired. The man of my dreams would sweep me off my feet in college, and we’d have a romantic wedding and start our great life together. Then, after a few years, we would have two children, a boy and a girl. We would be a blissfully boring, happy little family. 

I didn’t want extravagant trips or large houses. New cars and the best of things didn’t interest me. I dreamed of a man who loved me, a job I loved, and children to raise. 

For a while, that’s exactly what I got

I graduated college and became a third-grade teacher. My husband and I married right after college in a sweet romantic wedding and two years later welcomed a perfect baby girl. We had a simple, sweet life in a little pink house, and it wasn’t always easy, but it was what I’d always wanted. 

Then every dream I’d ever had for my life was blown up by four words: “Your child has cancer.”

My 2-year-old had Stage 4 T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, and after an 8-month battle of every complication and rare situation you could think of, she died. 

RELATED: She Was Never Mine

I quit teaching while she was sick to care for her and never went back. My marriage has been irreversibly changed by loss and trauma. Motherhood seemed over and broken. No longer a teacher. A changed and broken wife. Mother to a child no longer here to care for.

My dreams lay shattered in the dust. 

In the months and years since my daughter’s death, there have been many nights when I think How is this my life? Why didn’t I get the picture-perfect dream I wanted? How do I continue on with this life I‘ve been given?

It’s taken time and therapy, but I have come to accept that I don’t have that life I wanted. I’ve mourned the life I had and the one I dreamed of that will never be. 

Grieving a child isn’t just about missing the one who’s gone.

It’s all of the things that the loss affects . . . in other words, every aspect of your whole life. It’s an all-encompassing, suffocating, life-altering grenade that drops into your life and obliterates it and you. Every relationship changes. You feel crazy most of the time as you cycle through the stages of grief over and over on a never-ending loop. 

My husband and I are lucky85 percent of marriages that suffer the loss of a child do not make it. We have been able to grow closer in our grief instead of farther apart, and for that I am thankful. It’s been really hard and a lot of days find one or both of us in tears or staring blankly into the depression of her loss.

For the most part, our days are back to “normal.” Work is different for meI am not teaching, but I am OK with that. I have two part-time jobs I love and both allow me the flexibility I need for myself and my family. We added a rainbow baby brother to the mix a year and a half after her death and that has been its own kind of grief rollercoaster.

Joy at his life and sadness at the absence of hers are in a constant battle in my head.

Celebrating his milestones while mourning the ones she’ll never have. PTSD and trauma from her illness and death play a big role in parenting him even though I wish they wouldn’t, and I often fear he will grow up feeling like he got less of a life because his parents are broken by his sister’s loss. I also fear her being forgotten and him not knowing who she is. 

RELATED: Grief is Like Crocs

Mainly though, we live each day as it comes. Our priorities have been changed forever, and the small stuff no longer seems that big. We put the important things first and truly know how short this life is. 

While I would give anything to have her and my old life back, I’m thankful for the lessons she taught me and how her loss has shown me so much. This life is broken but also fulfilling. It doesn’t look like I dreamed but, even in the pain and the hard, I have the man who loves me. I have jobs I love, and I have two children who have made me who I am. 

I’m a mom, stronger than her dreams ever could’ve imagined.

Shelby Skiles

Shelby Skiles is a wife, teacher, and mom to her two-year-old angel, Sophie. Sophie passed away in January 2018 from Lymphoma. Shelby chronicled Sophie’s entire battle through her blog Sophie The Brave and hopes that transparently sharing her journey through, motherhood, cancer, and now grief will inspire others to look passed their circumstances and see that God is bigger than all of it. She’s deeply committed to honoring Sophie’s memory by sharing her story and I spring others to ‘Do More’ and make a difference. 

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

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

God’s Grace Carried Me Through the Loss of My Son

In: Faith, Grief, Motherhood
Teen boy walking

When I brought my firstborn home from the hospital, I taped a poster next to the changing table that had visual instructions of how to change a diaper, how to give a bath, how to take care of the umbilical cord. For the next few weeks, every single time I had to do one of those things I would study that poster as if it held the secrets of the universe. When my firstborn was a few months old, he stubbed his toe, jumping in a jumping chair. I bawled my eyes out. I was devastated by his little injury....

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime