Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I snuggle into the perfect spot on my sofa so I can see the beautiful view of the rolling hills, with brown, rust and tan grasses blowing in the wind and trees of all colors out my front windows. My vanilla-hazelnut coffee warms my hands and gives my inner being comfort and peace. I think about how long it’s been since I have really enjoyed this time of the year. You see, my favorite time of the year starts in fall when all the leaves and grasses are changing colors. As I am sitting on my sofa, I am reminded how beautiful the colors are, how peaceful it is and how amazing our God is to provide it for us. It makes me sad that I have lost the childlike excitement for the fall I once had. It doesn’t stop there because right after fall it leads into my next favorite time of year: Christmas. I love the giving spirit, the laughter, the family time and the faith filled holiday.

I think it’s been ten years or so since I really have enjoyed those two holidays. I would always bake and give goodies to friends. I used to decorate and hang lights all over and then sit in the living room only with the Christmas lights on and enjoy. I think some of the change has to do with our society making us want more, hurry through the fall and many times I feel like we skip Thanksgiving altogether. Then, when we get to December people are in such a rush to find the perfect gifts that we go in debt overbuying and forget what Christmas is about.

Unfortunately, for me right now I can tell you I have lost the love for my favorite times of year because we are missing a piece to our family puzzle. It’s our son Tyler. He lost his life in a car accident on August 23, 2013.

He was just going to be gone 30 minutes to hang out with friends, but he never made it home. This will mark the fifth Thanksgiving and Christmas we have had without him. It is very different without Tyler, but we have made a promise to not stop talking about him. I know some people feel awkward when we bring him up or we remind them of what he did or would say. But for us, he was a part of our family for 15 years. He is still a part of our family, just in a different way. He is now tucked away in our memories and hearts forever. I have made a point of always finding something special that reminds me of Tyler to stuff in our stockings. It’s like our little angel is leaving us a gift.

What I miss the most is the laugher, the smiles, all of us being together talking and having fun. Don’t get me wrong, we are still together as a family, but it feels different. The kinds of different only a person who has lost a child can know. However, I have found that laughter is “good medicine” for grief (Proverbs 17:22). I know some people may not feel that they can be happy and laugh after a loss. I am learning after four plus years that laughter sooths the soul, it gives us peace and it also makes a sad time more manageable. I have found that my body feels so much better after I have had a good laugh. The kind that makes ever part of your body jiggle, snort uncontrollably and smile so big that your mouth hurts. I have been told our body releases feel-good chemicals when we laugh. God has designed us to laugh, cry, be happy, sad and benefit from all of it.

So this year I will embrace and savor the changing of seasons, I will sit and soak up the goodness God created. I will slow down to enjoy what I think is important to my family and not follow the crowd. I will laugh, cry and remember­­ Tyler. Knowing that he is always smiling down from Heaven and laughing with us no matter what. “There is a time for everything . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh.” (Eccl.3:1-4). I pray God fills your heart with hope, joy and laughter this holiday season.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

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.

My Baby Was Stillborn, But Still Born

In: Child Loss, Grief
My Baby Was Stillborn, But Still Born www.herviewfromhome.com

My baby was stillborn, but still born. In a cool white hospital room where so many had been born before. My body trembled and shook as his body worked its way out of my womb and into the hands of a doctor. He was void of breath, of sound, of movement, but he was still born. My baby was stillborn, but still lived. In the darkness of my womb. The outline of his body was visible against the darkness of the screen, his presence undeniable. The sound of his heartbeat drowned out the sound of mine as I watched his...

Keep Reading

I Am Not My Child’s Death

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Faith, Grief
I Am Not My Child's Death www.herviewfromhome.com

We are NOT what has happened to us or what this world says we are. That is not what defines us. While we are grieving parents, that is not what our whole story has to be about. Although, at times, we feel that our story is over. We ask, how do we go on and live full lives without our sweet Sophie with us? I’m still not 100 percent sure I know the answer to that. BUT the Lord says I am beloved. I am redeemed and accepted. I am holy and chosen. I am righteous and complete. I am...

Keep Reading

The Hardest Moments After Losing a Child

In: Child Loss, Grief, Motherhood
The Hardest Moments After Losing a Child www.herviewfromhome.com

Within the first three months following the death of my newborn daughter, I participated in one baby shower, attended two first birthday parties, had multiple infants in and around my home, and watched not one, not two, but five of my closest friends take happy, healthy babies home from the hospital. And in the midst of my own life-altering experience, I purchased, wrapped, and mailed a gift to every one of those new babies, because they deserved one. In the days and months after my daughter died, I didn’t run away or hide from babies at all. And this seemed...

Keep Reading

6 Commitments I Made to Myself After Child Loss

In: Child Loss, Grief, Kids, Motherhood
6 Commitments I Made to Myself After Child Loss www.herviewfromhome.com

Following the death of our infant daughter, I found myself facing an opportunity to activate the immense power of personal choice. Time and time again. Hour after hour, day after day. It felt as if every moment that passed provided me with a choice: to let the grief consume me, or not. In the midst of the most emotionally complex experience of my life, my ability to survive felt as simple as that. Will grief consume me, or not? Once I began believing that Olivia had lived out her life’s plan completely—that she had come, she had loved, she had...

Keep Reading

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

In: Child Loss, Grief, Infertility, Motherhood
To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone www.herviewfromhome.com

You are walking the hardest path anyone will ever walk—living this life without your children. Your losses have come in many shapes and sizes. You’ve lost tiny heartbeats early in the womb. You’ve screamed and sobbed through labor to deliver a silent but perfect little bundle. You’ve held a fragile infant for hours, days, weeks, or months, only to give him back to Heaven. You’ve watched your little one grow into a curious toddler and then held her a final time as disease or an accident took her away. You’ve lived a full childhood with your baby and even watched...

Keep Reading

A Letter to My Mama, From Your Baby in Heaven

In: Child Loss, Faith, Grief, Miscarriage
A Letter to My Mama, From Your Baby in Heaven www.herviewfromhome.com

Dear Mama, I know you miss me and wish you could watch me grow up. But instead, you sit in that rocking chair, tears streaming down your face, arms wrapped around the blanket that was supposed to be mine. I see you crying, Mama, wishing you could hold me. Wishing you could look into my eyes. Wishing you could hear me cry or call you “Mama”. I want you to know Jesus rocks me to sleep every night and while He does it, He tells me all about you. I know tulips are your favorite flower and that every spring...

Keep Reading

God Actually Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

In: Child Loss, Faith, Grief
God Actually Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle www.herviewfromhome.com

I used to be someone who said, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” That was before I had faced any hardships in my life. I didn’t know who God truly is. When people are going through something hard and decide to share it, it makes people uncomfortable. It’s hard to watch others who are hurting, and it’s hard not knowing how to help when it’s someone you love. “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” is a very well-meaning encouragement that I know is meant in love. I’ve said it before! But it’s not really...

Keep Reading

Why I Got a Tattoo With My Teenage Daughters

In: Child Loss, Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Why I Got a Tattoo With My Teenage Daughters www.herviewfromhome.com

“We should get a tattoo, Mom.” I laughed. I knew it was just my younger daughter, Sarah’s way of getting herself a tattoo—to go along with her nose ring, and six ear piercings. She didn’t really want me to get one. Did she? “Truth!” My oldest, more conservative daughter, Elle, chimed in. “We should all go.” What? Home from college just five minutes, maybe she was bored. I heard tattoos really hurt and she hates pain, like I do. I glared at my two daughters, now 17 and 19. They can read my mind. I knew it! There was something...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Sure How Long I’ll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal…and That’s OK

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief, Mental Health
I'm Not Sure How Long I'll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal...and That's OK www.herviewfromhome.com

I tried to wean off of Zoloft and couldn’t. And that’s OK. I had never really been aware of the world of antidepressants. My life has been relatively uneventful—with the normal ups and downs that most of us go through. I knew people on medication for depression but never understood. How can you be THAT sad that you can’t just be positive and make the best of your circumstances? How can someone be THAT unhappy ALL the time to need medication? I didn’t get it. I felt bad for people going through it. Then my 2-year-old was diagnosed with Stage...

Keep Reading

To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes

In: Cancer, Child, Child Loss, Health
To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes www.herviewfromhome.com

Most people never get to meet their heroes. I have, in fact—I have met many heroes. These heroes didn’t set out for greatness; they fell victim to a terrible disease and faced it with courage, might and bravery like I have never seen before. And when we talk about this type of battle, there is no such thing as losing. whether the battle ended in death, life, or debility, each of these heroes defeated. My heroes are the innocent children who battle cancer. I high-fived, hugged, wept over, laughed and played with my heroes for 10 years as a nurse. And you better believe I...

Keep Reading