Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I’m 28 and I tend to say that I am the only child. Not because it’s true, but because saying I lost my brother in a terrible accident when I was six is not something I want to share right away.

We were not really close, 10 years of age difference probably had something to do with it. We lived separate lives. He was at school, I was at kindergarten. Sometimes my parents would throw me at him just so I wasn’t wandering around the street alone. I’d stick to him and his friends, witness their first experience smoking, playing hide-and-seek. I could hide for a while since nobody really wanted to look for me. 

He was 16 and needed some check-ups. The hospital in our tiny little town could not do those, so my brother and parents had to go to the city. It was winter and icy roads were not safe.

My father is a good driver but sometimes even the best of us make mistakes. 

They left me with their friends, who also had a 4-year-old, so I wasn’t alone, I had fun. At around 8 p.m., we got a call. I could see the color draining from the wife’s face. She passed the phone to her husband and I heard something about the hospital.

RELATED: Learning To Live Without a Sibling Never Gets Easier

They said there was an accident and dad was coming home to get me. I was surprised. Why only dad? Where were mom and Andrew? I did not ask questions, I was quiet and just waited for my father to come and take me home. We lived in the same apartment building, and the first thing he did when we entered our apartment was to make a call. He said he needed a casket. 

My question was, why? And the answer was very simplemy brother had died.

I remember that I only shed a tear before going to bed, the realization of what exactly happened did not come to me. I was not allowed to go to the funeral. So I was back with that family again for a few days. 

When I came home, my granny was there and my mother was back from the hospital. She had a horrible scar right across her forehead. It took me some time to realize it was indeed my mom. Someone had to actually make me go and hug her. I could not grasp the idea that my mother could look like that.

I don’t think I think I was grieving. For a 6-year-old, it’s pretty difficult to understand loss. First, you don’t think it’s for real, then you’re kind of bored that everyone is still upset, and then you just move on.

Life is very fast when you’re little. 

Of course, it affected me. My parents became 10 times more strict and overprotective than before. I could no longer play till dark in the yard, have sleepovers, and later parties were forbidden. I was raging. It wasn’t completely uncalled for, but I was still so angry that I was the one to pay for what happened. Or, at least, I thought so. 

RELATED: Grief is a Constant Companion for the Mother Who’s Lost a Child

I had a baby last year. The entire pregnancy and birthing experience was great. I was fortunate to avoid morning sickness, weight gain, and even heartburn. It came almost too easily.

I enjoyed being a mom and wasn’t thinking about anything bad. Until one night.

My baby was one month old, and we put him to sleep and went to have dinner in the kitchen. We talked and laughed, and then I went back into the bedroom to check on my boy. He wasn’t breathing. 

I think I died a little bit there. I remember how at first I couldn’t even call my husband because no sound would come out of me. Then I just screamed, “He’s not breathing!” My husband ran into the room and started shaking the baby vigorously. Until he woke up. 

Little did I know, babies can sleep so deeply and breathe so lightly it almost seems like they’re not breathing at all.

I sat on the floor there and just cried.

That night I finally realized that I only had a baby for one month. He wasn’t yet talking to me, I didn’t know his personality, and didn’t share any important moments with him. Yet, when I thought something had happened to him, it almost killed me.

RELATED: Make the Last Words You Say Loving Ones—Life Can Change in a Heartbeat

So, what did my mom feel when her baby—her 16-year-old, wonderful, polite, intelligent boywas no longer with her? I don’t know how she survived that. She’s the strongest woman I know and since then, I never laugh at her being overprotective or wanting to know where I am at 9 p.m.  

It’s horrible when something happens to our kids; it simply shouldn’t happen. It’s silly to hope for nobody else to experience such devastation and pain. I’m just hoping we all do everything to make the lives of our babies better, happier, and to be happy with them. 

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

Anna Nadeina

Anna, 28. Happy wife and mother of a 2-year-old boy. Crazy about cooking and writing.

I Obsessed over Her Heartbeat Because She’s My Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and teen daughter with ice cream cones, color photo

I delivered a stillborn sleeping baby boy five years before my rainbow baby. I carried this sweet baby boy for seven whole months with no indication that he wouldn’t live. Listening to his heartbeat at each prenatal visit until one day there was no heartbeat to hear. It crushed me. ”I’m sorry but your baby is dead,” are words I’ll never be able to unhear. And because of these words, I had no words. For what felt like weeks, I spoke only in tears as they streamed down my cheeks. But I know it couldn’t have been that long. Because...

Keep Reading

We’re Walking the Road of Twin Loss Together

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and son walk along beach holding hands

He climbed into our bed last week, holding the teddy bear that came home in his twin brother’s hospital grief box almost 10 years earlier. “Mom, I really miss my brother. And do you see that picture of me over there with you, me and his picture in your belly? It makes me really, really sad when I look at it.” A week later, he was having a bad day and said, “I wish I could trade places with my brother.” No, he’s not disturbed or mentally ill. He’s a happy-go-lucky little boy who is grieving the brother who grew...

Keep Reading

Until I See You in Heaven, I’ll Cherish Precious Memories of You

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler girl with bald head, color photo

Your memory floats through my mind so often that I’m often seeing two moments at once. I see the one that happened in the past, and I see the one I now live each day. These two often compete in my mind for importance. I can see you in the play of all young children. Listening to their fun, I hear your laughter clearly though others around me do not. A smile might cross my face at the funny thing you said once upon a time that is just a memory now prompted by someone else’s young child. The world...

Keep Reading

The Day My Mother Died I Thought My Faith Did Too

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Holding older woman's hand

She left this world with an endless faith while mine became broken and shattered. She taught me to believe in God’s love and his faithfulness. But in losing her, I couldn’t feel it so I believed it to be nonexistent. I felt alone in ways like I’d never known before. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt like He had abandoned my mother and betrayed me by taking her too soon. He didn’t feel near the brokenhearted. He felt invisible and unreal. The day my mother died I felt alone and faithless while still clinging to her belief of heaven....

Keep Reading

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

To the Healthcare Workers Who Held My Broken Heart

In: Grief, Loss
Baby hat with hospital certificate announcing stillbirth, color photo

We all have hard days at work. Those days that push our physical, mental, and emotional limits out of bounds and don’t play fair. 18 years ago, I walked into an OB/GYN emergency room feeling like something was off, just weeks away from greeting our first child. As I reflect on that day, which seems like a lifetime ago and also just yesterday, I find myself holding space for the way my journey catalyzed a series of impossibly hard days at work for some of the people who have some of the most important jobs in the world. RELATED: To...

Keep Reading

Giving Voice to the Babies We Bury

In: Grief, Loss
Woman looking up to the sky, silhouette at sunset

In the 1940s, between my grandmother’s fourth child and my father, she experienced the premature birth of a baby. Family history doesn’t say how far along she was, just that my grandfather buried the baby in the basement of the house I would later grow up in. This was never something I heard my grandmother talk about, and it was a shock to most of us when we read her history. However, I think it’s indicative of what women for generations have done. We have buried our grief and not talked about the losses we have experienced in losing children through...

Keep Reading

I Asked the Questions and Mother Had the Answers. Now What?

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Older woman smiling at wedding table, black-and-white photo

No one is really ever prepared for loss. Moreover, there is no tutorial on all that comes with it. Whether you’ve lost an earring, a job, a relationship, your mind, or a relative, there is one common truth to loss. Whatever you may have lost . . . is gone. While I was pregnant with my oldest son, my mother would rub my belly with her trembling hands and answer all my questions. She had all the answers, and I listened to every single one of them. This deviated from the norm in our relationship. My mother was a stern...

Keep Reading

A Friend Gone Too Soon Leaves a Hole in Your Heart

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Two women hugging, color older photo

The last living memory I have of my best friend before she died was centered around a Scrabble board. One letter at a time, we searched for those seven letters that would bring us victory. Placing our last words to each other, tallying up points we didn’t know the meaning of at the time. Sharing laughter we didn’t know we’d never share again. Back in those days, we didn’t have Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat or whatever other things teenagers sneak onto their phones to capture the moments. So the memory is a bit hazy. Not because it was way...

Keep Reading

Grief Lingers in Hospital Walls

In: Grief, Loss
Hospital hallway

We drive by a hospital. It’s not the one my mother was in, but it still brings the same sting and reminders. It brings pain just looking in the windows, knowing what’s inside. Sickness. Death. Dying. Probably other things too, but my mind doesn’t know those. It knows the devastation of test results, and surgeries, and cancer—my mother’s cancer. It only took 10 seconds to pass that hospital as we drove on the interstate, but the feeling of that view is still sitting with me, just like grief has done since the moment my mother passed. RELATED: The Day She Dies It’s ironic...

Keep Reading