Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

You consider yourself a strong person. You’re over a decade into this parenting gig, and you feel relatively qualified to handle obstacles. You have honed your skills over the years, learned from your mistakes and feel relatively capable (most days). And then you get that call, from (insert your husband/wife/teacher/coach/friend/partner…and they call, in that creepy-calm ‘I have terrible news’ voice) and tell you to “Come to _____, there’s been an accident, an ambulance is on its way.”

That call is every person’s worst nightmare. The circumstances may change to fit your situation, but your feeling will be the same; panic, fear, dread…in no particular order. In that moment, with that call, your life was just altered. You will not be the same after that call. The person who called you with the news, with their creepy-calm voice has delivered information that will change how you view incoming calls, especially if you are a parent, and your children are not with you. Because going forward, you know when your phone rings, it could be ‘that call.’  You know that you are no longer protected from ‘that call’… you never were. And you now know that life can sucker punch you when you least expect it. 

This wasn’t my first sucker punch. It won’t be my last. 

For me, this particular sucker punch was a broken arm at a soccer practice for my 8-year old girl. In the scheme of things, that call could have been worse. That fact has run thru my mind no less than 800 thousand times. I told myself this over and over as I drove to the emergency room.

And then in the emergency room, you see her face, you see the pain in her eyes, you see her deformed arm and the badly broken bones, and your heart shatters into a million little pieces. It’s now not just a broken arm. It’s her broken arm, and she is your baby girl. Seeing her face crinkle up with pain will make you weak. And when you are standing outside the X-ray room and you hear her cry out in such agony, your legs will buckle, and your insides will lurch. You catch yourself because your son is standing next to you, with tears running down his face, because he too is scared for his little sister. So your husband grabs your hand and makes you look at him, so that you know that the room is not in fact spinning, and in his eyes is the gentle reminder that you need to keep yourself together. You need to be strong, because your son is scared – he saw the accident happen, he saw his little sister’s arm, broken and hanging, and he’s looking to you for assurance that she is going to be okay. He loves her too. And you owe him calm, you own him comfort. And that is difficult because you’ve never felt as helpless, as weak, as you had in that moment.

My little girl was in pain – and I thought it might kill me.

It was then that I realized the greatest fact of my life— their pain is my greatest weakness.

Up until that call, I felt like there wasn’t much that I couldn’t handle. I’ve been through some things. I’m a fairly resilient person with an ability to remain calm in a crisis. My now known exception is when it involves one of my children suffering. Seeing one of them in this level of pain, it was traumatizing. I did not know that I could be traumatized by a broken arm, but I was. I thought I was made of way sturdier stock. But when she cried, I cried. I couldn’t bear witnessing her pain. For days after, any movement she made was excruciating. She was struggling, but also doing her best to cope. One morning she said, “Mama, can you get Daddy?”  I told her that I would help her. She said “No Mommy. Because you cry when I cry. I don’t want you to cry. But this hurts, and I’m going to cry.”

So I cried. And she cried. And my husband came into the room for the 30th time that week to find both of us crying.

And oh how I felt like I failed her. How I wished that I could have been stronger for her. How I wish she could have looked at me and gotten the strength and comfort that she needed. But instead, when she looked at me, she saw her pain mirrored in my eyes.

The weeks that followed were difficult. They involved an unexpected surgery that had complications, and then a break of her wrist on her other arm. It was unbelievable. Her suffering was great. Her resilience, strength of character and spirit were greater. She made it easy on my husband and I that way. She was truly impressive. I continue to try to take my cues from her, and marvel at her ability to make the best of her situation. She is a warrior. 

Watching her suffering has weighed heavily on all of us. It’s taken its toll. When it comes to my children, as strong as I feel as a person, as a mom, as a parent, I now know-their pain is my greatest weakness. I’m just no match for it.

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

Lori E. Angiel

Lori resides in the suburbia of Western New York with her husband, their 2 children and sweet rescue pup, George Bailey (because, it’s a wonderful life, after all). When not working, she is doing the soccer mom thing on the sidelines of a soccer field, running the local trails and streets (year round in the most obnoxious reflective gear available) with her running (a/k/a support) group while they train for what is always known as the "last race we are ever doing", or shopping at TJ Maxx or Target.  Her favorite things include her training runs, skiing with her family and yoga.  She is also very devoted to drinking wine and spending as much time as possible with her friends and family.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself, you will find her sitting on a beach (applying copious amounts of sunscreen on her kiddos)....all the while writing about the little things in life that occur to her along the way.

The Last Text I Sent Said “I Love You”

In: Friendship, Grief, Living
Soldier in dress uniform, color photo

I’ve been saying “I love you” a lot recently. Not because I have been swept off my feet. Rather, out of a deep appreciation for the people in my life. My children, their significant others, and friends near and far. I have been blessed to keep many faithful friendships, despite the transitions we all experience throughout our lives.  Those from childhood, reunited high school classmates, children of my parent’s friends (who became like family), and those I met at college, through work and shared activities. While physical distance has challenged many of these relationships, cell phones, and Facebook have made...

Keep Reading

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

I Loved You to the End

In: Grief, Living
Dog on outdoor chair, color photo

As your time on this earth came close to the end, I pondered if I had given you the best life. I pondered if more treatment would be beneficial or harmful. I pondered if you knew how much you were loved and cherished As the day to say goodbye grew closer, I thought about all the good times we had. I remembered how much you loved to travel. I remembered how many times you were there for me in my times of darkness. You would just lay right next to me on the days I could not get out of...

Keep Reading

I Hate What the Drugs Have Done but I Love You

In: Grief, Living
Black and white image of woman sitting on floor looking away with arms covering her face

Sister, we haven’t talked in a while. We both know the reason why. Yet again, you had a choice between your family and drugs, and you chose the latter. I want you to know I still don’t hate you. What I do hate is the drugs you always seem to go back to once things get too hard for you. RELATED: Love the Addict So Hard it Hurts Speaking of hard, I won’t sugarcoat the fact that being around you when you’re actively using is so hard. Your anger, your manipulation, and your deceit are too much for me (or anyone around you) 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