Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

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.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

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.

When Mom Died, We Had Tea

In: Grief, Grown Children, Living
Table set as a tea party with framed picture of a woman, color photo

My mom was never, ever without a cup of Lipton’s tea. Like a dear friend, it held her hand, kept her warm, provided comfort. She boiled water in her navy-speckled kettle, then poured it into a cup and, completely ignoring the recommended four-minute steep instructions, immediately lifted it to her lips. It always mystified me how her mouth didn’t suffer third-degree burns. Mom’s penchant for thriftiness compelled her to use the same tea bag multiple times; only when it disintegrated and leaf particles floated to the surface did she accept defeat and reach for a fresh yellow packet. RELATED: Moments...

Keep Reading

My Mother Raised Me To Go On Without Her

In: Grief, Grown Children
Mother and grown daughter smiling in selfie

“The kids are spending the night at Grandma’s, and I’m eyeballs deep in Fritos while catching up on all my trash TV shows.” “I had to rush my son to urgent care, but thankfully my mom was able to stay with the three other kiddos while I took care of him.”  “I feel so lost when it comes to homeschooling; thankfully, my mom did it too, so she’s been an amazing guide to have.” To most people, these sentences might seem like wonderful, blessed bits of praise from a daughter about her mother, but to me, they’re like daggers straight...

Keep Reading

Dear Loss Mom, Grieve Your Baby In Heaven Without Guilt

In: Baby, Grief, Loss

My third baby was due on October 19, 2019. Instead, she was born into heaven on March 24, 2019. Not only do I grieve her more in October than in other months because of her due date, but I also grieve for so many other parents who have also lost their children.  RELATED: A Letter To My Mama From Your Baby In Heaven Pregnancy loss is such a strange journey to walk through. I’m years into it, and there are still days when the grief hits and the tears come and I can’t breathe. On other days, I am so...

Keep Reading

My Sister and I Return To Childhood To Grieve Our Mother

In: Grief
Two women, sitting on swings, color photo

“Grief is itself a medicine,” William Cowper. Everyone processes grief differently. The day after our mother’s death, my sister and I began our grief journey and took up swinging. Not that kind of swinging, Heaven forbid! No. What we chose instead was the weightless, transformational lightness of being that only a tried and true piece of playground equipment can supply.  That morning my sister and I waited rather anxiously for hospice (blessed hospice!) to pick up that wretched hospital bed. We wanted it gone, banished from our sight forever. When the truck carrying the bed and other supplies disappeared down...

Keep Reading

She Was Just a Dog…and So Much More

In: Grief, Living
Young woman in car with dog, same woman years later with dog, color photo

She was just a dog. One of my least favorite sayings is “it’s just a dog” when people comment on how much we love our pets—be it a dog, cat, lizard, chicken, hamster, etc. They’re not wrong . . . Harley was “just” a dog. One random spring morning I asked my mom if I could get a dog of my own. She was working and sick of the phone calls. She said I just had to ask dad. Well, we already had two dogs, so I didn’t have high hopes. Cue dad. He was just about to lie down to take...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Had the Chance to Be Friends with My Mom

In: Grief, Motherhood
Portrait shot of woman, color photo

Dear Mom, I never got the chance to appreciate you as a mother. There was so much life still to do. And not just the big milestones. I’m talking about the parts when daughters grow into mothers themselves and have the chance to appreciate their moms for everything they did for them. The chance to get to know their own mother as a person instead of just a parent. You left this earth soon after I became I mother myself. And now I sit here and think back on memories of you from when I was growing up. And, oh,...

Keep Reading

The Faith and Fear of Trying for a Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Pregnant woman sitting on living room floor

When we decided to start a family we dove in head first. After having been together for five years and married for a year, we were ready. It was September when we decided to give it a go. By mid-December, I took a test. My first positive pregnancy test. I had a life growing inside me! I’ll never forget my husband’s smile when I told him. We embraced and cried together. We couldn’t believe it could be this easy. The next few weeks consisted of a wave of pregnancy symptoms and before I knew it, we were going to the...

Keep Reading

Angel Babies are Heaven’s Gatekeepers

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Mother and baby silhouette

I never seemed to have the right words. I didn’t have the right words at four years old when my parents lost my 11-month-old brother, and I never seemed to have the right words as I watched family members and close friends lose both the new life growing within their wombs and the beautiful, precious life resting in their weary arms. So, I did what I thought would offer the most comfort. I simply tried to show up and be there the best I could. I shopped for their favorite treats. I dropped meals off on front porches and toys...

Keep Reading

I Should Be Picking You up from School Today

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman sad with eyes closed

I would have cried.  I see the line of cars in the school pick-up line, and my heart is hit with grief, love, and wistfulness all at the same time.  You, sweet boy, should be there, waiting for me to pick you up.   I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone over it in my mind. Your first day of preschool. I’ve thought about your outfit—little jeans and a hoodie with a ball cap. Would you be into superheroes? What backpack would you want? I would’ve taken you school shopping, picking out all the supplies you’d need. And...

Keep Reading

Secondary Infertility Took Me By Surprise

In: Baby, Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler by open door

Selfish. Unfair. Guilt stricken. Shameful. Those were just a few of the words that regularly stabbed my lamenting heart as I longed for a second child. Yes, I was grateful for my healthy, beautiful boy who made my dream of motherhood come true, but why did I not feel complete—was he not enough? Was I doing this motherhood thing all wrong and didn’t deserve a second child? Why did I long to give him a sibling so badly knowing millions were aching for their first—how could I be so insensitive? So many questions, so many buts and so many whys....

Keep Reading