So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

Have you ever sat in the mortician’s office?

I have.

I never planned on it. Nobody does.

But then you lose a child. And there you are.

Choosing an urn and figuring out some sort of ceremony to honor the little one you barely got a chance to know.

None of it is fair. It will never, ever be fair.

You will do your best. What else can you do? You will be depressed beyond anything you could have imagined. You will sink so low you think you never will rise again.

This I know.

I’m looking at my daughter’s urn on our fireplace right now. The space it occupies should be filled with her pictures instead. Photos of she and her surviving twin sister. Running, playing, smiling. But that space is not what I want it to be. Not what I planned it to be. So, every day, every night, I look up at my fireplace, when everything around me is chaotic and stressful. When my children who reside on this earth are being crazy and my husband and I are just trying to stay afloat.

And I am sad. And I cry. More than I ever thought I would or could cry.

And I remember sitting in the mortician’s office. I remember his somber face and tone. I have to believe he didn’t want to be there any more than we wanted to be.

He asked us questions about what we wanted to do to remember our daughter. He showed us pictures of urns and wrote down our daughter’s full name. He helped us pen our daughter’s obituary for the local newspaper.

I pity that man.

For all his studies, for all his professional preparation, did he know what he was getting himself into?

Did he know what it would be like to look a grieving mother in the eye and help her plan a memorial service for her 3-week-old child?

I will never know. And I will forever be grateful for the compassion and grace the mortician showed my family during the darkest time of our life.

I would never, ever wish what we endured on anyone in the world. Not a soul. Because the hurt—the agony a grieving parent experiences—is too much. It’s brutal.

Almost seven years after losing my daughter, the pain of losing the child who grew inside me keeps me up at night and makes me cry into my pillow on a regular basis. I think of her every second of every day.

When I am happy and joyous, it is genuine. Life has gone on, and I am blessed with my wonderful spouse and the amazing, beautiful children we have gone on to have in this world.

And yet . . . there is a darkness inside of me. Something is missing. Perhaps it is cliché to say that, but it is the truth. My beautiful family is incomplete. We always will be.

I wonder what the mortician does at night. Is he sad after all he sees and hears? Is he numb to the pain? I don’t judge or begrudge him if that’s the case. Maybe that’s the only way to survive that kind of business.

I hope you never have to sit in the mortician’s office. I wish I had never been there myself. And yet, I can’t change my story or journey. I will continue to wake up every day and vow to take care of my earthly daughters and be the best possible mother I can be.

I will do that, and I will simultaneously miss my daughter, Hannah, who left this earth too early. Who I believe visits us in the form of exquisite rainbows and multi-colored butterflies.

If I’m being honest, it is a tiny consolation. It’s not enough. But here we are.

If you have lost a child, if you have visited the mortician’s office, I am truly sorry, from the bottom of my broken heart. I send you love and light.

Yours truly,
A grieving mama

You may also like:

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

My Baby Was Stillborn, But Still Born

The Loss Mom Club

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

Leslie Froelich

Leslie Froelich is a freelance writer and co-founder and facilitator of a postpartum depression support group in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, run through the organization POEM (Perinatal Outreach and Encouragement for Moms). Her work has appeared on Her View From Home, Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, American Greetings, Postpartum Progress, Motherly, Hot Moms Club, and The Purrington Post. Leslie has two earthly daughters (Elizabeth and Maggie), a daughter in Heaven (Hannah), as well as a large, fluffy cat named Garran. She has been married to her spouse, Nick, since 2007.

My World Stopped When I Lost My Dad

In: Grief
Sad woman placing a white flower on a closed casket

I think it’s safe to say we have all dealt with grief. If you haven’t, count your blessings. I, like so many of us, have traveled on the road of grief . . . an unpleasant walk. After several losses, I have been on different sides of grief. When your friend loses a grandparent, you mourn with them, for them, for yourself, for their family. But it doesn’t quite affect your everyday life. When your spouse loses an aunt after an illness. When your spouse loses an uncle in a motorcycle accident, you mourn the loss of a kindhearted man....

Keep Reading

It’s the Flower Food Packet that Hurts

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Flowers on a headstone

It’s the flower food packet that gets you. That little plastic packet with the powder that keeps your flowers alive longer. The little packet you know you’ll never use because these flowers aren’t going in a vase. They’re going on the ground. RELATED: The Impossible Grief of Child Loss Hurts Forever Buying flowers for my baby’s grave is a normal process for me. Every so often, and especially around the time of year we lost our boy, I grab a bunch at our local grocer. I lay them carefully on top of where his very tiny body was laid to...

Keep Reading

How Do You Say Goodbye to Your Mother?

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman sitting on edge of bed

Sitting at a McDonald’s table in Charleston, SC, I looked down at my ill-fitting shirt and shorts. Stress had taken its toll, and most of my clothes now hung off me. I should have worn something else I thought, but how do you pick out an outfit for saying goodbye to your mother? I reached up and felt my earrings. They were hers and seemed right. That was something at least.   Within the hour, my family and I would come together to take my mom off life support. It was Good Friday and I managed to secure an Episcopal priest...

Keep Reading

This Is How to Show Up for a Friend Who Has Cancer

In: Cancer, Friendship, Living
Bald woman during cancer treatments and same woman in remission, color photo

One moment I was wrestling with my toddler and rocking my 3-month-old to sleep, and the next I was staring blankly at the doctor who just told me I had stage four cancer that had metastasized from my uterus to my left lung and spleen. “Well, I didn’t see that coming,” I smiled at the young doctor who had clearly never given this kind of news to anyone before. I looked over at my husband’s shell-shocked face as he rocked our baby back and forth in the baby carrier because I was still nursing, and we knew we’d be at...

Keep Reading

All I Have Left Are Dreams of My Mother

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, older color photo

I had a dream about my mom last night. It’s rare when this happens but last night’s dream was unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I was at a party, and she just walked in. It was so vivid. She sat down in a chair, looking so beautiful, so young, her eyes so very blue. She was so full of light, something I hadn’t seen in a while. I just looked at her, stunned, and gasped. I said, “Are you here? Are you real?” I couldn’t believe this was happening. Just like that she got up, grabbed me, and hugged me...

Keep Reading

I Miss the Little Moments with My Mom the Most

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss
Woman sitting on floor by couch looking sad

You think it’s going to be the big holidays that are hard. The first Thanksgiving without her. The first Christmas. Maybe even her birthday. But it’s not the big days that bring you to your knees. It’s all the little moments in between. It’s cooking a family recipe and not being able to call her to ask a question about the directions. It’s looking down and realizing you’re using the Tupperware you stole from her and knowing you can’t return it even if you wanted to. RELATED: My Mom is Never Coming Back To Get Her Shoes It’s talking about...

Keep Reading

“It Can Wait.” What I’ve Learned about Doing Too Much after My Mom Died Young

In: Grief
Family posed for photo outside

My mom died at the age of 45. Yes, just 45.  Around Mother’s Day, the reality of just how young she was hits me hard. As a mother of two young boys, I’m evaluating my own motherhood journey and in the absence of my mom, trying to give myself some sound advice for this next year.  My mom was a family doctor. She got her MD at the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s from Johns Hopkins University. Brilliant, most would say. She was in generally good health, petite, never smoked, never had more than a glass or two of...

Keep Reading

Time Doesn’t Make Mother’s Day Hurt Any Less

In: Grief, Grown Children, Living
Grave stone that says "mother" with a yellow flower

I’ve been in this motherless daughter club for over a decade now. Most of the time, that still seems strange to say out loud. I’m far from the firsts without my mom. However, what I have learned, is that there are certain experiences, certain days, and certain moments that you can’t put a timeframe on. These are the times that hurt for so much longer than just that initial grief period. Big moments without my mom—anniversaries, birthdays, special days—but the one I like to believe weighs the most and hits the hardest year after year is Mother’s Day. RELATED: Mother’s...

Keep Reading

Can You Hear the Silent Cry of Bereaved Postpartum Mothers?

In: Baby, Grief, Loss
Crib in nursery

Trigger warning: post discusses death and loss The cool air shocked my sweltering face as I walked into the doors of Old Navy. My husband kept his hand on my back to remind me he was still with me amidst the summer hustle that was buzzing in the store. We were there for a shirt. A single shirt.  An embarrassing want that I was calling a need. I thought I would actually laugh at the situation once I got out of the house for the first time in a week.  Seven days before, I was lying on my back in...

Keep Reading

I’m Happy for You But I’m Still Grieving: Remarriage after Loss

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss, Marriage
Coupe holding hands at wedding, close up black and white image

“I take you for my lawful wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death does us part.” Remarriage is beautiful and redemptive. Remarriage proves that second chances are possible and that love doesn’t come in one specific shape or size. Remarriage is the embrace of hope as much as it is of love. Remarriage shows that love is still possible through heartbreak. But let’s face it, when you aren’t the one remarrying, remarriage can be a little awkward. Add in that you are the progeny...

Keep Reading