So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

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

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.

How Grateful I Am for a Mother Who Believed in Me

In: Cancer, Grief
Mother and grown daughter, color photo

It was a hot summer day sometime in the middle of high school. I was young and naive, but the ugly six-letter word was looming over our family: cancer. Although I didn’t know it then, this would be our last normal summer before my mother’s health would worsen. Cancer would give way to terminal cancer. It’s funny how something so big can seem so small in those moments. My mom and I were sitting on our back porch, encased in a narrow hedge of yew bushes. It was a yellow, lazy Saturday, and my brothers and father were at Cub...

Keep Reading

A Medical Diagnosis Challenges a Marriage

In: Cancer, Living, Marriage
Bald woman holding clippers over husband's head, color photo

It is no secret now that Albert Pujols and his wife have announced their divorce shortly after she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. As a breast cancer survivor, this news hit me in a special way. As I was reading through an article from Today, there was a quote that hit me hard, “But a marriage falling apart is far more common when the wife is the patient, researchers have found. A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is...

Keep Reading

Dear Grandmother, I’m Not Ready to Lose You

In: Grief
Elderly woman and granddaughter touch foreheads

I had a visit from my grandmother the other day. It wasn’t a regular sit on the porch with a cup of tea kind of visit. It was more of an “I have something I need to tell you” type of visit. She’s been unwell for some time, and I guess I had sort of hoped she would get better, and she would be back to herself soon enough. I noticed when she sat down and tears filled her eyes that it wasn’t going to be a normal conversation. Her eyes widened and she struggled to get her words out without...

Keep Reading

Love Carries On in the Ones We Raise

In: Grief, Motherhood
Mother and son hug

From a very young age, two of the most important men in my life were my grandpa and my brother. I never could have imagined that I’d lose them both within nine months, nor could I predict the profound effects the magnitude of those losses would have on my life. My grandpa was my father figure and shepherd. I have endless memories of him— from splashing in the ocean together to shopping each Easter season for my Easter dress. He was always there. Every choir concert, musical, or school ceremony, I could easily find his face in the crowd. I...

Keep Reading

Friends Can Be a Sanctuary

In: Friendship, Grief
Group of friends hugging

A sanctuary is defined as anywhere people go for peaceful tranquility or introspection. My friends became my sanctuary when my husband, Frank, died. They became my refuge and my safe place. Friendship is one of the most wonderful gifts in this world. It is beautiful, comforting, ever-changing, and, for me, a fixed point.  My friends seemed to know exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Their love and constant support got me through the worst of times and gave me the courage and confidence I needed to move forward.  I could never give an adequate thank you to...

Keep Reading

All I Wanted Was For My Baby To Stay Alive

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad woman with head in hands

Today is the day I’ve dreaded and resisted for almost a year: the day I face going through the white plastic bag the hospital sent home with me after my D&C, 10 months ago. This bag held my clothes, shoes, and wedding ring for the short time I was in surgery, but I rescued all of those precious items soon after waking. The items that remain show the paper trail of that difficult day—receipts from my hospital admittance and anesthesia, general post-operative care instructions, and a consent form for “treatment of incomplete abortion.” That last part brings tears to my...

Keep Reading

My Husband Makes Me a Stronger Woman

In: Grief, Loss, Marriage
Daddy standing over hospital crib with infant, black-and-white photo

A little over a year ago, my husband and I went through the unimaginable. We lost our child, Lillian, to a congenital heart defect. The days following that, and even to this day, people will comment on how strong I am. How well I’ve dealt with this darkness. How they can’t imagine what I am going through. The truth is I was never alone. From the day we found out I would give birth to a child who had complex heart defects, my husband has been there. Always in the background of what others saw but ever so present in...

Keep Reading

Mothers Don’t Teach Us How To Live Life Without Them

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss, Motherhood
Woman in dress with corsage, smiling color photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of marriage, children, a career, and memories that you will cherish forever—and you want your mother by your side at all times. Our mothers teach us how to live a life we will enjoy, but they never teach us how to live a life without them in it. Our mothers don’t tell us that one day they will not be here to answer the phone when we call or go on spontaneous dinner dates. My mother never told me there will come a day when she will be gone and how bad it...

Keep Reading

When Mother’s Day Feels Awkward, Find Comfort in Community

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood

Mother’s Day can be beautiful for some women. It can be hurt filled for others. Or in my case, it can just feel plain old awkward. I felt eight years of awkward Mother’s Days. In my late 20s to mid-30s, I felt like the woman no one knew what to say to or what to do with. I felt a double whammy on Mother’s Day. My mother was home in Heaven. My womb was empty and always would be. My desire to have a child was filled with an intentional choice to go a non-traditional route to motherhood and was...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Mother’s Day Hurts

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding baby near grave, black-and-white photo

I see you moms. I see the moms who will never see all of their children together on this earth at the same time. The moms who dread the question, “When are you having children?” or “Will you have any more?” The moms who pray for that second line, month after month. The moms who are seeing that positive test and don’t know how they are going to make this work. The moms who can’t shake the blues or depression, who feel guilty for not feeling happier about their baby. The moms who feel as though they are doing it...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections