You are walking the hardest path anyone will ever walk—living this life without your children.

Your losses have come in many shapes and sizes.

You’ve lost tiny heartbeats early in the womb.

You’ve screamed and sobbed through labor to deliver a silent but perfect little bundle.

You’ve held a fragile infant for hours, days, weeks, or months, only to give him back to Heaven.

You’ve watched your little one grow into a curious toddler and then held her a final time as disease or an accident took her away.

You’ve lived a full childhood with your baby and even watched him become an adult but now he’s gone and the hole in your heart is huge.

Your child is gone and what remains are what ifs and should haves. Guilt and pain are all too familiar to you and your “new normal” changes every day.

Our children are supposed to outlive us. We are supposed to be able to protect them and fix everything, but in reality . . . that’s just not always the case.

You are forever a different person.

You never have the complete joy you would have had with your baby here.

Your marriage is now completely different.

Some of you just couldn’t recover and your marriage has ended.

Some of you are suffering this loss as a single parent.

Your relationships all are now vastly different.

The world keeps turning for everyone else while yours is stopped on the day your child died—because a piece of you died, too.

You find that people don’t know what to say around you because “I’m sorry” is not enough.

People you were close with drift away. Family becomes strained and weird.

And countless bits of advice and cliché sayings are thrown at you constantly.

If you have other children, people call you lucky; if you’ve lost your only child, people tell you to just have another one as if a new baby will replace the one you lost.

All of your stories are different but you have one thing in common . . . your hearts are forever changed by your children and by their loss.

Grief changes you.

But so does hope.

Hope in the good that can come from sharing your stories.

Hope that one day, your loss will be redeemed.

Hope that you always have a safe place to come with your grief; to a community of people who completely get how you feel.

You are not alone in this ocean of grief even when you feel like you’re drowning.

You are loved. Your children are loved.

We are in this together.

Photo via Jacy Watson Photography

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Shelby Skiles

Shelby Skiles is a wife, teacher, and mom to her two-year-old angel, Sophie. Sophie passed away in January 2018 from Lymphoma. Shelby chronicled Sophie’s entire battle through her blog Sophie The Brave and hopes that transparently sharing her journey through, motherhood, cancer, and now grief will inspire others to look passed their circumstances and see that God is bigger than all of it. She’s deeply committed to honoring Sophie’s memory by sharing her story and I spring others to ‘Do More’ and make a difference.