Child Loss…. Something that a lot of people never have to experience and most don’t know what to do or say to those that are parents of Angels. In 2017 I joined this “club”. The club of parents who will mourn the loss of their child every day for the rest of time. The club of parents who have to learn to live without the child – or children – that they wanted so badly. The club of parents who will live on and may never hear the words “Mom” or “Dad” again. The club that no parent who is actually knows what it’s like to lose a child will ever wish anyone to become apart of.

But what does losing a child really look like? It’s going to the hospital hoping to bring home your daughter for you to walk out without her. It’s taking your son in for a medical procedure and never bringing him home. It’s hoping for a miracle when you take a pregnancy test for it to be negative. It’s going to a routine ultrasound appointment to find no heartbeat. It’s learning to live with a hole in your heart and an ache in your chest. It’s learning to navigate waves of jealousy when a friend gets pregnant. It’s seeing a child in public and craving the feeling of having your child there with you. It’s hearing comments that cut you deep and having to act like they don’t bother you. It’s constantly explaining what happened or avoiding the conversation altogether. It’s screaming at God and asking “why me?!”. It’s showing strength and courage in ways you never thought possible.

It’s ugly. It’s raw. It’s sacrifice. It’s hurt. It’s perseverance. It’s strength. It’s grace. It’s faith. It’s hope. It’s love. It’s heartache. It’s grief. It’s real.

Eleven families and parents joined me on Sunday to remember our children. We laughed, we talked, we cried, but most importantly we let the memory of our children live on. I asked each them two important questions – “What phrase breaks/bothers you?” and “What keeps you going or gives you hope?” Here are our answers:

What phrase breaks/bothers you? “What happened?” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “Our son, Kayden.”
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “She’s going to die anyway.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “‘Welcome to Holland’ by Emily Perl Kingsley.”
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “You’re still young. You can have more.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “‘Rise Up’ by Andra Day.”
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “At least you still have one.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “Not all twins walk side by side, sometimes one has wings to fly.”
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “Everything happens for a reason.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “Don’t be afraid of your fears, they’re not meant to scare you. They’re to let you know something is worth it.” – C. Joyce Bell
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “I know you thought this was a miracle from high above, but you should’ve expected this with this type of pregnancy.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “The first thing they saw when they opened their eyes was the face of Jesus. “
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “At least you still have your daughter.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” Romans 8:18
What phrase breaks/bothers you? *SILENCE* What keeps you going or gives you hope? “Can you show me a picture? Tell me about Cody.”
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “You won’t get to see your son again because you don’t go to church.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “We WILL see him again.”
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “At least you knew ahead of time and could prepare for the worst.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “Why don’t you just adopt?” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
What phrase breaks/bothers you? “Well at least you know you can have babies.” What keeps you going or gives you hope? “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your father produces perseverance.” James 1:2-4

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank each and every single person who came out Sunday and had the courage to share their story with me. I hope that parents who are going through the darkest times will look to you as inspiration and can move forward every single day just as we have learned to do. They say that time heals everything, but it doesn’t. Time gives you the opportunity to learn new ways to navigate life with a piece of your heart missing. There is no sacrifice greater than learning to live without a child – or children – you’ve prayed so hard for.

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”

― Jamie Anderson
  1. Stephanie Stancombe says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you for being so brave and kind to find out more about these families. It means everything to us that someone cares.

    – Gwen’s mom

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