10 Things Only Someone Who has Lost a Child Will Understand

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

1) Forceful rushing rage will descend upon you without a breath's notice. Years and years will have gone by since the loss of your child. A general sense of peace and functionality will have returned to the better part of your life. But in the blink of an eye, fierce anger will race through your veins because your child is no longer here and you'll have deeply violent urges to punch and kick and break something...or someone.

2) A helicopter or ambulance speeding by or overhead will NEVER go unnoticed by you. You could be singing along to your favorite George Michael song in your car at the top of your lungs, the sun shining on your face and the moment you hear the chopper or siren, your heart races. Your eyes glance upward at the racing life flight helicopter and you get a pit in your stomach. You shake your head and pray for the family involved in the accident. You take a deep breath, turn off the radio, and continue driving in silence.

3) Every fun, beautiful, adventurous moment with your other living children is always, ALWAYS tainted by the gaping hole of your child's absence. Always. You grieve even for your LIVING children because they are missing a sibling. So much grieving.

4) When you hear conversations involving sick children in the hospital, children undergoing surgery, children waiting for a transplant...any child who is still ALIVE but in a very sad and painful situation in the hospital...all you can think is, "At least they are still alive. At least they are going to live." You want so badly to empathize with your friends and acquaintances telling these stories and sharing their feelings, but all you can think when they talk about how difficult it is to see your child suffer is, "SUFFER? How about suffer AND DIE?" So instead, you get very quiet and drawn inward and you remember those painful, painful, heart wrenching days and years after your child died. You don't want to become bitter. You don't want it to be all about you. You know the difficulties your friends are sharing are real and painful, but...it makes you feel disconnected and "different"...which makes you feel sad.

5) The circumstance in which your child died will always be on your radar. If your child drowned, you will ALWAYS be worried about your children and any other child near water. If your child died because she choked, you will ALWAYS be extra alert and aware of any young child putting hard foods into their mouths. If your child died in a car accident, you will ALWAYS have a tinge of anxiety while driving with children. It gets better and more manageable, but it will always be a part of your world.

6) You know how you ask yourself what would have happened if you'd married Joe instead of Jake? Or if you had moved to Boston instead of L.A.? Where would you be in life right now? Well, you live with that everyday...because you are living the actual life that happened after your child died. And you wonder every time the sun comes up what your life would be like if your child had lived. Would you be as wise and as sensitive as you are? Are you even wise? Or were you just forced to "grow up" way too soon? Would you be as angry and broken? Would you, would you, would you...You live in a constant state of "what if".

7)You can never have just a plain old, regular "bad day" because every bad day or negative emotion is layered with thoughts like, "Now, how much of this is because I'm having a bad day, struggling with my marriage, stressed about work...and how much of it is compounded by and effected by the fact that my child died?" No emotions can ever stand alone as they are. They always arrive with unannounced company.

8) Your spiritual and religious beliefs become rocked and questioned. Life after death and all the specifics involving it (resurrection, etc.) is a beautiful doctrine to discuss and pontificate over, but until your heart is ripped out of your chest and your world truly turned upside down and inside out, you aren't forced to face what you truly believe. You start entirely from scratch and realize that so much more than you thought is simply unknown.

9) Tears become your most valued commodity. When someone takes the time to talk to you about your child and learn your story and sheds tears with you or for you, it buys you more desire to continue living. It reminds you that you are not alone. It reminds you that people have good and caring hearts. It forges beautiful friendships and connections of great value. And it opens doors to learn about THEIR heartaches. It humbles you and reminds you how special your child is/was. (And here comes that anger again that you just had to type "is/was")

10) You write Huffington Post-like blog posts ("13 Things Only People with a Flat Butt will Understand! " #4 Will blow your mind!) to try and formulate your thoughts and put your angst into place. You don't speak for everyone who has lost a child in a tragic accident, but you know that those who have, will understand where you are coming from and try to calm your racing heart as you muddle through life.


  1. Such a great, heartfelt post that although I truly can't understand - it at least puts me a little closer to understanding the feelings. Thank you for sharing. I love you!

  2. Molly. I feel like you speak the "Bereaved Everyman."You go into the deepest recesses of a mother's heart....the broken kind, and you go and lay it all out there...beautifully. I am sure many who have loved and lost....who DO love and have lost.....find peace and empathy in your brilliantly unabashed words. Don't waste your talent just on your blog (which IS wonderful, by the way.) Write a book. It would be yet one more brilliant tribute to Lucy...in addition to the magnificent life you have lived as her mother, before AND after her death.

  3. You are so talented at putting thoughts and feelings into words and sentences. I'd say wise and courageous.

  4. Love this post, so true!! Thanks Molly!

  5. Molly ~
    This post means the world to me. I lost my first born last year in a tragic car crash. He was 21. I have felt so alone. Your post helps me realize that there are other people out there who know how I feel (even though I wish you didn't). I have had so much guilt, because I have struggled with my faith since my Cole has left. It's easy to believe in the Plan of Salvation when you have not lost anybody. I am trying very hard to take baby steps to get my testimony back, but it's not easy. Thank you for opening up your heart and letting others see how this truly changes someone forever. Sending love and healing your way. xo

  6. Yes, yes, and yes! Unfortunately I DO understand ALL of these and they are spot on. I love when someone else puts into words how it really feels, but then I'm sad for them that they do know how it feels. Death is a sucky, sucky thing. I hate everything about it. And yes, someday I hope that my testimony will make it all better but for now, it just sucks. Maybe I shouldn't leave comments late at night. But thank you for this!

  7. So true on so msny levels... Huge hugs mama!

  8. Molly thanks for helping me understand that I don't understand. We need that reminder sometimes. Hugs.

    1. I understand. Thank you for putting it into words.


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