Letter to a Newly Grieving Mother

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dear Newly Grieving Mother,

You just buried your child. It's unthinkable, I know. It's unimaginable, yet it is your reality. I'M SO SORRY.

You will never be the same person again. Your brain has and is literally changing. The nightmares and post traumatic stress are absolutely, positively unbearable at times. I know. I know. It takes every energy you can muster just to breathe. I'm so sorry.

I want you to know a few things. I want you to hold on to my words and let them sink deep into your bones. Find hope in these words.

1) IT SUCKS. BIG TIME. What you are going through is one of the hardest things a human being on this planet earth can endure. Why it happened, how it happened, I don't know...but it happened. It is happening to you and your family and it's very, very difficult. It is absolutely OK, more than OK, to feel overwhelmed, scared, shaken, mad, shocked, dysfunctional, crazy, mental, and absolutely out of your mind.

2)BUT PLEASE KNOW that you are not alone. Mothers and fathers have dealt with the loss of their precious children for centuries. There is an army of women waiting to buoy you up, give you hope, and hold your hand while you cry and talk as much as you want about your incredible child. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

3)Also, listen to me...YOU CAN DO THIS. I PROMISE YOU CAN DO THIS. One day at a time, one breath at a time, one prayer at a time, one walk around the block at a time, one phone call to your sister or friend or therapist at a time, one yoga class at a time, one meal at a time...YOU CAN DO THIS. I know you want to die. I know you feel like the pain will never go away. I know you wonder how on earth you will continue to live with the overwhelming pain you are feeling, but you can. You will. IT JUST TAKES SO MUCH TIME. Be patient with yourself.

4)Little by little, light will creep back into your life. Yes, you will deal with the financial burden of losing a child, you will deal with the toll it takes on your marriage and other relationships, people will say stupid things and offend and hurt you. But there will be light. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Get medication. See a therapist. For Pete's sake, SEE A THERAPIST. Eat well. Rest. Ask for help with house cleaning and cooking from close friends if you can.

And though your path and your family and your journey are different than mine, there will be a day that you will smile with your whole soul. It might be 3 years from now, it might be 7, it might be 2, or 15...but it will come. Stay open, be open to the love shown you, take risks, share your heart when appropriate, serve others, make mistakes, LIVE.

Just don't give up. Please don't give up. Small victories, one at a time.

You will never be the same. You will never physically see your child again in this life. But you will see them live on in unexpected and profound ways. You will experience so much beauty like never before. The happy moments in your life will mean so much more to you now.

You can do this. YOU CAN DO THIS. It's been over 8 years since my Lucy died, and while on our recent trip to San Diego, I kept getting the feeling over and over that I wanted to write to you and tell you that I have faith in you, in every single newly grieving mother. (and father!) As we played at the beach, rode bikes and rollercoasters, went sailing and ate ice cream--A desire burned within me to comfort and encourage you.  I needed this letter desperately after Lucy left. I was broken, lost, afraid, and grasping for something to hold on to. I want you to hold onto this. You will heal. You will survive. You will never forget your child. You will laugh and love life again.


  1. Molly I started reading your blog about 4 or so years ago, and I know now it was Heavenly Father preparing me for the loss of our son, Thomas. He was stillborn in 2013 and having read your blog gave me a foundation to stand on as I made my way through grief that felt so heavy and so deep, I felt like I would never see the sun again. Thank you. Thank you for writing your raw emotions and thank you for writing this beautiful letter. It will and does get better and I am so thankful for the day that I randomly came across your blog. You do so much good.

  2. I can hardly believe it has been nearly 8 years!

    Your letter is beautiful. I remember the night I saw a post on a blog that encouraged people to pray for you and your family. I remember feeling the same way you describe in your letter. A feeling of a deep need to reach out and comfort you. I have not lost a child. But my mother did. He was 6 and a half. I am also a pediatric oncology nurse. I have watched too many moms leave the hospital empty.

    My deep desire to lend comfort to you that first night has kept me here all these years later. I can see that light you speak of. I see it creeping back in to your bright smile. I am happy you are getting there. And I understand that there is only one way you will ever be fully healed. But until that day that you are all reunited, you have made a choice for joy. And I am happy for you. And I pray and wish that same light for every mother who has had to let go too soon. You are prayed for. You will heal. You will feel and live in the light again.

  3. Beautiful and perfect. LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

  4. Thank you Molly. It was definitely no accident that your blog was in my life 8 years ago. Right after Charlie died I was desperate to hear from any mom who had lived through this. This letter would have been perfect! I'm sending the link to my grieving mom friends. So happy to see you've found joy again in your family. Every time my husband and I do something fun with each other or the kids, we always comment on how we are having a good time, but it always feels like we are lacking true joy. Hoping for that in our future!


  5. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Thank you.

  6. Thank you for your touching letter. It was so sweet and heartfelt, you brought me to tears. Thank you for always being so honest and for sharing what's in your heart with everyone. <3

  7. Thanks for your generosity in writing this letter. It makes me happy to see how much healing has happened for your cute family.


  8. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now, I don't even remember how I stumbled upon it. I have recently become a first time mother to a beautiful daughter who is just 5 weeks old. She was born with a terminal condition and it is inevitable that we will lose her sometime in the not too distant future. I am heartbroken and feel like my life is in ruins. I came to your blog today and saw this post, which I'm sure I read before without paying too much attention. Although my daughter is still here with me, this was just what I needed to read. I'm sure I will return to this post again and again.

    I am so sad that we will both be mothers who live without our first born daughters. It is not right. Lucy's light is shining on through you and your writing. Thank you x


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