I know that you never-in your wildest imagination-thought that you would need a day set aside for your broken heart and your empty arms.
Who thinks when they learn a new life is growing inside that this same life might be cut short? What heart is brave enough to consider the possibility?
Yet here you are.
I’m so, so sorry.
But there are a few things I want you to know. There are some important truths to remember on this broken road-truths that can help you hold onto hope and finish strong.
You are not a failure. I don’t care about those silly social media memes that are tossed around like candy from a Mardi Gras float. You kept your baby or your child as safe as you knew how. You are not omnipotent nor omniscient. You did the best you could. That’s all ANYONE can do.
You are a mother even if you don’t have a single child to hold on earth. You have a child-just not one that others can see. When people ask how many children you have, answer boldly and count the one (or more!) that wait for you in eternity.
Your love is valid and worthy of expression. Love for your missing child may look different than love for a child still walking the earth with you. That’s OK. Grief is love with no place to go. Tears are fine. Laughter is fine. Speaking his name is your privilege. Carrying her legacy is your honor. No one gets to tell you how or when to express your heart.
You are brave. Bereaved mothers are not the only brave ones on this planet but they are some of the bravest ones I know. You have received the heaviest blow a mama’s heart can know and you are still standing. You get up every day and carry on. You continue to love the people in your life and serve your family. You have not given up although giving up would be the easiest thing to do. Don’t discount your own courage.
You are strong-not because you want to be but because you have to be. Other people depend on you and you are trying your best not to let them down. It’s no compliment when someone says, “I just wouldn’t be able to survive.” Because, really-what choice do we have? We bear up under the burden because the alternative is to further burden our families.
You are beautiful. Every time you look in the mirror and notice the circles under your eyes or the lines around your mouth, don’t think that makes you ugly. They are scars-scars of love and sacrifice. They bear witness to the fact that you choose to carry on and carry your child’s legacy even though it costs every ounce of energy and will you can muster. You may not like the way you look in pictures, but trust me, you are beautiful.
You are a living legacy for your missing child. You carry his light. You honor her memory. You keep it fresh and alive and present and refuse to let others forget or ignore it.
You have a story to tell so tell it. Your story may be the key to unlock another mom’s prison. We cannot do this alone. We need one another. Don’t let fear of being dismissed or misunderstood silence you. Speak up. Stand out. Shout your truth for others to hear.
This day is for YOU.
It is set aside for all the mothers who love a child they can no longer hold.
Observe it however is meaningful and healing for YOU.
There’s no right way or wrong way to grieve.