For mothers who have lost a child, an invitation to share

Ever since I wrote this post   I've had people arriving on my blog looking for real answers on what to do for moms who have lost a child. They are increasing in numbers as we inch close to Christmas as the question becomes "what to give mothers for Christmas who have lost a child".

Normally, as in searches on headstones, I feel kinda bad for a minute and then carry on with my life but this is not sitting well with me. I've been there supporting a woman, who just happened to be my mom, that had lost her child, her only boy, her youngest, to a sudden death at the sickeningly young age of 38.

It's impossible to know what to do, what to say, how to deal with Christmas and other holiday times. I don't have the answers, I'm sorry.

What I can do is offer personal thoughts and ideas. I can share respectful, helpful comments from others who have "been there", either as a mom who lost a child or as one who supports a mom or dad who lost a child.

There are two things that stand out in my mind that are concrete things I did for my mom. The first is a poem I sent my mom that suited our circumstance, her relationship to my brother, to me, her life philosophy.

The second is specifically gift related. Growing up I quite often would buy my brother's gifts to my mom or let him go in on gifts that I had purchased. It was no secret, and likely not that uncommon a thing for many siblings to do.

On the very first gift giving occasion after my brother's death I signed the card with my gift to my mom from myself and from my brother, just as I'd done many, many times before. I did it only the once after he died and for us it was just the right thing. My mom was very touched and got why I had done it.

I did it because he is still and always will be a part of us and I know he would care very much about my mom at these times and it was once again like I was doing something for him, for my mom, that he couldn't do himself, but would if he could.

I'm going to ask my mom what she would tell someone to say to or do for a mom who has lost a child, at Christmas or anytime and will put it in the comments.

*edited to supply this link


  1. What do you give a mom that has lost her child to adoption and her husband, at age 49, to cancer?

  2. All I can say is, don't treat the lost child--8, 18, 38 or older--as a taboo subject. Don't be afraid to say something or mention it in person or in a card. Sometimes sharing some moment you had with that person, even if it is hysterically funny and seems not "appropriate" to you, will touch the person and remind her how very much that child was loved and treasured, and that is a great gift to a bereaved parent.

    Christmas seems to be one of the worst times for a mothers who have lost children. A lot of people just want to cancel it.

  3. In 2003 I gave birth to Sam. He was very handsome and very tiny. A priest came to baptize him. They did not hook him up to any machines they just let us hold him until he passed away later that same day. And buried him later that week. When people ask me how many children I have I say 2 most of the time. When I lived with my MIL she kept taking his picture down saying he was not like a real baby think of it like a miscarriage. She sucks. I have 2 kids.

  4. I called my mom today to ask her about this and ended up on the phone with her and an aunt, both women who had a child die before them. Both were sons, one died at 38 the other at 9.

    My mom talked a bit about how she'd received angels in sympathy cards and how they'd made her feel better and got her to start collecting them.

    My aunt talked about how one person had said, quite soon after her son's death, "haven't you gotten over it yet?" and how it had made her feel so badly. No shit Sherlock, geez.

    They both said that if they themselves knew someone who had recently lost a child what they would do is hug them and just tell them that they're there if the person needs them.

  5. Letter to Mom
    by Joy Curnutt

    Mom, please don’t feel guilty
    It was just my time to go.
    I see you are still feeling sad,
    And the tears just seem to flow.

    We all come to earth for our lifetime,
    And for some it’s not many years
    I don’t want you to keep crying
    You are shedding so many tears.

    I haven’t really left you
    Even though it may seem so.
    I have just gone to my heavenly home,
    And I’m closer to you than you know.

    Just believe that when you say my name
    I’m standing next to you,
    I know you long to see me,
    But there’s nothing I can do.

    But I’ll still send you messages
    And hope you understand,
    That when your time comes to “cross over,”
    I’ll be there to take your hand.

    1. I wish you would take my hand today, my precious son.

  6. This will be Christmas #8 without my beautiful daughter, Amy Rae. I just found this blog, this Christmas eve, 2010.I need to tell you some things about her, about me.But I don't know where to begin. You see, first, it was me who got sick, and was not expected to live. But I did, because I had 3 daughters at home, waiting for me. It was a terrible illness, came out of no where, called Guillian-Barre Syndrome. I fought for my life, and I nearly died 3 times, 3 times I was floating above my body, as I watched the nurses and doctors working hard to bring me back. I was away in the hospital for 15 weeks, until I signed myself out and went back home. It is a long story, the one about my illness.But I survived. It was exactly 5 years later, to the day-Valentines Day to be exact-when Amy was diagnosed with a rare cancer.She had just graduated high School, was 18 years old, her entire future ahead of her. Amy was beautiful, Amy was smart, Amy was talented in so many areas. Amy was the daughter that was most like me. Amy fought her cancer so hard, for 19 solid months, but she lost her battle. On September 11, 2002, Amy took her final breath, a final whisper of a breath I felt against my cheek, then she was gone.Oh how I have wished it would have been me. It should have been me. I HATE CHRISTMAS. I just want to stay in bed, with the covers pulled over my head, and not wake up until it is once again over, then it starts again the next year. My 2 surviving daughters live in Regina, and tomorrow, that is where I will be going to celebrate with them, and my grand-children. I will have to put on my happy mask, as my heart breaks into tiny pieces, like it does every Christmas. And swallow back any tears that may pop up.And pretend to be happy.It is after 8 on Christmas Eve as I write this, so I don't imagine anyone will be here to read this. That's okay, I just needed to be able to get this out tonight. I hope I will be back here, and maybe then someone will be here. Merry Christmas to all of you.

  7. annastasia....thank you, and Merry Christmas to you too

  8. Hi there. I lost my brother on Dec 22, 2010. He was only 38 years old. He had been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer six months earlier. I logged on to There is a lady there who makes thumbprint charms for necklaces. I had three made. One for my dad, my mom and my daughter. I also went a got one of those concrete stepping stone kits. My brother and I made one for both of our parents. He put his hand print in that way anytime our parents were missing them they could hold his hands. Four days before he passed away I went to Build a Bear and had three stuffed animals with the voice recorders in them. My brother recorded a special message for each of them to open on Christmas morning.

    This year for Christmas, I have really been struggling on what to get them. I finally figured it out... I found a lady who makes stained glass. She is designing an Ohio State themed Angel for me. Instead of having a clear head, she is putting a picture of my brother's face in. I am hoping that my family loves it

  9. Jeanine...I'm so glad you commented to share your ideas. I am so sorry for your loss. That's the same age as my brother was when he died. Way, way too young, so hard to take.

    Many, many people look at this post and they will see the things you and your brother did for your parents as well as your idea for this year.

    Thank you.

  10. I don't think I want to blog regularly- I just want to tell you about my beautiful daughter. she was an Air Force veteran, a college graduate, a wife, a mother and my best friend. Three weeks ago, to the day, God called her home at 33 years old. There was no medical reason for it- she just went to sleep and did not wake up. No illness, no drugs, no accidents. He just reached down his His hand, took her little one in His and took her home. Her family and I have survived the shock and the devastation, and now, just deal with our pain, one day at a time.
    Chrissy was a dedicated Christian warrior who prayed from her heart EVERY morning for her family and friends. Anyone who went to her with a problem- and a great many did- found a loving and listening heart. She always seemed to know just where to go in the Scriptures to find passages that helped. So many loved her. I think we relied too much on her. We are all Christians, but we were complacent and allowed ourselves to be pulled along, towards heaven, on her efforts. I think God figured it was up to us, now, to do it for ourselves- "It's up to you now".
    I cannot say that I have "lost" my child- I know exactly where she is. I just want the pain to stop. I miss my beautiful girl so much and I wonder if my broken heart will ever heal. I cry mostly when I am alone, my husband and my two other children need me, and sometimes I don't think I can stand it. If it weren't for my faith I don't know if I could survive this.
    Chrissy and I spoke on the phone almost every day, and I can still hear her voice always ending the call, or the visit, with "I love you Mom". God grant me peace- please.

  11. I don't think your broken heart will ever heal, but the pain will ease with time. Please trust me in that. I'm glad your faith is so helpful to you in this horrible, difficult time.

    My brother died the same way as your daughter and it's extremely shocking. I'm so sorry you and your family have to go through this. Three weeks is like yesterday, like last minute...that is no time ago when you suffer a loss like you have.

    Feel free to stop by here and share your thoughts anytime you like. It can be very lonely mourning when you're a wife and mother as most times we need to be so strong for the people we love who are still here, and that's ok, it's just damn hard.

    The relationships we have with amazing people are the most painful to mourn and although the void in our life is huge, I think it it would be an even bigger void had we not ever been fortunate enough to love and be loved by an amazing person.

    Thank you for telling me about your beautiful daughter.

  12. To Chrissys mom and bestfriend and all mothers who are grieving the death of their child. God took the hand of my only child on Nov 18 at the age of 17. Kennedy was my bestfriend and my entire world. I also cry mostly when im alone. If it were'nt for my faith and the love for my family i'm certain i would not be here today to write this, but my heart is completely
    shattered. I'm so very saddened for everyone who feels this devastation. I writing because i'm lost without Kennedy and don't know who to talk to so i thought i would try this site. Thanks for listening...

    1. Kennedy's parent, you were heard here, many times. Take care.

  13. I've come across a Facebook page called "For those who have been effected by the loss of a child."

    If you or those you care about are on Facebook, consider checking out the page, you may find it a source of comfort and support. When I'm able I will post a direct link.

  14. i just had my first child, my daughter, on november 3rd 2012 and she died on december 31st 2012, at 58 days old, for no reason at all. i cant even begin to explain the feeling. i never left my daughters side and the one time i left her with someone, she died. and i dont care what people say, i will carry that guilt with me forever. i want to be with her. i miss her in a way that literally hurts. physically, emotionally and mentally. she was my peanut and her name was Maniah Skye. She was perfection. i am a different person, forever changed. and i dont wish this pain on the devil himself. for the first time, i got a sign from my daughter, and it wasnt good. and i dont know what to do. i feel like she was telling me that she needs me because she is stuck and alone and it is terrifying and it now consumes my life. i just want to be with her. no matter what the price. i miss every little thing about her and would do anything to hear the comfort of her cry. people just dont understand and it is so frustrating. peoples choice of words are so cruel sometimes. commenting that i need to eventually get over my daughter. i will never get over her. never. mothers day just passed was one of the worst days of my life. totally avoided everyone and everything and even posted a personal request poem for my family and friends. i was so proud to be her mom and i dont have her here anymore to even celebrate it. i dont feel like a mom anymore and its a terrible feeling. i always take her with me, everywhere. and im just so mad at myself for leaving her that day. its a guilt that will remain within me forever. i dont care about anything anymore, i just miss my daughter. how do people continue? my life is at a standstill without my baby. and it seems like time makes it worse. just another day without her. its killing me. i tried for so long..and finally i had her. and she was perfect. i was enjoying her and loving her and then all of a sudden, im making funeral arrangements. being forced to bury my daughter in a casket that measured 2 feet and 6 inches. and it can take a persons breath away. i want my daughter back or i want to go to her. this is such a confusing thing. its overwhelming love and overwhelming pain all in the same emotion. i am forever changed and thats the bottom line. i just dont know how people go through this. im definitely losing it. my heart goes out to anyone who has ever lost a child, there is nothing else worse that can ever happen to you, thats how i feel at least. life is just so different now. the tears are endless and uncontrollable all the time and the triggers are..everything. its unbelievable.


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