I carry you with me into the world, into the smell of rain & the words that dance between people. And for me, it will always be this way, walking into the light, remembering being alive together
Brian Andreas, StoryPeople
When our children die, we lose our hopes and dreams for the future. The rituals our children were an integral part of (birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas) are irrevocably altered, if not destroyed, and the ones that would have come with more time (graduations, engagements, marriages, births) are gone forever. It is out of the natural order for a child to die before his or her parents, and the hole in your life and your heart never goes away. As writer Megan Devine said, “Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”
It has been four years since my son, Jimmy, drew his last breath. When I remember the way he struggled to keep moving and keep living, my heart hurts, and I can barely breathe. But when I focus on carrying him with me and remembering his quirky sense of humor, his merry laugh and his sweet smile, I can manage the pain of not having him here.
Jimmy refused to allow his life to be about cancer, and he wouldn’t want my life to be about his death. So I have done my best to keep living, to look for him in the stars, to find humor in what made him laugh, to keep having adventures and to hold tightly to the people he and I love most.
Salt Water can help you find a way forward. We provide support as you create a different life in the wake of the death of your child, a life that allows you to remember and celebrate your child, a life that honors the life your child isn’t here to live. Connect with other parents who have found ways to go on in the face of an unbearable loss and who can offer you comfort, ideas, inspiration and, most of all, hope.
A few of our favorite pieces on the death of a child:
- “Notes From a Dragon Mom” – Emily Rapp’s heartbreakingly beautiful article about parenting a dying child
- “When Your Only Child Dies” – RaeAnne Fredrickson, StillStandingMag.com
- I Am A Mother Without A Baby – BBC journalist Fiona Crack’s story of the first year after the death of her baby daughter and the five extraordinary women who shared her experience.
- The Moth Presents Anthony Griffith: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times – a moving, raw performance by a grieving father and comic who asks the hardest unanswerable questions – “What did I do?” and “How do I plan for this?”
- It’s Okay To Not Be Okay — celebrities share their stories of loss and encourage others to speak out to combat the feelings of shame and guilt many women experience after a miscarriage or stillbirth.
- “Mothering Ghost Babies” — even after our children have died, we never stop mothering them
- “Loving My Son, After His Death” – Nora Wong, New York Times
- “How A Hospital In Wales Is Memorializing Children With Birdsong” — “These names will be forever in our skies”
- “Ten Things I Learned When My Daughter Died”
- “What Does Daddy Cry About?” — “Someday I will have to tell my son how his sister died. But not yet.”
- “When Her Daughter Died, She Turned to Exercise to Quell Her Grief”
- “To Parents Who Have Lost Children” — “Your children walk besides us every day as we practice medicine, making us better at our jobs, helping us to connect more deeply.”
- An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination – Elizabeth McCracken’s memoir about dealing with the death of her baby boy and her efforts to move forward in the face of this devastating loss
- Once More We Saw Stars — Jayson Green’s gorgeous memoir about the death of his two year old daughter, Greta and how he and his wife find a way to create a life in the aftermath
- JK Simmons reads “Illuminos” – Brian Doyle’s funny, moving essay about his children when they were small, memories that can never be taken from us
- Rob Delaney’s interview on grief and the loss of his son, Henry — “I feel like an alien now. I feel weird. I feel like I’m a different species. Like I’ve seen behind the veil. I’ve been humbled viciously, and I now know things that not everybody knows”
- Motherland – an intimate look at the grief and healing of six mothers whose children have died. They travel together to South Africa, spending 17 days living with local families and working with African organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of children. The women share their stories, their grief and their pain, finding healing and comfort from each other and the children they work with.
- One Last Hug: Three Days At Grief Camp – a powerful documentary set at The Moyer Foundation’s Camp Erin, a camp for children who have lost parents, siblings and best friends to illness, overdose, murder and suicide. Watching these children find comfort in each other and begin to heal is something you won’t soon forget.
We invite you to become part of our community. Share your story, ask a question, make a comment. We’d love to hear from you.
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