Tag Archives: death of a child

Bittersweet Mother’s Day

When Mother’s Day swings around I usually have mixed emotions.

I’m grateful that my own mother is still with me, along with the other ‘mothers’ I have the privilege to still enjoy…my Aunt, my Godmother, and my friend Jeanne, all who really ‘get’ me since I’m anything but conventional in my thinking.

But my heart is with women, today, who are reminded that ‘motherhood’ hasn’t worked out quite as they’d expect. And I’ve met many who have had these experiences; some have had a few.

Like the lady who has lost a child, or one whose only child or all her children have died. The one who never knew her mother because her mother died before she was old enough to meet and enjoy her.

Or the woman who never had the honor to even becoming pregnant for a whole host of reasons. And the one who is still able to bear children but can’t keep a pregnancy or get pregnant to begin with.

We look at loss in many different ways; we see things others don’t see on these types of occasions. We don’t bring it up in conversation, instead we simply let it remain buried deep inside where a lot of that pain still sits.

My mother has graciously gotten to the point where she’ll wish me a Happy Mother’s Day with the caveat, ‘because you are a mother to many’ which is her way of soothing that wound and I’m at a place where I might well up with a tear or two but at least it’s not the piercing pain that I once had years ago.

Sometimes it’s not an actual loss of a mother, for some, that is difficult to grieve. It can also be what hasn’t occurred that can sting on a day like today.

Father’s Day 2011

I wondered what I might write today on Father’s Day. It’s not like Mother’s Day. If you forget Mother’s Day, you’ll never live it down. But for some reason, Father’s are more forgiving if you don’t attend their day. Just acknowledging it, often is enough to satisfy a good man.

But what I’m reminded of today are the many men who are grieving either their spouse and are left to raise children alone, or the Dad who have lost children along the way. I’m also thinking about the many children whose Dads are no longer alive to celebrate this day with them.

I recently met a man whose child died in a pool drowning at the age of 5. His son would have been around 40 now and he told me the story as if it happened a few months back. He faced pained with sorrow. I could tell he missed him to this day and thought often how life would have been so different had this young son grown up to be a man and enjoyed many happy memories with his Dad. But that didn’t happen.

I also met many men whose younger wives died or were killed and they were left to raise their children on their own. Men don’t do grief in the same way women do grief. They struggle with it and beat themselves up because they think they were unable to protect or fix their wives’ problems. But they are not supermen, although they haven’t figured that out. Some things can’t be fixed and some people cannot be protected from the evils and pains of the world no matter how much we’d wish we could do so.

There are no many men who have little ones at home with no mother. They struggle to play the role of Dad and Mom. They need to learn so many new skills they never thought they’d need because their wives had naturally handled more tasks so they could simply go to work and build a career and financially take care of their family.

But once a Mom is no longer alive, everything changes and the burden of multitasking is extremely difficult for men. So when a man finds himself in a position of Mom, Dad, sole financial breadwinner, teacher, coach, chauffeur, cook, cleaner, etc. he is overwhelmed.

So today I applaud all the men, especially my friend Mark, who raises his three young ones with such devotion. It isn’t easy but his dedication amazes me.

And lastly, I remember all the boys and girls, men and women whose Dads are no longer around to celebrate this day. There is so much to miss. So much to remember. And sometimes, there are melancholy moments for all the years they didn’t have with their Dad, especially if he died young.

Pink and White Roses

My father and I were having a conversation yesterday about Mother’s Day and possible restaurants we might take mine to dinner. One of the things we decided was to purchase two dozen pink roses.

At first, he said he wanted to get red. Red, to me, always seems to show up at funerals and since I’ve been to way too many of them, I don’t feel comfortable giving red roses to anyone for anything.

My favorite happens to be pink…always has been, always will be. Soft pink roses seem just right. Not too harsh like red, not too bridal like white.

Anyway, he told me about how when he was growing up in New York City in the 1940 and 50s, on Mother’s Day a woman would wear either a white rose, signifying her mother had died, or a pink rose, signifying her mother was alive.

I had never heard that story and it really seems such a nice way to honor your mother whether she was still among us, or has passed on.

So, for me, I have the pleasure of still wearing a pink rose, but today, my heart and compassion goes out to all those who would be wearing a white rose.

And maybe there should be another color, perhaps purple or lavender, befitting the Foundation for Grieving Children, Inc., for those mothers who have buried children. The other side of motherhood is not just honoring our mothers, but mothers who can no longer be honored by children who have left us too soon.

Whether pink, or white and purple, we remember today all the wonderful things that mothers bring to our lives. But especially the fact that life itself began because of them.

Happy Mother’s Day.

A Father’s Grief After His Daughter’s Murder

The attempted murder of Tucson, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford as well as the murder of six others, including 9 year-old Christina Green, shocked Americans this weekend. A deranged gunman started shooting into a crowd at a outdoor gathering with Congresswoman Gifford’s constituents. She invited them to learn about legislation in Washington and to hear their concerns about their government and its policy.

As I am no stranger to homicide and how it affects those who survive the murder victim, I wanted to share this video between Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly and Mr. John Green, the father of young Christina Green. Little Christina was attending the town hall gathering with a neighbor because she wanted to learn more about the political process and listen to her first Congress member, having been elected to her school’s student council.

Ironically, little Christina was born on September 11, 2001. I find it amazing that her life began on a day in our history when thousands were killed by terrorists, and she lost her life violently as well.

My condolences to her family and that of all the other victims of Saturday’s senseless shooting.

Please share your comments below.

Death of a Child…Age is Unimportant


As I read some of the recent posts to the Grieving Hearts group, it will always be true that no matter when a family loses a child they feel deep sadness for the inability to have seen that child grow beyond the years of their death.

It doesn’t matter whether they were an infant, a teenager, or a 42 year old. It only matters that for their family they won’t have the joy of seeing what they would have done with their life, all the experiences they would have had from that point on and the person they would have become later in life.

When an infant dies the entire cycle of life is considered. All the pleasure of raising that child, watching them grow into a fine young man or woman. Seeing them graduate high school and college. Perhaps seeing them marry and birth children of their own.

Yet when it’s a 42 or even 52 year old child to an older parent, that parent deals with all the additional years they would have had with their child. They also think of how they counted on their child to take care of them in the latter stages of their life.

Regardless of the number of missing years that a parent no longer has the privilege of experiencing, the pain is still great and the hole in the heart still remains. But over time, as grieving and anquish subside, there is a place where it turns to celebration and gratitude for one’s life, however long they happen to be with us.