The Loss of a Child

The people that understand me the most have lost children. We are the forgotten mothers, the Typhoid Marys for mothers of healthy children. They do not know what to do with us. We do not know what to do with us, either. We have tried to be brave, to find God, to start over, to make amends for some seeming mistakes we made. Nothing works. The child is gone and you remain. Not only that, the siblings continue to suffer as well. The death of a child is the loss of hope in a normal life.

Most of the time we carry our sorrow well. I have learned how to honor my introversion, to be true to my desire to live the simplest possible life, to keep rebirthing myself through writing. But at all times and in all weather, the hint of death remains in the air. At the change of each season, we somehow remember the lost child, the hole in our lives caused by the death. The leaves tremble and fall. The snows arrive. The tulips arrive. The August sun sizzles. The sorrow bears witness.

I write this because it actually gives hope to bereaved parents when someone confirms how they feel. They are sick and tired of denying the life of their child. They are proud of how they cope with loss on a daily basis. They are stuck with a life they did not choose.

I cling to my wholeness in the midst of this sorrow. I surround myself with the Christ light within. I say no a lot. I have earned the privilege. I have finished with doing things that will never help me a bit.

My latest feeling is that I must stand apart from the false teachings found online. The ones that offer a life lived in an awakened state. What nonsense. Everyone falls from grace again and again. Everyone cries. Everyone does bad things.

The last thing I will say is that the siblings have to continue to suffer the loss. They have to live a compromised life just as we do. My cousin, now in her sixties, tells of how her parents never spoke of her dead sister. I seldom speak of my daughter. Most bereaved parents don’t because it is painful to do so.

I am quite all right these days. I know the truth of death and keep it over my left shoulder. If I am lucky, I have an angel on my right one. Even so, this personality called Vicki does the best it can. And sometimes she just has to sit down and write the truth.

Vicki Woodyard
(The photo is of my son and I at the cemetery where my husband and daughter are buried.)


  1. My heart cries with your heart for our children. We walk a path of pain that can’t be described, only felt…it’s too deep We go on because we don’t have a choice. My daughter not only lost her only sibling but her only child. Her strength is beyond description. I can only hold her when she is lost in her grief. My daughter has gone on because she has no choice. I have gone on because I don’t have a choice–it has to be the angels on our shoulders that give us the courage and strength…grace and blessings by God.


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