What My Son Taught Me After His Death

My first-born son was delivered at 27 weeks. He lost his battle after a month full of complications. The world never got to meet him except for a small handful of people, including an army of nurses and doctors.  

The month I got to be his mother in the flesh changed and molded me forever. He moved mountains in my life. He instilled a strength within me that I would need to carry on. To survive his death would mean I could find a way through anything.

I take nothing for granted with my two children who came after his death. I know the fear of losing a child is a realistic thing. So with them, there are a lot more “I love yous.” Hugs are a little longer. I try to breathe in every minute of their childhood.

After his death, I learned how to pray — this time for myself. I learned that life is messy and over-analyzing everything just makes things messier. I learned to go with my gut feeling; it’s usually always right.

His death changed me in profound ways.

It didn’t just change me — it demolished me, forcing me to rebuild myself. I learned to choose joy in the depth of darkness, the kind of darkness that swallows you whole and restricts your breathing. I choose to see the light within myself, and I allow it to shine time and time again. If I can outlive my child, my strength knows no limits. It’s a strength that never fizzles out because every day since his death is another day that I’ve survived.

I learned life has many things in store for me, although I won’t like everything and some things will be out of my control. I learned it’s possible to live with only half a heart, as part of me now lives somewhere else. I learned laughter is meant to be heard and tears are meant to fall. That the saying “nothing last forever” excludes the pain endured from child loss.

I’ve learned living in the past or future smothers me, so I strive to live in the moment, even when the moments aren’t so pretty. It taught me being stubborn is OK and to never give up. I learned how to smile through pain, and that tomorrow really is another day, and, at the same time, it isn’t.


If you’re a family who needs help with neonatal intensive care, please visit Project NICU, One-on-One Mentoring Program, Family Assistance Program, NICU Mom Connect, or Angel Gown® Program.

His death taught me the value of life and love. It’s what true sadness feels like and looks like. I have a different perspective about life. It’s short and hard but worth it. Most of all, I learned to be patient, as I’m patiently waiting for the day I see my son again.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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