Why There Are No Calendars for Bereaved Mothers


With my son’s one-year mark closing in, I am reminded of exactly how short-lived our time here on Earth really is. I can’t believe a whole year has almost come and gone. That’s 365 grief-stricken days since my husband and I lay in his hospital bed with my head on his rattling chest, as he struggled to breathe and we said our final goodbyes. I held his little hands in mine, wiping the tears steadily falling from my eyes away with his tiny fingers. I had so much I wanted to say to him, but so little time to say it. I just kept telling him over and over again how sorry I was, how much I love him, and how we would be together again soon.

Most days I feel as though the world is moving on without me. No matter how much time passes, it’s like I’m still in room 548 on the 5th floor of the Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the clock on the wall still reads 5:45 a.m. and I can’t seem to pick myself up off that cold, hard floor and put my life back together.

It’s as if the world has forgotten about me; it has left me behind. It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. I just wish I could tell my heart what my mind already knows. But sometimes, I still can’t believe he’s really gone.

I never pictured my life this way. These kind of things only happen in the movies or to other people. Not to me. Not to my family. Not to my blonde-haired, blue-eyed, freckled-nosed little boy. I’m completely frozen in time.

Honestly, I feel like I haven’t taken a whole breath since he took his last one.

My calendars aren’t marked by birthdays and anniversaries anymore. Those happy days are long gone. I have two days out of a whole year that mean anything at all to me. August 31st, a day that used to be a celebration, the day Rylan was born. Now the only significance it holds is a reminder that he will be 8 years old forever. He will never make another wish and blow out his candles. There will be no more parties or presents. It’s just a sad day to sit along side his grave and grieve for what could have been. Then there’s September 24th, a day that needs no calendar to mark its place. It’s forever embedded in my mind. The day my soul was ripped from my body and the life was sucked out of me. The day my family fell apart, and a day I will relive for the remainder of my entirety here on this Earth. The day Rylan died.

It’s hard for me to remember what my life was like before Rylan came along. I’m sure it was just as empty as it is now that he’s gone. I can’t recall a single memory without him in it.

See, when you lose a child, what was a 12-month calendar now consists of just those two days.

We just survive every one in between.

I mean, how can you move forward when so much of you is missing? 

Follow this journey on the Remembering Rylan Blog


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Child Loss

woman sitting on a bench at night

The Days Are Long, and the Nights Are Longer After Losing Our Son

Child loss is a never-ending and debilitating journey. The days are long, the nights are longer. When the sun starts to set, memories seep into our veins, and we wait for the world to fall asleep so we can fall apart. Sleep evades us, and tears soak our pillow. We bow our weary heads knowing we [...]
Close-up of woman's hands clasped together on table

I Was Warned About ‘Phantom Baby’ After My Baby’s Death. I Should’ve Listened.

If you lose a baby, they might warn you that one “side effect” of the death may be “phantom baby.” It’s a real thing. A psychological part of the grief process. When my baby girl, Madeline, died, July 31, 2004, I was warned about phantom baby, too. However, I was thunderstruck during those darkest days, too [...]
a five-leaf clover

The Message of Hope I Received After Losing My Son

Our 14-year-old son, Noah, passed away in 2014 from a rare childhood cancer called Ewing sarcoma. There is nothing that prepares you as a parent to see your child have a disease that is aggressive and cruel in its silent relentlessness. So many emotions and feelings consumed us during the three years our son lived with [...]
Woman mourns with her hand on headstone in cemetery in closeup

Answering the 'Why?' After Losing a Child

It’s inevitable. You are trekking through life, minding your own business, and then, bam. Life sucker punches you in the gut when you aren’t looking. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, then lucky you. When that train derails, trailing steadily behind is a little red caboose with that smokestack of a question: “But why?” The answer [...]