Hey there! I’m Emily. Wife. Mom of 3. Writer (at least I pretend to be). Former recruiting guru turned freelance career adviser. Child loss survivor. Grief blogger.

In 2015 I traded my career in the corporate world to be home with my kids. This blog was born out of my desire to create and write (and keep me sane). Initially the name was fun. Just Playing House captured my attempts at domestication and motherhood. Perfectly imperfect and figuring it out as we went. Then life took a turn.

Christmas of 2015 my oldest, my son Cameron, unexpectedly died. He was only 7-years old. In a matter of 12 hours we went from healthy to hearing the news no parent ever wants to hear, “Your son isn’t going to make it.”

Talk about life changing!

Just Playing House took on new meaning. Now it meant going through the motions of life. Trying to create a new normal that just doesn’t fit. That’s life after loss.

As I started sharing our story of loss, discovering a life changing diagnosis for my kids (porphyria), and navigating life as a bereaved mother, the universe began to whisper in my ear. Keep sharing.


I regularly receive messages from readers that thank me for sharing. Each one on a similar grief journey of their own looking for support, validation they aren’t crazy (because we all feel like we are), and connection with other people that get it. Just Playing House is the start of supporting our amazing community of child loss survivors.

My goal is to be part of the movement that breaks the stigma around grief. My dream is that someday we can all talk about child loss without it being uncomfortable. Grab a Diet Coke with me and I’ll share my big plans to help increase support for other bereaved parents.

As crazy as it sounds, grief and death have become the focus of my life. The center of what I’m learning is where I need to focus my time and energy.

If you’re looking for a place filled with love, grief, sarcasm, real life, a little humor and no judgement, you’ve come to the right place. Parenting is hard! Child loss is near impossible! Life after loss is a minefield. We’re doing our best to survive and move forward. Join me.

Thanks for stopping by.


P.S. Find more of my work at Still Standing Magazine and Her View From Home where I contribute.

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26 Comments on “About Me”

  1. I lost my 23 year old son, CJ, to malignant brain cancer. He was diagnosed in March 2010. He passed February 4, 2018. Devastated, heartbroken, and fearful…

    1. Sending you hugs. This is not an easy path. I remember my first weeks (where you are now) so vividly. Allow yourself the space to grieve any way that feels right to you. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or feels about it. I constantly remind myself that my grief is between my son and I only. This journey may not get easier (don’t believe people that tell you it will), but the weight of it all does get easier to carry over time. Finding other bereaved mothers that get it helps. XO

  2. Hello Emily. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Cameron. I can’t even imagine the daily emotions you go through. I believe one thing…Cameron is beaming with pride over your everyday strength and courageous heart. Ever since my dear friend lost her 18 year old son to an asthma attack I view bereaved mother sites in hopes to find words to comfort my friend. She, her family and her son are heavy on my heart and I never know if I’m saying the “right” things to her. If I may ask you how did friends and how do they continue to help you through this part of your life? I contacted my gf at least once a week if not more, I deliver special care packages every month on the day he was sent to heaven, I send her homemade cards and along with care packages on his birthday and Mothers Day. I just wish there was more I could do or say.:( You mothers who have lost a child I think are one of the strongest humans. I admire your strength and drive to continue living for your child. Thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers,

    1. What an incredible friend you are!! I was lucky enough to have a few people step up the way you have. It makes such a huge difference! Keep doing what you’re doing. For me, the thing that still continues to have the biggest impact is when someone will casually talk about my son in every day conversation. The way we would about any of our children. Those that aren’t afraid to ask questions and say “wow, I noticed…how did that make you feel” when things happen or people say stupid things. Let her talk about her son and share her memories. Remember the key dates (birth, death). All it takes is a text message, card, or phone call to say “I remember”. I admire what you are doing. Hugs!

  3. Hi I lost my youngest boy 2/12/16 forever 18 I will NEVER forget that morning when my whole world crumbled around me the pain n emptiness i felt and still do today is unbearable most days I think I carnt do this no more i really do just want to be where Jayke’ray is (my precious boy) reading your stories helps me stay focused so I thank you for your words xx

    1. I’m glad you have found comfort in some of my words. Keep going. It can be hard, I know. I read a post that said something like whenever I have a hard day I just think about my track record for making it through them…100%. So I know I can keep going. Hugs!

  4. So sorry for your loss, I mean it, I am so sorry. Unfortunately, I too, am a child loss survivor…I am here and I am surviving. The loss of my 8 year old son in 2015 forced me to embark on a journey that shows no mercy. Death has no calendar, it has no sympathy. It is unfair and so unkind. So very very unkind.

    1. Same here! My son’s death has sent me on a journey. How could it not, right?! It is so unfair and unkind. Hugs to you!!

  5. Hi my 41 year old son took his life a month ago today. There is not a single day I have not broken down in tears. Where was God when my son was taking his life? Why pray?
    Went a a grief support group but hearing everyone’s story just made me more sad.
    Feeling lost!

    1. I felt the same way about the idea of grief support. Early on I felt like I didn’t want to hear anyone else’s story, I only cared about my own pain. As time went on, I felt it was too hard to keep hearing everyone’s sad stories. I needed something more. You are not alone! While our circumstances are different, we share in the loss of a child. Hugs!! I hope you find the support that works for you.

  6. My 23 year old son died suddenly in the early minutes of Christmas Day whilst doing voluntary work in Cambodia. I was struck by your comment that Cameron waited so that he did not die on your Birthday. My birthday is Christmas Eve! My son suffered from mental illness and I was his primary carer. The loss is so great that I cannot see the future improving. Child loss leads us to a “club” that no-one wants to join. God bless you and your family.

    1. You are so right, no one wants to join this club we have been forced into. Many hugs to you Mama!

  7. Hi there, I am so sorry to hear of your loss of Cameron. I just lost my 12 year old daughter as she was battling Leukemia. She was essentially cancer free but during treatment she developed an infection that due to her weakened immune system quickly spread to her blood. She was so brave and happy. She was sunshine. It has been a little over 3 months and we are doing our best…but it is impossibly hard. Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. Emily:

    My heart goes out that you lost your sweet Cameron. I started a blog recently and it has really helped. what caught my eye was you wrote when did life become about rainbows and butterflies.

    my god if that isn’t a profound statement. my day consists of will I find a dime or a song or a sign. It is exhausting. I lost my son 2 years ago April 2 2016. He was 34. I hope we can follow each other on our journeys of grief. I have found perfect strangers have given me more help in this journey than closest family members.

  9. Emily, thank you. You are a great mum and person. Keep going on. I understand your situation, as I also lost a 7 year old son in 2016, almost with similar symptoms as your late son. Except that he was not put through major or various tests. He passed out still able to talk. Let me many questions to which I am still seeking answers. Life without him is not like the life it was with him, and may not be life it in the future too, certainly because his non presence here has created a gap that and no one has filled in. And I live on with only the memories of his presence.

    I admire you for the course you have taken. Keep going.

  10. Hi, Emily! My husband and I started on this horrible journey of child loss just couple of months before you. On October 12, 2015, our daughter had a car accident and was declared brain dead about 12 hours later. Bryanna had a love for life, children, and animals. I imagine that by now, if she had lived, she’d have a house full of pets and babies. But, I’m struggling to accept I’ll never get to see her experience that. Your story has helped me so much! I think, “I can’t imagine what she’s going through, ” and then realize I am going through it. It’s still so hard to believe this happened to me! Thank you for opening up and letting the rest of us know we’re not going crazy, but we are grieving.

  11. I was crying while reading your story. It is so sad and unfair. I lost my 4 years old nephew few weeks ago. He was hit by a car and died few hours later because of brain damage. When I got the news I went crazy and I still feel it cannot be real and that I will eventually wake up from this terrible nightmare. We do not live now, we are just surviving. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a strong woman.

  12. I lost my beautiful son David on the 10th of December 2017. He was killed tragically in a car accident, and I feel such guilt that I was not able to be with him in his final moments. His Dad’s birthday is the 11th, mine is the 12th, and his fiance’s is the 15th. The words you write help.. thank you!

  13. Hi Emily,
    Thank you for sharing and supporting other breaved moms! I lost my son a year ago due to accidental tragedy. Michael was only 24 years old… had a beautiful life ahead of him, like many other children we lost untimely…
    Today is a Mother’s Day and it’s so hard to cope with reality…

  14. Hi Emily,

    Can’t seem to get signed up for your blog. I reread the story about your sweet boy and want to reconnect with you and David. I sent David a message and hope to hear back from you. I know the sadness you feel as about 1 month before your tragedy, I lost Judy to cancer. It will be 4 years soon and I miss her as much as I did the day she passed. Love to the whole family.

  15. Tomorrow, December 6th, is the 6 year anniversary of my loss of my youngest son. He was 26 and died in a car accident. I still struggle almost on a daily basis. It doesn’t get easier. He leaves me feathers and sometimes tries to hit me with acorns when I walk my dogs. I live in the mountains. My heart is with all of you!

  16. Your blog caught my eye when I saw the name Cameron. It is nearly 15 years ago that I lost my Cameron, another Cameron Graham, to bone cancer aged 25. Two years earlier his young daughter had been killed by an out of control, unlicensed driver and he said we must learn from her life. We must be as bright and happy and friendly as she was – so despite the tears and frustration, over time it has got easier. Im sure there are many Cameron Grahams in this world but none so special as our two boys.

  17. I lost my 3-year-old son 14 months ago. I am stuck. I can’t move through it. The pain today is much worse than in the shock-fueled first months. Reality has set in that no one is “fixing” this. I waited 49 years to become a mom and I had my purpose, the love of my life, for 3 short years. Now I have no purpose, no identity, no reason to get up in the morning. I don’t expect it, at this point, to ever get any better and every day is a nightmare.

  18. Dear Emily, I stumbled upon your story today. I’m so so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son. My husband/I lost our son, Ray, 12/1819, to suicide. He was 46. Some days I think I’m in a nightmare. Its very hard, as you know. It has shocked us to our core. We are getting help to deal with his death. We miss him so much. We have a grown daughter also. We dont know what we’d do w/o her. Reading your story has helped. Thank you for sharing. I know it’s hard to do. Kathy

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