11 Crazy Things I Do As A Bereaved Mother

Becoming a bereaved mother, my life has changed in ways I never expected. I’m not stating the obvious here. Yes, my life has been turned upside down since my son died. This is more behavior based.

It’s quite possible these behaviors I’ve picked up are survival mechanisms. I can tell you I am on the journey of a lifetime related to understanding my belief system. It has been tested in so many ways. However, I likely don’t understand what my body has automatically done just to put me in survival mode.

These things that I do are typically hidden from the world. It’s part of my grieving process. While they seem quite crazy, I would like to think I’m not alone.

crazy things i do as a bereaved mom

11 Crazy Things I Do As A Bereaved Mother

1 – Occasionally I stop and touch the box that his ashes are in. This isn’t so strange. However, there are times I make a point to lift the box up to feel it’s weight. That weight is a reminder that he was real.

2 – I constantly remind myself that he existed. I will never forget! However, the numbness permeates my reality so intensely. As more time passes it’s like my body gets used to going through the motions without him. It begins to play tricks on your sanity. Reminding myself keeps me grounded.

3 – Many things I say begin with the phrase, “This will sound crazy, but”. It’s like a whole new world was opened up to me when he died. I am constantly amazed so I can only imagine how I sound to others.

4 – A big chunk of my day is spent seeking ways to continue my relationship with my son. I know he is still here.

5 – I have seen him. Not in my dreams as you would think, though he tried that once. I don’t think I was ready because almost as quickly as I got to him the dream ended. I’m talking full blown shadows of him standing in the room with me (not on the wall). This all sounds very crazy, I know (see #3)! He loves to run.

6 – Most of my day is spent either talking to him in my head or being reminded of him in literally everything around me! Standing in the room with me, you won’t know this is happening. Believe me, it is! He is in EVERYTHING I see, hear, and do. There are signs everywhere!

7 – I consult him. Every decision is made based on answering the question, “What would Cameron want me to do?” In a way he has become my life & moral compass.

8 – I think about my mortality. A lot! There is a Twenty One Pilots song out right now that sums it up: “I think about the end just way too much. But it’s fun to fantasize.” That’s how I see death now. I welcome it. Not in an end my life kind of way. Death is just viewed very different now.

9 – When I’m in the rain, I like to stop and just stand there with my face to the sky. Just being in nature, especially the rain, connects me with the rest of the universe. With him.

10 – I am constantly looking for his signs! I crave them. Beg for them even.

11 – I still shop for him. Every time I enter a store, I am looking for things he would like. Things I would have bought. Today, I’m guilty for buying 3 more books in the series he was reading. A series he would have opened last Christmas morning (most of it anyways). In my defense, I promised him I would read it.

Too crazy? What are the crazy things you do because of your grief?

40 Comments on “11 Crazy Things I Do As A Bereaved Mother”

  1. You are not alone. I also still buy things for my daughter. I buy books that I think she would have liked and read them out loud to her at the cemetery. I’m so sorry for your loss. We are in the lakeland area, so not far from you guys

    1. So glad I’m not alone. My plan is to read those books (the entire series) out loud with my oldest daughter. Well, once I know she will enjoy it. Then it will be like we are all reading them together.

      1. After my son Ezekiel passed at only 3 days old I sometimes take his ashes out of the box and hold them. It reminds me that he was here with me at one point

  2. You are not alone x I do a lot of those things in your list since we lost our 20yr old son Jacob in Oct 2015 after a short battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma. We’ve got plenty of grief rituals that we do to keep his spirit & memory alive in our everyday existence. Just do what feels right ❤

    1. Such great advice. I’ve definitely found that each person has their own grief journey and you just have to do what is right for you. Sending hugs your way!!

  3. First, I am just so very sorry for your loss. I lost my son a year ago and my Mother passed away the next day. Right before the funeral two huge rainbows, one above the other appeared. I felt my Son and Mother . I still get so emotional seeing a double rainbow. A doctor told us that it was no accident that they were together in heaven. It gives me comfort along with some of your list.
    I suppose it gets easier. I can think of things now without my stomach turning over. Thank You for the list. ?

    1. It is never easy to lose a child (or a parent). So close together…makes my heart break for you. That double rainbow was meant for you. A sign from them they are together. I am a big believer in signs. Hang in there. We are just past our year mark as well. I guess it has gotten easier, but it makes me angry to even think that. It will never be easy! Maybe it’s just more that you learn how to separate it so you don’t feel it so much. That’s more accurate for how it feels (to me anyway). I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. Lots of hugs and love your way.

  4. Emily, I could have written your list, I know it by heart. I do all of the above and more. As with your rain I am the wind. When it blows, whichever way it is blowing I turn my face in that direction so that I can feel my son brushing me with “his” wind. I feed the cardinals and the bluejays and especially the mourning doves in our yard because I’ve convinced myself they are there to tell me his journey, his flight, is soft like their feathers and sweet as their songs. Barnes and Nobel has become my safe heaven. We loved meeting at the library on the lake, a place we sat together via phone and had lunch or discussed the latest paper he was writing, or studied together for his next exam. I can no longer visit there but the book store has taken it’s place. When I crave his intellect I get a coffee, a book and find one of their comfy chairs to settle in and think, cry, read. No you are not crazy, I am not crazy. We are bereaved mothers. As always thank you for sharing.
    Kathleen Damian’s Mom

    1. I love this. Beautiful words! I’m sure every time you visit Barnes and Noble he is there beside you. Much love!

  5. We lost our 14 yr old in August of this yr. I have set up an email and a text number so I can text him and email him. I sleep with the white teady they gave us from the children’s hospital. I really deal with needing extra love from my husband and he doesn’t under stand. My son was a big boy but he was so thankful and loving with his momma. It was like he was always 7. I’m so tired of people commenting….
    It will be okay…
    Everything will work out..
    ECT ECT it has taught me to deal with it from within. That makes it harder.

    1. It is hard when you don’t have people around that get it and support you the way you need to be supported. If you haven’t found other bereaved mothers yet…I recommend it. You are not alone. It will never be OK that your son is gone! Yes, life goes on and you will survive this. It’s because there really isn’t much choice. That doesn’t mean everything works out…things keep moving forward but there will always be a hole and you will always feel something is missing even when it’s good. That’s just the reality that people don’t understand unless they have lost a child. Sending hugs. ~Emily

  6. I lost my son 11/15/17 he was killed in work truck century construction. He was only 29. I buried him next to my grandmother and my mother. Graveyard is only few blocks from house, I go there most everyday and talk to him , I cry most everyday over him. I have another son still at home and he’s 13. I know I’m spending to much time thinking of John and talking bout him , I can’t seem to let him go, I can’t seem to except his death, I feel empty without him , even though he had a family of his own I want him to be here with me , I feel like I’m being selfish because if his spirit is still on this earth he would be watching over his children, not here with me , I also beg god for signs from him , and have had some in big way but it’s never enough. I have to continue my routine with my other son and I carry him to school, I didn’t realize till my husband brought it to my attention tht I was constantly talking about Johnboy and he felt like my other son may feel neglected. Tht he’s still here and I talk about his brother all the time , so I had friends pray for me and for peace in all these months I’ve suffered and this morning I actually felt calm for first time in months. I have to think of my other son to and stop dwelling on Johnboy’s death constantly, but it’s hardest thing I could ever do is tell him goodbye. I always go to graveyard and talk to him and I always say I’ll see you later baby. I cannot say goodbye. It’s like I think his comein home tomorrow. But I know he’ll never come home.

    1. I too crave signs and refuse to let go. I don’t think you have to let go. It’s important to still talk about him and keep his memory alive. It is also important to find a way to continue on. I always tell myself my son would want to see me living the way I did when he was here…he would want us happy. While I will never be as happy as I was when I had all of my children here, I try to make my goal to get as close as I can. Even though your son is watching over his own children, I know he is equally watching over you. The mother/son bond is so incredibly special and strong! Hugs!

  7. I have a cell phone number that I still pay on because it’s the number my daughter knew and she doesn’t know my new number. Crazy, huh…. I still add things to her Amazon shopping list and her shared Pinterest board. Sometimes I pick up her old teddy bear and blanket (that she still had at 22 when she died) and smell them.
    I get these. All of them.
    I wish none of us did.

    1. I paid to keep my son’s cell phone activated for 3 years. I would call just to hear him. I recorded his message and finally stopped paying the bill.

  8. I’m a mom who lost her son 7 months ago to suicide. He suffered from anxiety and depression. My son Nick had a clothing coming and with the proceeds he donated to mental health. It’s my calling now to continue his legacy. I feel like the only reason I get up in the morning is because my son Nick is getting me up and helping me bring awareness to mental health and help our youth. I will say it gives me great comfort knowing that Nick is moving mountains through me. It’s also bittersweet because I wasn’t able to save him. We were so close. He was only 17. I sleep in his bed every night. My husband is great and super supportive, but I do feel guilt. He reinforces that it’s ok. I talk to Nick all day long and feel his presence. The loss of Nick has brought me even closer to God. The hardest thing for me is excepting a life without my son. Knowing that I have to live the rest of my life without him sends me into a panic. I have another son that is amazing as well. He is only 14. I’m thankful that I have an amazing family!!! It’s just nothing seems the same without our Nick. It’s a new normal that will never be normal.

  9. I lost both my sons, one 9 months after the other. Zach was 20 and Alex was 16. I still kiss them goodnight every night. Their ashes are in the center of living room. With 2 battery operated candles…one of the boys was afraid of the dark for so long.

  10. I lost my soul mate on 9 May 2015 at 4pm, She was the one I truly loved, the one that made my life complete. I think of her every day, I have never been able to grieve. She left me while in a coma, I miss her lovely smile and happy laugh. I stare at photos of her and us and kiss them to comfort and make feel better. I think of the happy holidays we shared in our caravan at the sea, walking together on the sand and genuine pride and surprise and congratulations when I brought a couple of fish I had caught. Sitting together in our tent enjoying each others company. Where is my babe I miss her so. Living alone without her is really breaking me up. God bless her. She will be loved forever.

  11. I just lost my son on 7-3-2019,he was 28 and had an identical twin. My two youngest twin sons are off to college and I am falling apart. How do I go on? I am falling apart!

  12. I send my heartfelt condolences to each of you with love and light. I too have loss a son and my mother and those are two very very hard pills to swallow it’s been 12 years since my son passed he was murdered by a bullet that was meant for someone else but of course bullets have no names on them, and it’s been 3 years since my mom passed she was hit by a car. I to find myself talking to my son often or his picture. I was blessed once have a hug from him it felt so real I’ve had a few dreams of him but that hug was everything! My son was an organ donor
    He was able to help 6 people and although it hurt me to the core to not not have my so
    I felt proud knowing he was able to help others live. It’s Bitter sweet. My son also left behind 3 beautiful children. And I know he’s watching over us and helping us out here and there he and my mom. And although my balance is still a little off and that hole in my heart will never be filled I’ve made one of my life goals to turn my heart into helping others that I walking in my shoes and experiencing my pain. May God bless and keep you and remember when there seems to be no choice at all faith it’s always the only choice.

  13. God bless you all that are grieving the loss of our children. My 23 year old daughter was killed in a head-on collision April 14, 2019. I don’t know if I will survive this. Please pray for me as I will certainly be praying for all of you. I do all of the things on the list. And my daughter is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. God bless you all

  14. I am a bereavement coordinator at a local hospice. I have a mother who attends my support group and is having an extremely hard time…I keep telling her it’s only been 4 months but she’s experiencing those ripple effects of others moving away from her so she feels so alone. I thought maybe I could join your page and then share the information with her. If that’s ok.

    Thank you,

  15. Yes. I lost my son two days after his 16 birthday. He went swimming with his aunt and the undertow drowned my son. That was June 19, 2019. I’ve completely lost my purpose in life. He was the light, the laughter, the love of my life. Im so lost witjout him.. Yes I have rituals that I do. I know I don’t like some of the people that I used to consider friends. The ones that act like literally nothing happened. I have a very short wick when it comes to people who are crying over the most absurd things, like the DMV.(ok, it can be frustrating) but come on. Or the ridiculous arguments over things that have little relevance to the bigger picture. I don’t know what Im going to do. My mom passed away in 2013 and that was difficult, but this loss adds a whole new meaning to bereavement. I have no other living relatives. I get to hear about everyone elses children or grandchildren which I can only thinknthat I will not have. My sons favorite quote was. “Don’t die with dreams die with memories.” My dreams died with my son. I have a huge glass jar that is filled with his little knick knacks and notes that people wrote to him at his Celebration of Life and when I come across an item I bought him , I write about it and put in the jar. Now to find someone who will make sure that those memories are in my pockets when I die. I too am not afraid of death. I am waiting for that day. I find myself obssessed with anything hsving to do with “what happens when we die” or the spiritual realm or putting his picture up for mediums to comment on. Also, I have his phone and any videos of him I screen shot the heck out of it so that I have more pictures of him. Ive read all of his txt messages with his girlfriend and his friends, thank God they are so understanding. I wear his clothes, I spray his cologne to just smell his scent. I play his games on his phone. The craziest thing that I have is a small almost heart shape piece of bone that was in his ashes, because I was putting some in a small bottle for his aunt. And I rub it all the time and hold it all the time. I cry for him and I cry for myself. I’m still making sure that something goes in the yearbook this year about Devin. The principal will hold a seat open at graduation for him. I’m getting a parking spot for him and his friends to paint and park in, Im also going to put his baby picture in the yearbook bext year and get a page where you would normally be wishing your child the best on their next journey in life, but I will be writing something different. I’m mostly afraid of people forgetting my beautiful soul of a son that I was so very blessed with. My heart is foever broken until God willing I see him in heaven. Thank you. Anja

  16. Hello,
    My 15 year old son passed away on 12/24/2019. I feel like apart of me left this earth. My heart hurts so bad, he had such a bright future ahead of him. He was an honor roll student and had big dreams. I still have a 13 year old son but it is truly tuff. Knowing they did almost everything together. This hurt and void will always be in my heart. With his 16 birthday slowly approaching makes things even harder. Then you begin to think about all the things that he could of done, like drive, get his first job etc. I just pray and hope that god gives me the strength to stay strong. I saw someone else posted about possible seeing shadows or knowing there child was around. This weekend I was in a shopping center and my youngest son and I saw a boy from the back that looked just like him. Once I turned the car around to look again he was gone almost like he had vanished. I thank you all for allowing stories vent 🙂

  17. My son’s been gone 5 years in July. He always had the smelliest feet and I put the worst smelling ones in a ziplock after he passed. Every now and then I open them up just to smell them. I think we all do a few “crazy” things now lol

  18. I do all of those things. I feel like people think I’m crazy when I tell them things that happen to me but I know they are real. Thank you so much for making me feel normal.

  19. My darling brother and only sibling died four months ago aged 38 sudden & unexpected heart attack 26th July 2020, Ireland
    My family already separated ( mum n dad divorced many years ago) has fallen apart much more. I look for signs all the time, I ask for them I seek them. I wear his clothes I talk to him .. in a world that’s up aside down with Covid etc I’m lost, I’m not at anger I’ve no feelings at all. I feel like I’m watching life happen around me. I find myself in places not even sure how I got there. The dark
    Sadness. They wanting one more hour with him just to sit and talk I’ve so much to tell him, most of all .. I’m sorry. For being the torn in his side but to let him know I felt I had push him to keep him on the right track. He was my one in a million .. I’ve this awful reminding thought always that I could fly across the Atlantic, across all the oceans & lands I could fly from the north pole to the South Pole and still not find him or see his face x
    Lost in my parents sadness and getting the brunt of all their grieving.
    I hope someday I’ll smile when I here his name instead of cry
    His name was Ciaran & he is my younger brother xx

  20. Hi I do not think those things are crazy at all. They sound normal to me. I just lost my son on oct 10 2020 and he was my world. He died in a motorcycle wreck. He was only 26. He had just told me that Monday that that would be the way he went and it happened on a Saturday the same exact week. I feel broken and so lost. I do not know how I am going to make it without him. He was my person. I’m trying very hard because I have a daughter that is 24 and I know she needs me but I am struggling so much. I don’t eat and I can’t sleep I have not even been able to order his urn yet I have him in the black box that he came home from the funeral home in with the beenie he was wearing when he had the wreck stretched over it. I was just wanting to let you know your not crazy and I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I could get some signs from him. I miss him terribly. The one thing that may have been a sign but I’m not sure is I did not get to even see him until the Wednesday after the wreck bc it happened in a different county than where we live so I had to wait 5 days to say goodbye to him in person and I was standing there rubbing his checking and telling him how much I loved him and missed him his eyes were not completely closed all the way so it was like he was looking at me and I leaned over and kissed his forehead and when I stood back up and looked down at him there was a tear rolling down his cheek and I wiped it off and told him I loved him. I have never felt pain like this. I do not know what to do or how to deal with it I don’t think it gets better with time I think it gets worse. I am truly sorry for your pain and loss. Sending you prayers and hugs.

  21. I’m so very sorry for all the loss on this page. I’m crying over everyone’s comments. We lost our precious boy in June of 2013. He had a heart defect he had 3 open heart surgeries 1st one at only 11 days old. Then 2 more before the age of 2. These surgeries weren’t gonna save his life they were just giving us time. I don’t think we understood that at the time. But we had 18 great years with him and are so very grateful we had that much time. He was a great kid! Sweet, loving, kind. Everything I would want in a man. That was my boy. I have done most things on the list and other “weird” things. I go through all his cards from the funeral and see the things people said about him. I go through his phone and remember all his friends texting that we had to tell he had passed away. It hurts so much to do so but it’s like I can’t help myself. I’ve smelled pickles ( anyone who really knew him knew how much he LOVED pickles. He passed in our old home & when we moved I was worried he wouldn’t know where we went. Well one day after the move I was having a bad day lots of crying & such then out of the blue I smelled pickles. That’s when I knew he came with me. I ‘ve had several pickle incidents and countless others. I doesn’t happen as often now. Maybe he knows I don’t need him like I did at the beginning. I was as lost as anyone here still am but as time goes on I do believe our grief softens some? At least it has for me. I never thought I would say that.. But that being said I still cry in the mornings & he is still always on my mind. Someone said they don’t fear death now I get that. We have had our biggest fear come to light. There’s not much that scares me now. Take care I hope for peace & calm for all you . 😇💙

  22. I’m also a greiving mother ,we lost our son may 9 th, 2019, it was so fast an very unexpected, I feel like my heart just aches everyday,he left four wonderful Children, I try to be strong for them , it’s certainly a pain you can’t explain, an so many just don’t understand unless they’ve been through it.i pray he is with all of us everyday, I have two other grown children that are just wonderful at supporting me , I wish I could be stronger ,I’m not good at writing words ,I’m so glad I found this site..

  23. I lost my 20 year old on 8-14-19. He battled coloncancer for 3 years. Cancer sucks. I’m so lost without him. I am so sorry to read all these stories. This overwhelming feeling of sadness and having to continue to live without our kids is so hard.

  24. My heart goes out to everyone here, your comments are all, sadly, very relatable.
    My son Rhys was killed in a hit and run in 2019, he was 19 years old, he was my only child. The driver was high on drugs and left the scene. Luckily, he’s been found guilty but he maintained his innocence for 2 years, dragging us through hell and prolonging our agony.
    I’ve seen my son at home, not fully, more of a slight outline of him, in my hallway and moving into the kitchen. The dog even noticed it and was looking at him. I quite often talk to him in my head and out loud if I’m alone. I’ve kept his bedroom window shut so the smell of him doesn’t escape. I also hug his urn and touch his ashes so I can still feel him physically here.
    I’m obsessed with anything Japanese as Rhys wanted to visit that country and was learning the language. I hope to visit some day and to leave some of his ashes there.
    Shopping is hard for me as I see so many things that I think Rhys would’ve liked. If I see anyone who looks like him, I have to fight the overwhelming urge to hug them! I so desperately want to be with my son again, death is something to look forward to now. Not that I would end my life but I wouldn’t care if I died today.
    Mentally and physically I’m exhausted. I think I’ve aged 30 years. The sadness I feel now he’s no longer here is overwhelming on times, he was my favourite person in the world!
    Love to you all 💙

  25. I lost my 24 year old son in a car accident right before Thanksgiving last year. I’m always talking to him and asking for him to send me signs. We were very close and it’s been hard to keep moving for his brother who is two years younger, was his best friend, and is also grieving. I guess I’ve gone a little crazy – when home alone, I go into my angel’s room and play a game of cards with him that our family plays. I even keep score! And, I don’t “let” him win like I did when he was younger. He always wore a baseball cap and every morning and night I kiss his hat like I did when he was still here.

  26. I understand exactly why you do all these things. I talk to my son daily, who was 24 when he died from an auto accident a few days before Thanksgiving, 2020. I also sit in his room and play a game of cards that we like to play. (I even keep score) He gave me a heart necklace his last Christmas, and I kiss it when I’m feeling down. Guess I’m a little crazy – miss him so much!

  27. my daughter12y left us june 2019.i thought i cnt survive without her.but i m living .not like before.life was so beautiful with her.i have truely lost myself.i sit with her grave and asl one thing why she went so soon.when i close my eyes i see her face .she s worried too fr me.wipes my tears and says ididnt leave u.i m here with u all time.
    this thing keeps me strong

  28. I lost my son on August 6 , 2019. The first year i was alone, no one came to see me…i would walk my and say ” Danny was sick and there was nothing I could do!!!” It kept me a little sane… Forward, to 2021, I am a little better and most of my waking thoughts are about him…i keep it to myself as others don’t understand how losing a child changes you. My son was 45 and he lived with me almost all of his life… But I am so grateful for all the years I had him.

  29. I miscarried my son, and I went and bought the hats and security blanket/stuffed sloth I PLANNED on buying him when I was “nesting” haha, I now carry one hat with my in my purse and sleep with the security blanket every night, it’s my own way of still having him

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