An Open Letter To Newly Bereaved Parents

Dear Newly Bereaved,

I remember standing where you are. The world feels different. A vast emptiness closes in around your heart as you wrangle with the idea that your child is no longer a part of this world. Your world, broken. The last image of them burning in your mind because there will be no more. Don’t focus too long on the idea that it’s over. It will crush your soul and pull the breath from your lungs. Forever has new meaning. Torture.

How do I keep going? I can’t imagine my life without them.

Life is so unfair. You will realize that statement never held meaning until now. I don’t want to do this! I hate this! There is so much anger! The situation feels impossible. There is not enough hate for the life you have been thrust into without a single say. Everything around you seems to be spiraling. As it turns out, control is only an illusion. We don’t have any.

The mere mention of a death will always have the ability to transport you back to this moment. It will always be raw. These images haunt you right now. They replay over and over as your brain tries to make sense of it all. There is no sense to be made.

A heart cannot begin to process this level of pain. Very few people will be able to support you through this kind of pain. Believe me when I say it is not you! It’s them. You will learn that unless someone has experienced deep loss like this, they cannot begin to understand what you now know. You may be surprised to find the best support comes from total strangers. The people you expected would always be there in your lowest moments seem to disappear or be unaware of what to do.

Know that you are not alone, though it will feel that way. Grief is a very solo journey. Every one will experience it differently. What you feel is normal! It’s important for you to know that. So please do not compare your grief to anyone else. You will question whether or not you are crazy. You are not. Just do whatever feels right to you in the moment.

The struggle to find yourself again is real. It’s been 18 months and I am no closer. Be patient and kind with yourself. So much of your experience will define you. This grief journey is all about you. Find people that can support you in the ways you need. There will be casualties. Accept it.

It sucks being a member of this club. None of us ever expected to join. While every parent thinks about what it may feel like to lose a child, no one ever believes it can really happen. Unfortunately, it does. The reality of it never sinks in. What you do need to remember is your child is still with you. They are standing on the sidelines supporting you, cheering you on. They know how difficult this journey is for you. Keep going!

Much love! XO

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32 Comments on “An Open Letter To Newly Bereaved Parents”

  1. Well said, all true..Not enough hate for the life we have been thrust into without a say. But we must release the hate or be swallowed up. A very difficult thing to do, but vital to survival.

    1. So true! The anger and hate can drag us down. It takes time to learn how to balance it with living and finding joy again. XO

  2. AMAZING & PERFECT! I enjoy your blog, it is definitely helping me with the loss of our newborn son last Christmas Eve! I used to have so much control & balance in my life, work, home etc…now that im grieving, the depression and constant thinking of my son blocks out everything else and makes it hard for me to focus! IT”S SO HARD for me to focus on other things i HAVE to do in life right now when it used to be so easy! This blog is a complete inspiration to me and others! i enjoy reading everything you write about knowing, someone else knows what i am going thru!

    1. Thanks for reading! Focus was a huge issue for me the entire first year. Not that it has gone away, but I believe we are forever changed. Much love to you Megan. I will think of you guys each Christmas as we also mourn our son.

    1. My son passed away last Sunday night. 8/11/20. He was just 32 years old. We are all devastated. I miss him so much its just too sad.

  3. Extremely good to read n relate…people say it’s a year..should be doing better and a part of you wonders if they are right n da other part wishes to slap them.i lost my 2 kids last year and it feels like yesterday

  4. My older brother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on March 10 2019. He was 38yrs and 5months old. It’s been alittle over 2months and It’s my mom’s birthday today. Our first Easter and mother’s day without him was really hard. It’s been so surreal. Sometimes it’d like i forget he’s gone. Even though we saw him shortly after he had passed at the hospital and again before his cremation. We know it in our heads but it doesn’t feel real. I’m “handling” thing as best i can but i try not to let it effect me in front of my mom. No-one is struggling more than her and i just want to try and lighten the load. I try to be positive…optimistic. Remembering he’s not in pain or suffering, he’s at peace and surrounded by loved ones. He’s keeping an eye on all of us and is watching over Ali (his 6yr old daughter and spitting image)…
    Special times are coming up and i’m not sure how to approach them while we’re still grieving. I know this kind of pain and loss is never going to go away but i’m hoping with time it will change and not be so all consuming and overwhelming. It’s like being on the longest biggest roller coaster and not being able to see the dips, drops, turns and change in direction til it’s already started happening.
    I don’t know what to say to her. Today is a special day for us to celebrate her. I plan on keepin it low-key and making a special dinner. I made her a hummingbird cake and might have my godson come by to sing and have cake. I always have trouble finding a card that doesn’t feel generic or say what i’m feeling but this yr is especially difficult. I just don’t know what to say. I don’t want to upset her. I don’t want to make anything any harder then it already is.
    I know this is short notice for today but any help with how to handle tough times and special events would be greatly appreciated

  5. I lost my beautiful 23 year old son Micheal😢 December 16th, 2018. The worst day of my life. He had overdosed twice in one week, and also had pneumonia, which we weren’t aware of until we received the coroners report. The night he came home from the hospital, he refuses treatment, he ended up taking a Xanax, another thing we didn’t know, he didn’t wake up in the morning. We are so devastated and life isn’t the same without our kind hearted, beautiful son. He had struggled so much that year with addiction and we stepped in and had an intervention, but he refused all help. I love and miss him so much. So hurt😭😭

    1. I lost my 26 year old son to an accidental overdose on September 6, 2018. I struggle every day. My life will never be the same. He was a very loving young man. Never married with no children…. I miss him so very much.

  6. Beautifully written. I know two mothers who have found connection and comfort with your words. Thank you for helping them.

  7. I’m trying to cope with the loss of my foster daughter, and help her bio mom go through this grief at the same time. She lost her two babies in a fire. I got to hold her and cry with her today.

  8. It has been over 20 years and I still have my days. One thing to remember, even if your grief is not new, people mean well. Your closest friends and family don’t know what to say and some of their comments will be very hurtful. Forgive them and try to remember they are trying. The do not understand. Acquaintances may come forward and provide the support you need. Accept it gratefully. Support groups can be helpful, these folks have been there, but your grief will be different too. In the end, cling to the loved ones you have left. They won’t fill the hole in your heart, but they will help make the hole a little smaller.

  9. I lost my baby boy of 33 on may 20,2020. He hung himself in the garage. My husband and I found him and cut him down I did cpr till the paramedics arrived. He was on life support for 7 days before we let him go. He left behind two little boys 11 and 2. I can’t face the pain of losing him. I go through the momtions daily. You know work and home life. I don’t understand how he could leave us like this. I miss his face his voice and his daily texts saying how’s your day mom and I love you

    1. I lost my 11 year old daughter on June 8, 2020. it’s the worst nightmare I could ever imagine. I am completely numb after being hysterical for 9 months, the reality is too much. I’m sorry you are walking this journey.

  10. I lost my beautiful son 13 months ago due to a drug overdose. It is the hardest thing I will ever face in my life. He was such a beautiful person and has a twin brother. Along with everything I have had to help his twin have a birthday on his own. This past year has been overwhelming, with Nicholas gone , COVD and then a few weeks ago my husband was terminated from his job . I went back to work as a front line worker after four months of his death. I know my son is with me and would be devastated if his death swallowed me up so that keeps me going. Thank you for saying it has been 18 months and you are still struggling. I had a medical student tell me it has been a year and I should be feeling better. She had me thinking there is something wrong with me. Your words helped a lot

    1. Linda, I lost my daughter on October 19,2015. She was 36 years old, she left 3 daughters at the time they oldest was 17 and her twins were 13, please don’t let anyone tell you when your grief should end. It’s been 5 years and it seems like yesterday. I go through the motions daily. But I am broken, I will never be the same, it this is a normal feeling when you loose a child of any age.
      Remember the beauty your child brought into your life, I will keep you in my prayers.


  11. I lost my son on 4/27/17. He had just turned 19. He overdosed on straight Fentanyl, that his friends gave him, a death sentence. I still am like stuck, I go through the motions that are required to get through my day, work home ect. I still can’t talk about my sweet Shawn without totally losing it. I stuff the feelings so I don’t feel. I wonder if it will ever get better or at least bareable. Your letter was very nice and inspirational. I truly hope we all find some sort of peace, even if it is in our own way.

    1. I know your pain my sun hung himself he was 19 years old it been a struggle we miss him so much my life changed . The pain when I gave birth to him was hard but when I saw his cute face it went away . Now this pain of losing him it’s a pain that I will live with the rest of my life it’s a pain nobody knows until you go through it it’s sad so many questions and no answers

  12. I lost my 30 year old Daughter on 12/7/2020. She was a single mom of 2. We are now raising the children. I feel like I’m in a pit of hell. Her loss has consumed me. I wonder if I will ever feel happiness again.

    1. That is how I feel as well, her loss has consumed me. My daughter was 11 almost 12. it has shattered us to our core. 9omths into this nightmare and it feels like yesterday.

  13. I lost my son on a day that is forever burned in my soul, 5/23/20. I hate that date. I now thing of things before or after that date.

    I know for a fact that he doesn’t want me being sad because it makes him sad. He was my Indigo Child-sadly not meant for this world. I struggle to think of a future that will
    Never be. He was a fiancé to a beautiful girl and left behind his now 3 year old and a 6 month old he never met. He left behind his only sibling, a sister, who is struggling to see her life without her brother . He never knew how much of an impact he left on so many lives of those who loved him. He knows now, though.

    I talk to him everyday, throughout the day. I wait for signs from him and wait to dream about him and get that hug he was notorious for.

    Alex’s mom
    Sunrise: 6/9/91-Sunset: 5/23/20

  14. I lost my daughter 37 years old on Jan 31,2021. She overdosed. We were always so close, like two peas in a pod, she was my mini-me!! but the last three years were horrible, we were constantly fighting, she wasn’t going to work, she was in pain physically and mentally she suffered from arthritis. She let it consume her. Now that she is gone, I am trying to forget the last three years and remember all the great times we used to have. I am trying to remember the good times but it is hard, it’s only been 2 months but I can’t get past the last three years. I am still so mad at her, but in the next breathe I love her and miss her so much. She lived in the bsmt appt, so I do go down there and sit on her couch and just sit there , listening to music that reminds me of her, looking at photos. Just so sad, but the last week she was alive, we didn’t fight, I actually hugged and kissed her and I just keep focusing on that!! Thanks for listening!!

  15. I lost my 16yr old daughter 7months ago by a drunk driver. My whole life has changed and I don’t know what to do anymore.

  16. We lost our 36 year old son on 3/24/21. The pain is greater than anything we have ever been through. It’s hard to move forward knowing he’s not going to be there. He was a very bright caring person and I miss him so much.

  17. I’m so glad I found your letter on Pinterest it has helped me. My son went to be with the Lord on January 27th 2020 he had a massive asthma attack he was 30 years old. I feel like it’s a waiting game I wait for him to come home, I wait to hear his voice, I wait to hear his laugh ,I want to see his beautiful face come through my door but God gives me bits of Joy everyday to lift my heart. I know he’s in heaven and he’s doing great and he can breathe so much better now and his soul is well. I miss him more than words can say💔💗

  18. My name is Jo I just lost my 24 daughter this past dec on my bday her boyfriend killed her and killed himself i miss her so much I can’t see how am I supposed to live life with this much pain how am I supposed to just go on and live the rest of my days with this torture

  19. My son passed away on 3-3-21. He was 51 years old and died of metastatic brain cancer. It was unexpected and devastating. His father and I had to make the difficult decision to let him go. It happened so fast. I don’t know how to live this life because nothing is the same. Your words help give me clarity and validates my pain. Thank you for sharing.

  20. I finally found something that relates to me and my family. My Son passed December 30th, 2020 He was 32 . I think about him day and night. We Miss him terribly. It true even my best friend I thought would be there more for me was not. Now I feel hesitant to talk abou my Son to her cause I feel she might think oh no not again. This might not be the case but this is how I feel. No one knows until it happens to them. His Birthday is coming up , We are celebrating his life . I already know how hard this will be.

  21. Hello my name is Jay. A relative sent me this site. I just lost my 22 year old son on 11/05/21. I have a completely empty and broken heart, I shed tears but haven’t completely broken down yet, I wonder too what is wrong with me, I can’t get to that release of emotion, wish I could but after all I’ve been through and now this I just don’t know. I lost my best buddy, he took his life. I have no answers, just emptiness and sorrow. The only thing that gives comfort is I believe he is with GOD, and although he’s gone he’s probably doing a lot better than me. I seen a lot of replies from Mom’s and I’m sorry about all of your losses, but it hurts us Dad’s too. God bless all of you. Thanks Emily for this site.

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