God Wins…but can I ?

A Mother's Journey

Losing a child is not like . . .


A daughter or son dying is NOT similar to:

. . .  a child leaving for college.

. . . a child running away.

. . . a child moving far away.

. . . a parent’s failing health.

. . . a parent or spouse dying.

. . . a spouse cheating.

. . . a marriage ending.

. . . a severe medical diagnosis.

. . . a dog, cat or other pet dying.

. . . a friendship or job ending.

These life events are all hurtful, tragic, sad and life-altering.

Yet, a child dying is NOTHING like any of these losses.

While each of them is heartbreaking, there is NOTHING similar to standing at a gravesite and watching your child lowered into the ground.

Many people cannot comprehend the magnitude of losing a child. The reality is that unless you have walked this path, you will never understand. And that’s ok. We bereaved parents are glad that you can’t understand it. We wouldn’t wish losing a child on anyone.

I have a metaphor that may shed some light: Child loss is similar to living within feet of a bottomless abyss.

I’ve had several of these losses listed above. For me, these endings felt similar to jumping off a high dive into the deep end of a pool. It was heart-pounding scary, anxiety producing and surreal. Yet, I swam to where my toes could touch the bottom. The secure poolside was within sight and strokes away.

Losing my daughter was/is similar to jumping off a boat into the middle of the ocean. I come up for air and the boat speeds away. There is neither a bottom to touch or sides to swim to. The body of water is massive. To not be pulled under, I have to either tread water, float or swim.  I have “helps” such as a life vest, arm floaties or fins. There’s no sense of “a break is coming.” To keep going, my muscles must strengthen. I cannot pretend that I’m in a pool, but I’m facing a dark, subterranean ocean.

So you can see how, similar to a jellyfish sting, hearing “I know how you feel because  . . . ” creates hurt. Unintentionally, this statement doesn’t acknowledge the oceanic depth of our pain.

All this said, please stay the course with grieving parents. Losing a child is not contagious. If you spend time with us, a dark tidal wave will not consume you. Be the life preserver that uplifts your friend – don’t be the boat that pulls away.

Keep in mind that a bereaved parent teaches us about resilience, strength, endurance, devotion, compassion and eternal love. I’m grateful for the grieving parents who have modeled these strengths for me.

Blog_Grief is not like_August 2019

Photo:  Pixabay

As a person of faith, I believe that my daughter Leah and I will spend eternity together. This perspective doesn’t mean that I am free of sadness here and now. After 5 years, I still ache for her presence. I expect to feel the same after 10 or 20 years. The grief waters won’t ever drain because my love for her is everlasting.

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Author: Marie E Guthrie

What can I say about myself? My heart beats fast for my family, friends and calling. Professionally, I have a passion for helping people and organizations tell their stories in a compelling way and I have been doing this fun work my whole career. Never once bored in the marketing and communications profession. Presently, I am providing consulting services to corporate and nonprofit organizations. For seven years, I was the Senior Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Awana. I am dedicated to learning how to better love my family members and friends. I am married to a very special man, Mark. I have two children. Grant in his college years - a treasure. My beautiful daughter Leah is now in heaven. Her 14 month battle with cancer has taken me down a road that I never thought I'd go, but I would do it all again. This blog is dedicated to my brave and faithful daughter. At a young age, I was drawn to the sacrificial love I learned about as I was taught about Christ. My heart since age eight was transformed from total selfishness to a heart that desired to love God and others. This love has driven who I am - far from perfect, but dedicated to the One who loves me more than any human ever could. I have questions for God about the story of my life; I wrestle with Him about losing Leah, but He and I go deep. Still feel His arms around me. We are taking it day by day.

132 thoughts on “Losing a child is not like . . .

  1. Love and prayers to all of us this is a hard path one of the hardest I have ever been on I try and keep the faith to remain strong and use her memories as a guide to life the new life I try to live everyday.. God bless us all in this Journey..

  2. I have many friends that have lost children. I can’t even began to imagine the pain of losing a child . It was never God’s plan for any of us and thank God for Christ and heaven. I’m not sure I could take a step . Earth is really hard my hope for u is to stay in Jesus unending biceps, the only pain relief on earth. My friend Janet, that lost her child ,it took years almost to breath. I know u think and hurt everyday so sorry aren’t even words that r good enough to say!!.May Jesus hold your broken heart and wipe every tear. In Him Beverly.

    • Thank you Beverly for your very kind and sympathetic words of compassion and understanding. It’s a journey no parent ever expects to travel. Extremely heartbreaking. My faith in Christ has made all the difference in my ability to cope with such terrible heartbreak. Your words are beautiful and encouraging. Thank you.

  3. I have said goodbye to 3 sons..I need to be loved .
    My last son has pulled away….he us in pain also.

    If not for God I would of killed myself.

    • Victoria, my heart hurts for you. I am deeply sorry. There are few words that describe the depth of the pain. There is no loss that I’ve experienced that goes so deep to my core. God is the sustainer of our brokenness. So grateful you are here. You are loved. May God give you peace, strength and a strong sense of His love for you.

    • Then where would we be? I only know of 2, Clint and Robert, there was a 3rd Vicki? I have been been under the Radar myself these day’s, No Energy, No Desire, No Love! We are in the same Boat, I need to be LOVED as Well

  4. I lost my only son tragically to a hit & run accident a month ago. Instead of celebrating his junior year of college, we buried him on his 20th birthday. I have been a ball of emotions that include sadness, excessive grief , anger, loneliness and unfortunate thoughts of suicide. If not for prayer and scripture I would not be here. Trusting and praising God is truly the only way to survive. My body is weak but in Him I am strong. Everyday is a struggle… every day missing my baby boy. Thank you for this post.

    • You are so welcome. I am deeply sorry for the tragic loss of your son. My deep sympathies. Grateful that your strength comes from God. I too lean into God and could never do it on my own. Lately, I’ve been focusing on the Resurrection and its deep meaning for us. Not only for eternity, but for the here and now. It hurts so badly that only God brings true comfort. Sending you love.

  5. We lost our beautiful 48 year old son who drowned 20 months ago attempting to save his 2 Labrador retrievers from an icy pond. All three drowned. As you know our world changed and your words touched me. Thank you. Parent survivors of children are in this together.
    Blessings to you

  6. On point! My daughter died from complications from muscular dystrophy 9 1/2 years ago-1 week before her 30th birthday. We do know that we will spend eternity with her; but for now, we miss her greatly! I will pray for you & your family!

  7. This was so on spot. After losing my youngest son and then my oldest daughter 3 years later, I learned life will never be the same. Holidays are the worst and I dread them coming. It’s been 5 years and I don’t believe it will ever change. As much as I love my middle daughter and grandson, my heart grows so heavy as we near the holidays. There’s never a day that I don’t have both on my mind. The loss of both don’t make me fear death. But my faith in God keeps me upright and going. They both would want me to enjoy life. Even knowing that both had diagnoses that would cause their untimely death, it didn’t make me ready to travel this road that no parent ever wants to walk. There is no way to prepare and no way anyone can fathom unless they have lost a child. My prayers are with each as we all walk this road.

    • Cindy, my heart breaks with yours. My deepest sympathies go out to you on the loss of two children. So painful. I agree; holidays are especially hard. It’s like a roller coaster around the holidays. Wishing you peace and comfort this holiday season. Blessings.

  8. Oh my! I so agree with what you say here. I am also so tired. My son passed in May. i get people tell me they “know” how i feel. no, no you do not know how i feel, and i am so grateful that you do not. The loss of a child, no matter how old they were is the absolute worst pain a parent can suffer. I, too, have suffered the loss of all of these others.. brothers, husband, mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins but nothing, NOTHING can compare to the devastation of this. I am not sure why people feel the need to tell me they know? all i really need is for someone to be present, to sit with me. to tell me how much they care. When some one tries to tell me they know how i feel when they have not gone thru this loss, they are really minimizing my loss. That is how it feels anyway. i am aware that maybe they are not trying to do this, but that is what is happening. they are minimizing my loss and making me feel like what i am experiencing is not real, not as bad as as everything that everyone has ever gone thru and not as bad as i think it is. I have to turn and walk away. I am sorry for your loss sweet lady.. So sorry

    • I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your child as well. For me, I agree. Nothing compares to the loss of my daughter. I think people want to be able to empathize and understand our pain. The harsh reality is that unless a person has a lost a child, he or she will never understand. Yes. Sometimes, it is best to turn and walk away. May you have sweet memories of your child. Peace to you.

  9. My husband and I just had the First anniversary of the loss of our daughter as well as having to celebrate her 33rd birthday. We loss her due to an undiagnosed bacterial infection with complications. We are still trying to work through our grief. I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for theses words. ❤️

  10. The change in weather to Fall always brings on the feelings of loss for me. Our daughter Erin died in a car accident on October 23, 1997, and I am surprised that I subconsciously still grieve during this month- it’s been 22 years. However, I am crabby and very short with my family during this month, frustrated that they don’t help out more with fall farm chores or canning, or that they are so busy with their lives that they almost don’t see me. To them most days, I am a cook, a taxi driver, a laundress, a source of money for snacks at the games, and the lack of appreciation stings during this month. I am thankful for the busyness of fall, because it keeps me from dwelling too much on how I miss Erin.

    This year seems especially difficult because my now-oldest daughter graduated and left for college, and I am missing her so much. She was our little miracle baby- born 3 years after Erin’s accident, and she was such an important part of my healing.

    I don’t want to whine on here, and I’m not a crier, so my feelings bottle up and sometimes just can overwhelm me. I am more than blessed and I know that, but my body insists on grieving while my head tells me to Suck it up, Buttercup.

    I really identified with your post. What I find is that most people never bring up our loss, and if it comes up, the subject is changed quickly. Most people aren’t comfortable talking about loss, and I understand that because I also struggle to help others with their losses. Words sometimes just aren’t enough, but it’s always important to just show that you care that they are struggling.

    Thank you so much for this post.

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