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.

122 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.

  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

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