In Grief, We are Not Alone

Trigger warning: this post is about child loss.

Let me say that this story is not to take away from the pain that parents feel when they personally lose a child. No one feels the pain like those mothers and fathers. This isn’t supposed to take away from that. However, this is encouragement for all family members to remember that they, too, can grieve the loss. In grief, we are not alone.

In October of 2019, which feels like yesterday, my sweet niece was born into the arms of the Lord. She was unexpectedly stillborn at 34 weeks. She was that sweet little wildflower. She was the first girl of the “cousin crew.” She was the one we all couldn’t wait to meet. She was the one who we thought would change our worlds forever, as every child does.

She changed our worlds, but not the way we thought she would.

I remember so clearly what happened on that day. I remember going to my favorite bakery in the morning with my children and our neighbor. Then, we walked around at a local park. I remember driving home. The sun was so bright on my face. I recall the peace I felt, despite the chaos that was happening in my backseat. When we got home, I tuned in to my favorite Marco Polo conversation: “The Sister Chat”. I remember seeing my sweet little sister’s face and knowing right away that something was wrong.

Then, it was like slow motion.

It came. The news no one ever wants to hear. The news that no parent should ever have to deliver to their family members. My sweet little niece, our sweet little wildflower, in the forever field of Heaven.

I remember going to my neighbor, telling her to watch my boys. I didn’t give her even a second to respond before I took off sprinting down the road. Let me pause to say I am not a runner. I am not even a jogger. I hate running. It makes me feel so weak and slow. But on that day I knew I needed to feel that way. I knew I had no control over what happened, after all, do we ever have control over our losses?

I ran. I ran until I couldn’t breathe.

I fell to my knees, right there in the middle of the road. I sat in the street, on my knees, crying. I cried out. I was pleading for time to roll back. I was pleading for this to be a dream. I was pleading for that sweet little girl to not be gone from this world.

You see, I am a “fixer”, a “problem solver”, or at least I try to be whenever I can. I think most of us moms are that way. I knew I couldn’t fix this. There was nothing that could be done to undo what had just happened to my baby sister. I knew that the journey from here on out was going to be a long run to the finish line of life, where my sister’s sweet little wildflower will be waiting for us.

The next few days were filled with drives to the hospital, phone calls to the funeral home, and a meeting to pick out my niece’s earthly resting spot in the cemetery. What a whirlwind those days were. It almost felt like there was no time to grieve. At least, this is how I personally felt. There was so much planning to be done and so much to try to make as perfect as possible. The loss of a loved one was new to my family, as my niece was the first one.

I took the bull of grief by the horns, clenched it in my fists.

I used it to power through the days until her funeral. There I let my guard down, just a little, by reading a poem I wrote just for my little niece:

Jesus said; “Walk with me.

Let me share your beautiful story.

It’s full of tiny details that matter,

Each just as important as the latter.

I knit you together as perfect as can be,

Hold my hand darling and walk with me.

When the rain falls, that’s your kiss.

When the birds sing, that’s your bliss.

When the wind blows, that’s your embrace.

When the sun shines, that’s your love on their face.

You see, you are everywhere and in everything.

You are in what every day may bring.

Your story is filled with love that does not end.

And your story will allow the broken to mend.

With my deepest love,

Aunt Brittany

After the funeral my “guard” went back up. I told myself that I didn’t have a right to grieve because she was not my child, after all I was just the aunt. I spent weeks, honestly probably months, feeling this way. I allowed myself to hit a deep depression, but told everyone I didn’t know why it was happening. I kept telling myself that if my sister, the mother of my niece, could continue on and power through days because of her faith, then so could I.

But the truth is, I couldn’t.

My faith wavered in those moments of heartache. I missed out on major lessons that my niece’s passing was supposed to teach me: to count on others, to lean on others, to be open about my heartache. Most importantly, I learned to not go this journey alone.

I spent the next couple of months learning those lessons. I spent time watching my little sister be supportive of other parents who lost little loved ones. I watched her grieve on some days and rejoice on others. I listened to her tell people that it’s okay to grieve in your own way, because the loss of a child is not something for which anyone can prepare you.

In her actions and words, I learned so much. I learned that in our losses, we must grieve.

I learned that we all have a right to grieve, that I, too, have a right to grieve. I learned that grieving is how the healing begins, and how we can allow ourselves to start to see those joyous moments again. I learned that through grieving we receive strength. We can use that strength to not only push ourselves through, but to help others run this marathon of life. In grief, we are not alone.

Some days each of us will hit that finish line with a whole village right beside us: holding us up, cheering us on, and loving us through it all.

My niece showed me with her little life, despite it being in womb, that we only have each other to count on, that every day (not just times of loss) we need to count on those around us.

Made by Southern Grit

We are not alone in this journey.

In honor of my niece, there is a “blessings” type Facebook page. I believe that my little niece is up in Heaven reading books nonstop. I also believe that all children should enjoy the adventures and journeys that can be found in books. The page is where people can gift books to others anonymously in her honor, so that children may receive the gift of adventure! It is also a place where I do a virtual “Story Time”. Come join us, share your personal story, share your favorite books, and let your kids join in on some fun adventures through our Story Time!

If you would like to dedicate a space to remember a life, there is a wall dedicated to Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance. Those little lives, however brief, made an impact.

If you would like to add your child to this page in memory, please email the name and date you would like added to [email protected]

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I am first and foremost a woman who is passionate about loving on people where they are. I am also a mother of 2 toddlers who also tries to teach her kiddos about love for others! I currently stay at home but enjoy volunteering as much as possible. I am kept busy every day with all of our pets and my littles running around nonstop. When I have “down time”, you can find me biking, hiking, or snuggling and watching a good TV show (probably enjoying some chocolate). I love being able to raise my babies at home, but I will also be the first to say that this job isn’t easy!



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