Dear Newly Bereaved Self

May 9, 2016

Bridge to TransformationDear Newly Bereaved Self,

If I could, I would reach across time from where I am today and hold you, hug you so tight you would never feel alone or broken or abandoned.

I see you now.

Crying yourself to sleep.
Crying in the shower.
Crying in your car.

Broken and devastated.
Lost in the storm of grief and longing.
Your entire being aching for the baby you cannot hold.

I wish I could tell you that the aching to hold your baby will lessen with time, that the longing you feel for your precious child would get lighter with time.

It doesn’t. At least, not in the way most expect it will.

People will tell you that you are strong. You will want to scream at them that you don’t want to be strong; you just want your baby.

People will tell you that your baby is in a better place now, and that all she ever knew was love. You will want to rage at them that no, her best place was here with you, where you love her with every cell and atom in your being and that she deserved to experience all the beauty and messiness that is life on Earth.

People will tell you to move on and to, “Get back to normal life.” You will want to punch them in the face and scream that life will never be normal again. Life is forever and irrevocably changed and there is no such thing as moving on from this.

People will say and do so many incredibly stupid and insensitive things, because they simply don’t know. They don’t know the depth of this loss. They cannot understand how losing your baby effects and alters every single aspect and facet of your life and being. They may have the best of intentions, but they don’t know.

This is what I want you to remember, my single most important advice from across the expanse of time and space:

Don’t listen to anyone but you.

You are the only one who can do with thing called grief and mothering without your child.

Your heart knows what it needs – to grieve, to heal, to live, to exist in this new life without your child. Other people can’t tell you what you need – though they will try and try again – because they aren’t you and they are not mother to your child.

There is no right or wrong way to do this thing called life after loss. There is only the way that fits for you.

Your child has died. But your relationship with your baby will never, ever die. It lives on and it will live on until the day you leave this earth behind.

Life will shift and change over time.

You will find the beauty in living again.

You will find a sense of purpose and joy again.

You will laugh without guilt, without hesitation, without holding back.

You will rediscover, or rather, recreate a new sense of yourself and she will feel like home again.

Life can and will be good again. Never the same and always missing a vital and essential piece, but good and beautiful and worthwhile again.

Right now, your world is broken to pieces.

Be in the brokenness. Cry. Scream. Rage.

Do whatever you have to do to get to the next moment. And the next. And the next.

And know that I am here, in the life after, where you have created something beautiful out of the broken pieces. Holding the light for you. The love, the hope, the beauty, and the joy.

Your beautiful child has not been forgotten here, in this life after. She is loved and remembered. And your relationship with her is one of love, love that far outweighs the pain.


Your beautiful, broken, yet thriving future self.

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    Emily Long

    Emily Long is the mama of two daughters gone too soon, a Life Archaeologist, coffee shop writer, consumer of bagels and hot cocoa, endless reader, lover of travel, and occasional hermit. Emily is committed to supporting families who experience the death of a child and writes frequently on the topic of pregnancy and infant loss. She speaks nationally advocating for the voice of grieving parents and families. Emily provides local and distance counseling services for grief and loss, trauma, anxiety, and other painful life stuff. In her downtime, you can usually find her in her hermit house re-reading Harry Potter (again).


    • Loni

      May 14, 2016 at 1:59 am

      It has been one month since my little baby boy passed away. He was only 55 days old. The grief is so pressing and heavy some days, I cry for hours. My prayer is that God brings me healing and guidance. Thank you for sharing this letter. You have given me some hope.

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