Recently, a mother in one of the forums wrote about how she was feeling guilty that her grieving was taking away from her living children. That they were not getting the mother they deserved because she was sad all the time.
Plenty of moms, including me, were there to remind her that these feelings are normal, but I also wanted her to know that they’re actually beneficial:
Your daughter is getting a fabulous mom!
She’s getting a mom who knows the value of remembering a life, even if it was short.
She’s getting a mom who isn’t afraid to show tears and grief and heartache are a normal part of life.
She’s getting a mom who loves her so passionately and completely that you will mourn her sister too.
Related: A Bereaved Mother’s Love
As any mother of two or more children, living or dead, will tell you: You don’t stop loving your firstborn when the second comes along. Your daughter is learning that there’s more than enough room in your heart to love them both.
Your daughter, by seeing your grief, will grow up to be kind and compassionate and caring through your example.
Your daughter will be the first on the playground to give hugs when another child is crying, instead of pointing and staring and feeling awkward.
Your daughter will become the friend we all want when we go through hard times because you are teaching her that the horrible things in life will bring us to our knees but will not break us.
Sometimes it feels when we’re grieving, that we aren’t our best selves. And we’re not. But no one is that way all the time. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. There’s no set time for these emotions.
It is okay and normal and healthy to feel sadness many times throughout your life. Your living children can see you come through these emotions. They can learn from your example.
Every year, I see the new nursing students during their first week of class. I love seeing their faces full of excitement as they make those first steps into a new profession. I ask them why they decided to become a nurse.
So many of them answer: “My mom. She’s my motivation.”
Image from Angy DS on flickr.com used under Creative Commons License
Amanda Ross-White is the proud mother of four beautiful children, including her twin boys Nate and Sam, who were stillborn in 2007. She is eternally grateful to watch her rainbow children, daughter Rebecca and son Alex, grow around her. She is also the author of Joy at the End of the Rainbow: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Loss, which won second place in the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Awards (Consumer Health).