Easter: Another Holiday Without My Child
Any way you look at child loss it ends up being the same. It hurts like nothing else in the entire world. We get to the point of where we think we just cannot go on any longer because we miss our child so bad. Others try to help us. They try to do everything in their power to take away our pain, but really there’s nothing that anyone else can do to “fix” this hurt. Child loss is the “unfixable” loss. For many of us, the Easter holiday is one of celebration. It’s a time when a lot of people go to church. This is a time when families get together and enjoy traditions such as coloring eggs, enjoying egg hunts, and having a wonderful family meal together. We build so many precious memories based on these special holiday traditions throughout the years.
When a child dies, part of our heart dies, too. We’re left feeling like we’re floundering through life without any real purpose. The anticipation we had of holidays has gone. We don’t know what to do, or how to get through such times as family gatherings that used to be so much fun.
This will be my first Easter without my oldest son, and my entire family is feeling this pain. We talk daily about Mike and how much we miss him. We cry often — holding onto each other for support when we feel too weak to go on. And, my family, like yours, is left with the question of continuing the same family traditions as we had in the past or creating new ones that still involve the one we love so much but who is no longer here.
What will we do this Easter? We have decided not to have a family egg hunt this year. Instead, we will be spending our time with some friends for that part of the day. We will, however, gather back together later in the day as a family and have a meal together. We feel that’s so important to be there for each other.
Most assuredly, this first year is different in a thousand and one ways. Mike was always the life of the party. We have so many treasured memories of him. Most days we freely and openly talk about him. Some days when the pain overwhelms us, we simply hold onto each other and cry.
Soon after Mike died, I began journaling my thoughts. The grief of child loss isn’t new to me. I lost a son, Samuel, many years ago as an infant. This loss is different, though. Mike was an adult — just forty-two years old and died very unexpectedly of health issues leaving behind a wife he loved with all of his heart along with three beautiful children. With the loss of my infant, there weren’t memories — but there were treasured hopes and dreams of the future. With the loss of Mike, we lost so much of the future, but we do have the blessing of beautiful memories.
Both losses have been heart-shattering.
The journaling that I began following Mike’s death has turned into a book with the help of my youngest daughter, Alex. Together we worked countless hours getting our thoughts down on paper to share with others in hopes of helping. This book, Child Loss: The Heartbreak and the Hope , is not my personal journey of grief, but it is a book about the journey of grief we each share.
It is my prayer that you will get a copy and read the words. Meditate on the words in this book. Allow this book to help you through the very difficult, painful days that we experience when we’ve lost a child.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, too, on how you’re getting through this holiday. Do you do things differently now that your child is gone? How have you included your child into your holiday? I know my family will be telling stories — lots of funny stories of past Easter holidays with Mike. We always hid a $5 egg, and without doubt, there were always tears shed when this special egg was found because somehow Mike managed to know just where that egg was hidden!
My special love goes out to each one. We’re part of a family (I’m not so sure I like to use the word “club” as some do) — and we’re here to love and support one another.
I hope and pray that my brief words here offer some kind of help, and I pray that the words in the book Child Loss: The Heartbreak and the Hope will help you as the very words written in the book are helping me.
You have voiced the feelings of so many mothers and families, ours being one. Like you we too lost our older child. It will be two years soon, but the year it happened was on Palm Sunday. So Easter is not and never will be the same. But, no day will be the same. Much love to you and yours in this Easter season.
Our son passed away on Palm Sunday one year ago and laid to rest on Good Friday. It feels as though our loss is two fold, that being the actual date of his death and Holy Week which is different each season.
Your words are so true. I lost my son he was 23 and had 2 small children 2 and 3. I was a mess for a very long time I was lost. The best way I could explain that part of my heart was taken and that will never heal. It has been almost 13 years but the pain never goes away. I will never be the same person I was. They say time heals, I say it gets a little easier but I speak of him often. I talk to his children I know they were to young to really remember him but with us constantly talking of him I feel like they know him. Holidays are very hard but he loved the holidays so we have continued most of the traditions because I know that is what he wanted. It was definitely not the easiest thing. I also know everyone grieves differently. I did some volunteer work for a few years because I know the group was trying to make a difference and reach out. My son committed suicide. I also know that it doesn’t matter how we lose our child they are still gone. The pain is always with us.
Thank you so much for sharing your feelings of love, loss and fear. I will take these with me to an easter I do not want to participate in having just lost my 26 year old son 2 months ago. Again thank you for sharing and I will be looking for your book as soon as I think I can handle it. ♡
We’re often left feeling so confused and full of pain following the loss of a child. You’ve just been through a major trauma in your life — and I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your son. Life can be hard, and sometimes it’s cruel. Please know that I’m thinking of you. And, when you feel up to it, I do believe the book will help you. The purpose of the book is to lead those of us who have experienced the ultimate loss to a place of hope within our brokenness. My special love to you. Keep reminding yourself that grief is a daily journey, and this journey is one that lasts a lifetime. Thoughts and prayers are being sent your way.
We lost our 30 year old son a month ago tomorrow, he was murdered in our home and after taking his 8 yr old son to school I was the one that found him lifeless on our kitchen floor with a gunshot to his head. Monday would have been his birthday. The pain is indescribable, We are expected to attend my families for the weekend but being totally honest, I’m not sure I can do it. I feel so vulnerable,raw and exposed. I’m a tough Ole gal but this is destroying me and my husband.Our sons young son is coping amazingly well, wish I could feel the peace that he feels, would give anything in the world to feel his peace. God bless you and thank you for you insirational words.
Mealanie, I am so very sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your son. I don’t care how tough you are, you’ve been through a horrific trauma and you need to take time to feel the pain of your loss and learn how to live within this new world of brokenness. I hope that you don’t try to be tough for others just for the sake of being tough. I did that when my first son died, and it backfired on me. I ended up with anxiety, high blood pressure, and panic attacks for a long, long time. This is a journey — a very difficult journey of loss. Take all the time you need……….each day will bring its fair share of new grief. My special thoughts are with you. Again, I’m so sorry for the loss of your son.
Clara, thank you so much. your words have gotten me thru many days in the past 15 months since my beautiful granddaughter, Amber, died. the memories help so much. this year, as last, we are coloring eggs with her little brother. i like to think Amber and Mike will have Easter with Jesus this year. and your infant too. Mike is probably holding him. again, thank you for sharing your journey. it’s a hard road we walk. vk
Verla, Thank YOU for your beautiful thoughts. I’m sure — absolutely sure — that Mike is making certain that everyone in heaven is having a very good time — including your beautiful Amber. My love to you. And, yes, this is a very hard walk. Even though I know Mike is alright, it still isn’t the same without him being here, and I’m sure you feel the same about your granddaughter.
Every word you write helps me on this devastating journey, I wish I had the family support you talk about, my family have been getting on with their own lives while I’m left drowning in grief.
Oh how I long for someone to talk & mention her name.
Thank you so much for helping me cope.
Patricia, I’m so very sorry. Sometimes I get so sad for people who have little to no support. It’s hard enough to lose a child, but to lose a child without having ongoing support is heartbreaking. You can mention your child’s name here any time you want. I’d love to hear her name. I’d love to hear about her. I know this community of friends will listen.
I had no idea when my son passed away there were so many people just like us out there. I have great family and friends
You don’t have to go thru this alone. We are here. I know I am here. I know how much it helps. I miss my son terribly. I know you miss your daughter terribly too. I am here for you too.
Your letter id eloquent it is so hard to write between the tears. I lost my 31 year old son almost 9 years ago, I’m sorry to tell you I also thought the first year of everything would be the worse only to learn each year becomes worse because reality sets in you know hes not going to walk through the door ever again. Mt son and daughter and his niece and nephews talk about him daily he was single and was the fun uncle. He would take them with him play with them they miss him still! The pain is always there but it has begun to get a little dull but I know I will live with it until we are together again. My husband 0f 43 years died 3 years after my son, so I have a double loss. I thank God daily for my son and daughter I still have and my grandchildren! Mat God Bless you!
Gail, It’s almost as though I can feel your pain as I read your words. I’m so, so sorry for the loss of your son and then your husband. Life changes so much following the loss of a child. And, now you have also lost your soul mate — please take care of yourself, and continue to seek support. I think the grief overtakes us when we feel alone and isolated. Please continue to visit here often. I’m so very glad that you still have a loving family!
If it hasn’t been for you. I would have given up and because I was going to take my on life.all I do is cry everyday.I died the morning my son Christopher did my life is over.24 years ago I had my first baby girl Candace and then 2 years later I had a set of twins Kayla and Kristy well they had to do surgery on my baby girl Kristy she didn’t make it she was 6 months old.Every time I looked at her sister Kayla I miss her even more because I seen her sister Kristy I have not stop Grieving.and the tears never stop falling down my face. And then I had my son Christopher Jr write were so close.In 2015 November 3 days before thanksgiving. I went into his room to shut his window cuz I said my baby is cool I tried and tried to wake up my son Christopher he was so cold and that morning I died with him I will never be the same everybody’s life kept on going but mind just stop.he was only 20 years old he could not wait till he birthday in march 17 to turn 21.he was my baby boy.we were so close he always was mama’s little boy.when he died all of my side of family came that day after he was laid to rest . they act like it didn’t matter. So only family I have left is my husband Chris and my two girls Candice and Kayla and my grain kid’s they keep telling me I have to be strong.But I not strong any more.I’m so tired god I am so tired.I’m so tired of putting on s face all the time that I am ok when I am dieing on the in side. Because I miss Christopher so much it is never going to get any easier.Because it didn’t with my baby girl Kristy.I whis I could find a place where of parents go to talk with others that is grieving. But I can fun anywhere to go and I need you so bad. Thank you so much for listen.
Karen, I hope that you read this. I’m so very, very sorry that life has been so full of so much loss and tragedy for you. You’ve had more than your share of pain, and it breaks my heart to read something so tragic as this. I’m so thankful you have your husband and your two girls and your grandkids. Lean on them for strength. You don’t always have to be the strong one. They want you to be strong because it’s painful for them to see you hurting. Grief is very hard on us — depletes us of all of our energy. Please rest and take care of yourself. Check back here often because you can make friends here with others who are suffering through similar losses. Karen, I know it seems like you’re never going to make it through the next day, but somehow we find a hidden pocket of inner strength — just enough for each day. And, that will be my prayer for you right now. I pray that you will be given just the right amount of strength to get you through today. Try not to think too much about how you’re going to do this for years and years. Chunk it down to a day at a time. That helps me when I do that. My special thoughts are with you.
Thank you Clara for sharing with all of us and my heart breaks for you and your Family. We also live what I have named it, our new normal. For us it’s our fourth Easter without our beautiful Daughter Michelle. She was 41 and diagnosed with colon cancer, never knew, went into liver and pancreas . Three months later, well, I’ll just say I understand your pain completely . I am sending you hugs, even though we’ve never met. God Bless you always.
Debbie, I’m so very, very sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter Michelle. Life is hard sometimes — really, really hard. And, life definitely isn’t fair all of the time. Things like this are just so hard to grasp. As humans we try to figure out reasons why lives are taken at such an early age, but there is no logical answer. None. My love to you. May God’s blessings be with you and shower you with peace.
Thank you, Clara, for reminding me again today that I’m but one in a huge family of hurting mommas. It’s been 15 months without my oldest daughter and best friend, Shawn. I have one remaining daughter with her two babies left to treasure. Our life will, like yours, won’t ever be the same. My parents both died also in the last 3 years. My older siblings have each got large families to gather with, and my daughter her in-laws. My husband and I will spend the weekend alone, thinking and remembering great times passed, and crying, I’m sure. But I know she lives on in a new land, not so far away, awaiting my arrival. Until that day, I’m so grateful for people like you who understand when others don’t want to even speak off our loss. You are helping so many!!
Happy Easter and God bless!
Peg, Thank you so very much for your comments. I hope that you managed to get through Easter okay. It’s hard — very, very hard — especially when holidays roll around. That’s a time when memories come flooding to our hearts and minds and a time when we especially want our families to be whole and happy. My love to you.
Thank you for all of this. My 23 year old son died 2 months ago. He is the second oldest to my 4 boys. He also leaves behind a wife and children. She will be spending the Easter holiday with her sister and we are going to my oldest sons house. Every day is a continuous struggle
I have so many memories but like you said the future of being with out is just horrible
We will get thru this holiday with family as well.
Thanks for all the posts. They help me so very much
Julie, I wish I could reach through the computer and give you a special hug. It hurts so bad — so very bad. So many times I feel the tears begin………they seem to come from a bottomless pit. I, like you, am so thankful for the memories that my son Mike left behind. But, nothing — absolutely nothing — takes away from the pain of him not being right here with us. Missing a child is so very hard! My thoughts are with you in a most special way.
Thank you Clara, my daughter passed away a couple of days ago and my family is devestaded. My mom asked that we cancel easter for she cannot think of it the same way without my daughter. I’m just so lost and numb right now. I just don’t know what to do.
Jodi, This is heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. Lost and numb are two very good words to describe our lives following the loss of a child. These feelings will remain with you quite a while. It’s our body’s way of shielding us from too much pain all at once. I hope that you will visit this blog often as we travel this journey of loss together. My special thoughts are with you.
My nephew passed away a day before New Year’s Eve 2015… So just a few short months ago. I can not fathom what my sister is going through, he was her child. But I too, lost him and he was like my own as well. He lived about an hour away the last year and returned this past summer to our town…he began working for my best friend and life seemed to be turning around for him. He spoke about attending culinary school. He and I became close again and my daughter had an immense bond with him. He attended all of her football games as it was her first year cheering as a junior high cheerleader. She broke down at tryouts a couple weeks ago, HER biggest cheerleader was not there to support her and it finally hit her. It hits me, in a classroom full of my students. At the oddest times I break down in tears. He was 29. Easter for us is so important and he too was the life of our party. But depression took him to a place he couldn’t get out of, he was our “Robin Williams”. We will celebrate his memory today. We will continue as he would want us to. And as a family we will go visit him today together.
I miss him. Selfishly, I miss spending time in my yard with him. He always was ready to help. His shampoo bottles sit in my bathroom. His shoes sit in my garage. He is here, everywhere. Three months. My heart still aches like it was yesterday.
Thank you for your article. And thank you for listening.
Chrissy, You’ve written this so beautifully describing just how we feel when we lose a precious child. I’m so very sorry for you, your sister, and your entire family. It’s strange how grief hits us — just when we think we might be okay for a while, the tears begin. Your special one sounds like a fine young man — too young to have left this earth. I’m so glad you’ve chosen to celebrate his memory. I hope that your day was one of many positives among the tears of missing him so. My love to you.
Thank you . I just recently lost my 15 year old son due to heart and brain issues so my younger kids have decided to end egg hunting since their brother has passed. It has been so hard as a single mom and all I do is cry. my oldest 18 years old tried to commit suicide after his brother death and I’m feeling like I’m having an emotional breakdown .
My son passed away in January this year 20 days before he turned 5years old.
We didn’t really celebrate Easter with food as he was nbm since his surgery to remove a brain tumour sept 2013.
My daughter wants to hide eggs and celebrate still and we go to church too.
I find doing different things harder than doing the same thing.
When we go somewhere Callum has been or do something he has done we can reminisce but when he hasn’t it’s a sad moment of Callum would of loved this.
Christmas and birthdays (his mainly) were his favourite times which this year will be so tough.
I have an empty hole where he once was but also a wam glow of his happy face and treasured memories.
Lots of love to you all x
Thank you, Clara, I lost my 38 year old daughter almost 3 years ago. I doesn’t get any easier, you just cry less with time.