Welcome to Hope for Grieving Mothers

If you are new to this club (that no one asked to join- the one where your child has died), it is best to start by going to the BOTTOM RIGHT and look at the "Pages" section. Under this section you will find resources for mothers who are grieving the loss of their child. Resources to help your children deal with grief are also grouped together.

Next, feel free to look at the "Blog Archives." There are many topics that you may have an interest in reading. As you girlies know, we now have Teflon brains and often cannot have the focus power that we have had in the past. Feel free to come here often and hopefully you will FEEL the loving support that me and other mamas are sending. Hopefully you will begin to see sparks of hope for your future...

Hugs... Pamela

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Grief is a big scary monster 

Grief is a big scary monster. 

It is rare that I write new articles. Although I miss my Logan, I am fortunate that I have turned the page in my life. When I think of Logan, I no longer think about how he died, but I am grateful to remember him and how he lived. Thoughts of this big silly boy usually make me smile. 

Now, for a little personal history which I rarely publicly share. It has been twelve years since Logan died traumatically and dramatically.. It was my suggestion to bury him in Tennessee. It is a beautiful old family cemetery, which I believe is a good place for his siblings to visit and remember their brother. Two years after Logan died, I informed his father that I was divorcing him. This set off another chain of uncontrollable events which shook all of our worlds. Since this time, ten years ago, I have not visited his grave. 

Yesterday I had planned to ride to Tennessee with a friend who needed to make a quick trip. Ironically, her destination is only 25 miles from this quaint family cemetery. 

As the day progressed, my heart was racing and I felt anxious. I began to worry about other things. My relationship. My dog. My daughter. Obsessive worry without a rationale. So I ordered a pizza- Comfort food and I did not have to leave home. I became demanding with my travel companion. I wanted to drive. I did not want to ride. I wanted to drive my car. I wanted I wanted I wanted. 

As my thoughts and my anxiety privately escalated, I realized that these thoughts were a distraction and then I had the meltdown. 

I have dealt with Logan’s death but I have not dealt with the funeral and burial in Tennessee. I realized that my emotions are very raw in regards to his grave. It is a place that I literally and figuratively do not visit. 

There are so many thoughts about this place. This is the place where my ex husband took a swig of makers mark in the car before going to the gravesite. 

The tradition in tennessee is to lower the casket into the ground while the family and friends watch. I adamantly did not want this to occur. As a solution, my daughter and I were told when to get up during the service and leave. Looking back, i now realize that this was foreshadowing of how my family would be later become divided. 

At the funeral home, I noticed that someone sent a photo frame w basketballs on it. I thought- "Logan likes basketball but he loved football but was a nice sentiment" Then my niece told me that it was sent for her. From her basketball team. My son died and my niece got a gift. Plants and gifts were later dispersed to different family members. I did not want any of those things but i felt like I was living in a bad dream. 

I spent a lot of time designing a headstone in order to remember Logan. This was something that i could control when life was spiraling.  

Sometimes we live life in silos. I have spoken to thousands of people about Logan’s death via classroom lectures, conferences, articles, and even a podcast. I have analyzed the event of Logan’s death, as well as many healthcare and legal professionals as a learning opportunity. The story of how he died is easy for me to share now. This is my comfortable silo. The rest of the story is not as comfortable. 

Yesterday, I did not go there physically but I went there emotionally. As I processed the events of the burial with my friends, I sobbed. My face and eyes are puffy. I began to take my own advice and write the story down. Logan’s bones are buried there in Tennessee but his soul is not. 

This big scary grief monster surrounded me until I gave in to the emotions. Now, I am no longer afraid. Peace comes like a trickle of rain...


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Quiet...

I always been a very busy person. Before the "empty nest" days, my life as a mother kept me very busy. In the past, my work life and balancing a personal life left me with very little time to just be still. 

When Logan died, everything stopped. In those first few days, my house was filled with many people. I have minimal memory of who was there and most of the events of those first few days. 

After the funeral, I was determined to be a gracious southern woman and personally write out the 250 thank you notes. It was very disturbing to me that I had no recollection of "who did what" to help me. It was also very disturbing that my memory only retrieved patches of time and events. Oh, as an FYI-- I totally screwed up the thank you notes. Some people received two thank you notes and some of the people I totally missed writing. This was my first real experience with Teflon brain.

Anyway, because of this lack of control (on many levels!!), I found myself to be surprisingly anxious at times. "Striving to create predictability" -- This later became an effective coping mechanism as I began to fear what would pop up and startle me.

Back to my initial point-- I was a super busy chickadee. Then the busyness stopped. Being still and quiet was foreign to me at that time. I had always been busy, until everything in our entire family's world came to a halt. 

I have noticed that many people MUST be busy. I have a dear friend who has found coping so challenging that she either races with activities or she sleeps. Being in the PRESENT and being STILL is frightening for her. It is frightening to many of us. I remember when it was frightening to me. 

It took many years and a lot of trauma and drama, but I am thankfully at a place in my life where stillness is GOOD. Actually, segments of time with stillness and quiet are mandatory for my sanity. I have come to terms with the earthly departure of Logan.... At least with segments of this harsh reality.

When I was initially forced into this reality, I was physically uncomfortable. No one told me how much grief physically hurts! It is not just emotional pain but physical pain. My body was tense and tight and I was often unknowingly gritting my teeth. I even had a patient point this out... which was a tad bit embarrassing. 

I decided to make a purposeful attempt to watch the clock as I made a personal commitment to just be STILL and stretch my achy muscles for 10 minutes. To clear my mind. To pray. To be still and to recognize that all is safe and quiet at that present moment.

We often fear the quiet. We fear that the reality of losing a child might invade our personal and quiet space and bring us to our knees. Of course it will, for it has already invaded every cell in your body. But, my friends... Do NOT be afraid!! This can be an important step in the journey of healing. 

Know that EACH time you choose to enter this quiet space, you will not break down and fall apart... At least not for very long. Remember- Tears are GOOD and tears really are healing. You will not always have tears in the quiet- this I promise. Tonight I am sitting alone in the quiet on my porch as I recharge for the busy week which is ahead. 

Do not be afraid of the quiet, for in the quiet, you can find healing and peace. Be still and know....  



Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother’s Day 2019

By request, I am sharing my thoughts from a few years ago. Mother's Day is hard for most people and unexpected emotions can pop up and surprise us. This is an experience that many people feel on Mother's Day. One mama friend explained to me earlier this week, "this was MY holiday. This is the hardest one."  

It's the big Mother's Day today. I drove to Louisiana yesterday to be with my mother for this day. 

So here I sit... Outside of the big fancy church while my parents are inside. Sitting on a brick planter with tears gently flowing. What happened? Please allow me to explain... 

I went to church with my mother and father. Apparently it is graduation celebration day-- which is exciting for those who are participating. Then the pastor asked for all of the mothers to stand.  By this time, I was feeling hesitant, but I stood. He spoke beautiful praises of mothers everywhere and of what they mean to the world and to their families. Then he asked for everyone to stand and sing. 

Wow! Was this it? This was the end of his comments about Mother’s Day?!  I began to feel great emotion as I realized how many people who I know who have ached and longed to have the opportunity to become a mother. Also, I sadly know many mamas whose arms and hearts ache because their infants have died. The list continues as I think of the many mothers who have lost children who lived to only be a small child, a teen, or even through adulthood. Girls- as you all know, a mama is a mama regardless of the age of her child. Now I will add to the list the people who are missing their mothers as they do not have them earthly present to celebrate with. 

That is one big list... The pastor, who I am certain is a caring Godly man, neglected to address these hurting people. As a mother who is trying to redefine normal in my own life, I felt overwhelmed as I realized that this attitude is what is socially accepted by society. I have spoken to more grieving mothers than I care to count-- this is what I call "taking the casserole" mentality... I brought the casserole. Went to the funeral. Sent a card. Now what is the problem? Are you still feeling sad? I did MY part. (I do not really believe that this pastor nor everyone believes this totally but to some degree The fact that grief is a process and not just an event is not yet fully accepted by most.) 

The truth is-- People learn when they are seasoned with life and experiences. 

A couple of years ago- I remember hearing the pastor at the mega church that I attend FIRST mention the hurting that many feel around holidays. THAT was comforting. 

So here I sit in the bright sunlight--outside of this big fancy church.  Sitting on a brick planter... but yet the breeze of the gentle wind is too chilly to feel any warmth... Despite the sun on my skin.

Now church is letting out and I am embarrassed that I was overcome with these thoughts and walked out of church.  Embarrassed. Sigh. 

"He floods the darkness with light; he brings light to the deepest gloom." Job 12:22NLT 

Hold tight onto these Truths that our Heavenly Father has sent to us... Much love to each of you who are walking through the journey of grief. 

Pamela Parker 

Holeheartedmamas@gmail.com


Friday, February 1, 2019

What Time Does Not Heal

My friend Erica wrote this blog article today and has agreed to all for me to share. I first met Erica a few years ago when she sang at our Annual Infant Loss Ceremony. She wrote the following song to remember her son Braden.  The songs lyrics and her angelic voice resonate deeply for me.  As of today, there have been over one million people listen to it on the following YouTube video. “Hug Him Once For Me.”  After listening to the song, read and connect with Erica’s thoughts below.

https://youtu.be/IBHEJtqKjkk

Because I no longer have my blog, I decided to share my heart here tonight. Please know that what I am about to share is very raw, very personal, and not intended to sound as though I am one without hope. I know that one day I WILL go to my son and see him again and we will be together forever. I would NOT bring him back from Heaven today if I could! But allow me some grace, as I am still a mother with longings just as yours. I write this tonight for those of you who have lost children, long ago or yesterday. I write this tonight for those of you who have never lost, but desire to empathize with those who have. I write this tonight for those of you who want to love on people but don't know what to say or do. I write this tonight to honor the memory of my precious, Braden Clark McClure.

Eleven years ago today, I entered Hayes Green Beach Hospital in Charlotte, MI for a scheduled induction at 39 weeks. Braden was clearly going to be a big baby, and I had previously had a shoulder dystocia with Mariah, that they feared would happen again. So with much excitement and anticipation we went in ready to meet this little fella! It did not take long at all before Braden made his grand appearance at a whopping 8 lbs and 14 ounces a WEEK EARLY!!! He too was born with the shoulder dystocia and so he looked like he had been in a boxing match when I first got the joy of holding him! I had loved him from the moment I knew I was pregnant with him, but holding him in my arms took it to yet another level. Little did I know that day that I would have such a short amount of time with this beautiful baby boy. I could share much more of the story of how it came about, but for sake of the purpose of this story tonight, I will fast forward to 5 1/2 months later. We had just got pictures done that week. Just had his vaccinations, and that Friday, he laid down for the last time here on earth and woke up in Glory. Fast forward now to today, January 31, 2019. Braden's 11th Birthday. What did we do? Well we have always made it a point to keep Braden's memory alive. We celebrate and talk openly about him with our other children. We look at pictures, and have them hanging in our home. Today, we took the kids to his grave to meet their dad and allow for a balloon release and lunch celebration with him and Michelle. We took them to the store to pick out gifts for their brother. We always do this, and every single time for me is the same. I walk in with anticipation of what I can get to shower my love on my little boy. And every single time, I walk down the birthday party isle. I see all of the things I WOULD be buying if he were here. I think what would be his theme? What would he love? It brings tears to my eyes, and I press on listening to my other children with excitement saying what we should pick out! I walk on to the toy isle and tell everyone to pick what they want to take to the grave, only to have to tell them no on so many things because they won't "stand up to the elements." I leave and walk through some isles alone choking back hot tears that want to flow down my face. Thinking, "It's not fair. I shouldn't have to try to figure out what can hold up in the winter, what can withstand the water, what is the right size, what won't blow away. I should be watching my son open birthday gifts that any 11 year old boy would open!" But outside I breathe, turn the corner to see my precious children figuring out what they think their brother would just LOVE to have. Their brother that they can only imagine and picture as a 5 1/2 month old baby that they see in the pictures, not an 11 year old ray of sunshine they could play with. We choose our items and take them to the graveside. We bake a cake and light candles and sing to Braden. And I listen to my children say, "Who will blow out the candles?" And as innocent as they are, it literally rips my heart in two knowing that it SHOULD be Braden blowing out the candles, but I respond, you all can!! We look through Braden's memory book and read poems and letters and look at pictures. I answer every question they ask me. I tell them stories about Braden. And I watch as they sweetly try to encourage me and love their brother that all but one of them have never met. And inside, as I do every single day, I wonder what Braden would be like. What he would look like. What he would enjoy. What he would sound like. And then I stop, realizing, I will never know the answer to that question. I allow my heart to ache. I allow the tears to flow. And I go to bed, to know that I will wake tomorrow, not having the pain gone just because his birthday is over, but that I will live with this trial the rest of my days on earth. It's been 11 years and I am still experiencing firsts. This year I experienced the first time three friends didn't say a word about Braden's birthday. I experienced not hearing from many of my family who normally acknowledge this day. Firsts are not always a good thing. Not always an easy thing. As I stated in the beginning, I do not mourn as one without hope, for I know that I will see him again. But please know that 11 minutes, 11 hours, 11 days, 11 weeks, 11 years, the heartache does not change. I still lost a son. One that is not replaced no matter how many children I have. One that mattered to me then and matters to me still. #Happybirthdaybaby #Iloveyoutothemoonandback

https://youtu.be/IBHEJtqKjkk

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Disney world and Emotions

My friends invited me on a trip, which includes a visit to Disney world. This adults only trip has been a fun adventure.

For the past two days I have been flooded with memories of the visit I made with my three children. I remember my daughters Tinkerbell earrings and Minnie Mouse hat. I remember Logan’s love for Goofy and the Tower of Terror.

Tonight we had dinner at a restaurant which included character visits to our table. When I saw Goofy, i was surprised by my anxious emotions. I wanted to turn my head and say "no thank you." Instead, I choked back the tears and forced a smile. No one wants to cry at Disney world! It is supposed to be the happier place on earth.

Because I am with others, I needed to quietly sit and wait until I could make my escape... escaping from the uncomfortable memories.
Then Donald Duck came to visit the next table with two excited preschoolers. As I watched the young parents guide them towards this character, I began to relax. When the littlest one kissed Donald Duck, I captured the most precious picture. I remember being a young mother taking my children to a character dinner as well. I remember the excitement and joy of my family- including Logan. This memory as well as the present made me smile.

It is a mixed bag of emotions that swirl together to make life. Every day we can make a choice to avoid the uncomfortable. When we choose to do this, we also choose to avoid the joy in life.
I am glad that I faced the emotional memories because I want to remember Logan. I want to remember and never forget... continuing to honor Logan by choosing joy.



Disney world and Emotions

My friends invited me on a trip, which includes a visit to Disney world. This adults only trip has been a fun adventure.  

For the past two days I have been flooded with memories of the visit I made with my three children. I remember my daughters Tinkerbell earrings and Minnie Mouse hat. I remember Logan’s love for Goofy and the Tower of Terror. 

Tonight we had dinner at a restaurant which included character visits to our table. When I saw Goofy, i was surprised by my anxious emotions. I wanted to turn my head and say “no thank you.” Instead, I choked back the tears and forced a smile. No one wants to cry at Disney world! It is supposed to be the happier place on earth. 

Because I am with others, I needed to quietly sit and wait until I could make my escape... escaping from the uncomfortable memories. 

Then Donald Duck came to visit the next table with two excited preschoolers. As I watched the young parents guide them towards this character, I began to relax. When the littlest one kissed Donald Duck, I captured the most precious picture. I remember being a young mother taking my children to a character dinner as well. I remember the excitement and joy of my family- including Logan. This memory as well as the present made me smile. 

It is a mixed bag of emotions that swirl together to make life. Every day we can make a choice to avoid the uncomfortable. When we choose to do this, we also choose to avoid the joy in life. 

I am glad that I faced the emotional memories because I want to remember Logan. I want to remember and never forget...continueing to honor Logan by choosing joy. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Tips for Surviving Christmas

It is the holiday season.... as we all know. We can try to "skip Christmas" - I have tried this myself but I have been unsuccessful.  In my opinion, what is more effective is to create a plan for how to cope with this extra vulnerable time of the year. The fact that your child will not be here during the holidays is often the big elephant in the room that few will acknowledge. 

Conserve your energy - especially during this time of year. Although you will be tired, purposefully select what events are the most important to you... Or attend nothing. Do not be disappointed in yourself if you feel that you "cannot” do what you have done in the past. Every year will be different. Be kind to yourself. 

Purchase a kit from the craft store to make SOMETHING for your living children. Maybe an ornament.... Focus your mental and physical energy on the people who you love who are still living. It will show them that you love THEM too.... Our living children are suffering as well.

Purchase a small Christmas tree and spend time searching for the "perfect" ornaments in memory of your child. I used Logan's hat as the tree topper and filled this tree with a colts ornament, a wrigley field ornament, football ornaments, etc. It gave me purpose and something to DO for Logan (his memory) while Christmas shopping. The small tree was a table top tree that I kept in his room. I actually kept this tree up for several months. 

When I did this, it surprised me when my teenager daughter also requested a tree in her room.  I bought a white tree and filled it with ornaments to match her room. It is common for children to feel somewhat jealous of their deceased sibling. This time of the year, they become more acutely aware of the change in their family as well. Do not be "fake" happy but instead, acknowledge the feelings together. You are teaching your children how to grieve... Regardless of their age.

Acknowledge that the holidays will forever be changed.... So change your traditions. If you always opened up presents on Christmas Eve, then consider doing it at a different time. Try to take whatever big traditions your family has and shake it up.

Everyone is going to try to "make you happy". Be prepared with your words as you teach them to grieve. They will not understand your expectations or feelings unless you tell them... Or unless they are thrown into this situation - and we would not wish this on anyone. Ever! When they ask how you are, do not always feel the need to say "fine." It's acceptable to say, "I am trying hard but this is tiring." Or "I am sick of hearing Christmas music."

The first Christmas, I created a plan to carve out time for our family to remember Logan. I bought a large decorative platter and filled it with about 20 assorted sizes of white candles. One night prior to Christmas, we all met as a family around the coffee table and took turns lighting a candle. Each person told a story about Logan... Funny and stupid and serious stories.  Sure, we all cried, but we also LAUGHED.  Most importantly, the pressure release of the tension felt good and was definitely healthy.  

Do something special quietly in memory of your child. The money that you spent at Christmas on your child, use it to donate $$ for charities (such as when the clerk says "would you like to donate a dollar to help support the homeless mission?" I usually will say yes.... "In memory of Logan" ). Or.... You could adopt a family for Christmas.

I tried to open my eyes and realize that Christmas and Thanksgiving is actually a SAD holiday for many people.  Pause and notice that a LOT of people are in a funk and also sad. What can you do to help them? Giving to others, even with kind words, will help you feel better. In reality, people are often  feeling inadequate as they struggle to purchase presents for their children, they may be missing a member of their family too, they may need employment, or they may just feel inadequate and sad as they compare their holidays to the expectations that society holds up for holidays.

Most importantly, I focused on the REASON for the season. Heaven is a REAL place. It is where Jesus actually LIVES.... With our children too. I think of the wonderful gift of the Christ child and how he was sent here so all of us can have eternal life in Heaven. This is not a new thought or concept. We KNOW that the reason for Christmas. Now that my child is there, I feel deep appreciation and value of this gift like I had never felt previously.