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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

I feel a sense of freedom when walking onto an airplane. 

Even though it isn't possible to leave your "life" behind when traveling, it is common to think about what is in our near future. In some cases, it's a vacation to explore something new. In other situations, it may be for our career and to participate in work projects in another location.  Regardless, when the plane takes off, a slight sense of vertigo is created as the plane begins to take off and fly away.... Into the future.... Whatever and wherever this may be. 

I often look at the buildings and roads that are below me. Sometimes I'm positioned in such a way that I'm able to see where I live. As the plane flies higher, I am once again reminded of the multitude of houses and people under me and my airplane. Our "real" world becomes tinier visually. Then it disappears all together.  

As I look below I see squares of property and rivers and interesting terrain. My world appears new. Different. Poof!  I am now somewhere else! 

This is very far removed from my "real" life.  Today, as I sit on this plane, I am now on vacation from work and my ordinary life. This plane physically and quickly removed me from all that is "my normal"--  temporarily. Everyone needs a break. I certainly have needed one. 

When we have a horrible grief experience, we often try to permanently leave it and go far far away. I've known families that have moved from their homes very quickly after losing a child. I've known people who have made huge life changes -- such as changing jobs or divorcing-- after suffering a devastating loss. Then there are others who are so paralyzed by fear of change and exhaustion that we stop moving our bodies and our lives all together. This is somewhat the category that I often fall into--  the "safe" category. I often try to not rock the boat and avoid chaos and conflict. 

Whatever grief phase you are in, I challenge you to take a walk outside. Change the scenery in your life. Breathe deeply and fill your lungs with fresh air. Stretch. Take a drive. Go to a state park.  Bring a blanket and lay down in a new place. Watch a funny movie!  Doodle.  Create art. (Side note- Attached you'll see a beautiful piece of art therapy that a friend has recently created....  Butterflies and a heart.)  All of these actions can create emotional vacations that we all deserve and NEED in order to gain fuel for our individual journey.  Do NOT move too fast and run.... Instead, walk slowly and savor the life and beauty that is around you. Notice and receive the tiny gifts that have been given to us.  

As I look out of the airplane window, I feel a sense of freedom. I am acutely aware that soon I will be returning to my pleasant and ordinary life.  Beginning today-- I'm taking a break.  It's a healthy break!  

I look forward to hearing ways in which you take your own break from the world around you!  

Sending thoughts of peace and contentment and healing to all of you. Hugs!!!

Pamela Parker 


PS-- I always enjoy your messages and comments. Pop me an email!  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

That cruel anniversary month--- years later

Each of us should agree that our grief is very personal and individual. It is important to recognize that there are often similarities to our experiences. 

When my son died, I began to realize that I could often relate to my friend Beth. Although she had not lost a child, she did experience the shocking horror of her first husbands death. Beth introduced to me the term- "post traumatic stress" and how it relates to a shocking death experience. 

Please read Beth's most recent article. It captures the essence of grief during the cruel anniversary month. 

Hugs mama friends--


Nineteen years ago next week my beloved first husband died. It was Good Friday that year, and a bad day all around. My children were tiny. Fortunately, my mother, father, brother and sister-in-law drew close to us, and carried us through that desperate time. There is so much about that year I still cannot remember, about which I must ask. And those times passed.

For years there were times of remembrance that could make me gasp with the pain of it again. For a while those times were frequent, mundane, as the time when we drove around the curve of our street and saw his Jeep, and my son said as always, but before he remembered, “Daddy’s HOME!” Those first few years I continued to think I saw glimpses of him in crowds. I found perfect gifts for his birthday and for Christmas. And those times passed.

As the years continued, spring, summer, fall, winter, spring, summer, fall, winter, I noted occasions when he was most greatly missed: a birthday here, a vacation there, a flat tire, a decision about a new furnace, a small boy who needed someone to wrestle him, a small girl who needed to be carried by a dad who was stronger than me as she grew. And those times passed.

And there were changes, and new joys:  a second husband, a father for my children, a son-in-law for my aging parents, and a brother for my brother. There were new moments of great happiness and new challenges. New ways of being were required of us, new habits of worship and finance, new sleeping arrangements for a combination of five children now, coordination of shower times, surprises all along. “Oh yeah! This is a different husband, marriage, family than before....” Can we change enough, hold on enough and let go enough to move forward into new life? And those times passed.

And the years continued, spring, summer, fall, winter, spring, summer, fall, winter. And the memories were less painful, and I began to worry about forgetting what was most precious. I wrote memories down, and felt that joy and that sorrow again as I did so, but was glad to have recorded the best of times. And my now husband began to know that April was the cruelest month, during which I would be tearful for no immediately known reason, when he would need to say to me, “Let’s go outside, let’s get into the sun, let’s go to this movie, let’s hear this concert, here is your dinner, it’s time for a date.” And the hard times passed.

This year someone asked me, “What rituals do you use in April to help you get through?” And I count my resources: a Sad Songs playlist in iTunes, a Memory Candle, flowers for the table, poems of remembrance, too many journals in which April days are darkest, a longing for my children (now far from me), and the rueful awareness that everyone has a day like this, a saddest day. And every year my resources grow, and I am more nearly comforted. And the hard times pass.

Carrie Newcomer sings a song called “Gathering of Spirits.” She writes “I can’t explain it; I couldn’t if I tried, how the only things we carry are the things we hold inside. Like a day in the open, like the love we won’t forget, like the laughter that we started and it hasn’t died down yet.” Remember the laughter. Always remember the laughter.

A prayer for us: Most Loving Comforter of all of us who mourn, we cry to you from the depths and find ourselves raised from the death that is grief. Strengthen us for this journey from death to life, with the “gathering of spirits and a festival of friends.” Help us laugh again. Amen


Beth Newton Watson, M.Div., BCC, director, Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy Services

StressLess Web Page:https://pulse.iuhealth.org/portal/intranet/home/content/?defaultXml=/wellness/stressless.xml