• Theresa Anthony

Women Helping Women Through the Loss of a Child

Updated: Sep 17

By Theresa Anthony, author of Hope Springs from a Mother's Broken Heart

At some point along my grief journey, I realized I was actually part of a unique sisterhood. It was in this sad club (that no one would ever want to join), that I discovered some pretty amazing women. Looking back with the gift of seven years' hindsight, I can see now that God truly blessed me by bringing these ladies into my life. He placed each one of them in my path at exactly the right moment, and they, unknowingly, then became my grief mentors.

Early on, in the months following my son’s suicide, I was in such raw, ragged pain. There really are no adjectives to describe just how much it hurts to bury a child. The photo that a friend snapped at the cemetery on that day, me bent over his casket, leaving behind a kiss and a red rose, really summed up the extraordinary level of intense emotional pain. Sadly, my son’s death will forever be the most defining moment of my entire life.

Fortunately, there were people in my life who reached out and pointed me in the direction of other grieving moms. As I met each of these women, I was completely humbled by their strength, and continue to be. But meeting them at that early juncture in my grief journey turned out to be pivotal and providential. They had been seasoned by the gift of some time under their grief belts, which allowed me a tiny glimpse of hope for my own future.

Over these seven years, I attended various events and was blessed to cross paths with these ladies multiple times. As I, too, got a little stronger with time, I was able to focus on them more closely. I noticed the strength they possessed through the many ways they had chosen to honor their lost child. This sunk into my own psyche and awareness, and I became deeply inspired by them.

When 2021 arrived, I knew what my next project would be. I just knew. I was going to write a second book this year that would offer newly grieving mothers some comfort and practical guidance. In addition, I would showcase these lovely ladies, giving them a platform to share their own stories of loss and renewal. Through their amazing strength and faith, these ladies, along with my own humble efforts, would provide the seeds of hope to women while in the most difficult phase of their journey.

The book just seemed to write itself! My own eleven chapters just flew out of me. It was like I had been cramming for an exam for seven years and then aced it in a flash. Well, I guess seven years of learning at the School of Hard Knocks will hopefully yield something valuable in the end. A sincere desire to offer some hard won wisdom to a woman mired in sorrow was such a strong motivator that I couldn’t type fast enough.

But, oh, wow: The mom chapters! When the ten mothers I had invited started sending in their chapters I just knew my objective for the book would be met. I sat here at my computer reading their words, nodding and crying and saying, “Me, too!” Even with the variations in our losses—children lost to illness, accidental injury, overdose, heart failure, or suicide—a common thread ran through each story. In each and every mom story, there was a theme: The unconditional love for a child, a broken heart left behind, and the deep desire to honor the child’s memory.

Only a fellow grieving mother can truly understand this particular kind of loss. I see this little book as a field guide to help a woman survive the very worst thing that can happen to them. These are women helping women, and displaying immense courage and strength in the process.

While I, or any of the contributing mothers in my book, are, sadly, not able to extricate the awful pain of losing a child, we can offer our fellow grieving mothers the kindling for sparking future hope. To a newly grieving mother, just know that renewed hope will surface when you least expect it, and when it does, embrace it.

Author's note: If you liked this blog post, please give it a heart (below) and/or leave a comment! All engagement helps my blogs be found online. Thank you so much!

Hope Springs from a Mother's Broken Heart: 11 Women Share How They Survived the Loss of a Child, available on Amazon

Read an excerpt HERE

Theresa Anthony is the author of the memoir: My 13th Station: A Mother Shares Her Son's Tragic Battle with Depression, Alcoholism, and Demons, available on Amazon

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