By Theresa Anthony, author of Hope Springs from a Mother's Broken Heart
At some point along my grief journey, it dawned on me that I was actually part of a unique sisterhood. It was within this sad club of fellow grieving mothers (a club that no one would ever want to join), that I'd discovered some pretty amazing women. Looking back now, with the gift of seven years' hindsight, I can see that God had 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, 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 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 humbled by their strength, and awed by their grace. Meeting them at that early juncture in my grief journey turned out to be both pivotal and providential. They were seasoned with some time under their grief belts, so in witnessing their strength it gave me hope for my own future.
Over the last seven years, I attended various local events where I was blessed to cross paths with these ladies multiple times, as well as following them on Facebook. I couldn't help noticing the strength they possessed, and was impressed by the myriad ways they had chosen to honor their lost children. Witnessing them in action sunk into my own psyche, 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 that would offer newly grieving mothers some comfort and practical guidance. In addition, I invited these lovely ladies to contribute to the book as well, to give them a platform to share their own stories of loss and renewal. Through the examples of their amazing strength and faith, these ladies, along with my own humble offerings, would provide the seeds of hope to other women in the most difficult phase of their own 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. I guess those seven years of learning at the School of Hard Knocks yielded something valuable in the end. Driven by a sincere desire to offer a bit of wisdom and a glimmer of hope to a woman mired in sorrow was a strong motivator. I literally couldn’t type fast enough.
But, oh, wow: The mom chapters! When the ten mothers I had invited to contribute 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 universal theme: The unconditional love for a child, a broken heart left behind, and the deep yearning 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. This is a book that showcases women helping women, each displaying immense courage, transparency, and strength in the process.
While I, or any of the contributing mothers in my book, are, sadly, not able to alleviate the indescribable pain of losing a child, we can offer our fellow grieving mothers the kindling for sparking the fire of hope. To a newly grieving mother, just know that renewed hope will surface when you least expect it, and when it does, embrace it.
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