Struggling Through Loss And Grief To Feel Normal

It was years ago that my daughter Serena died in a drowning accident yet the memories of that day are as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

Serena for years had been my silent secret child because the memory of her death was so painful that it seemed easier to try and bury the thoughts of her death deep inside some hidden untouchable part of me.

At first I thought that if I didn’t talk about it, it would hurt less.

There is a myth that time heals. One of the mistakes I made, was believing that if I “served my time and let enough time pass,” I would get past the grief.

It doesn’t work that way. You can’t bury your feelings of loss and grief no matter how hard you try. Any one suffering from the loss of a child is being forced on a journey that they don’t want to be on.

So you’re on this journey, resisting, kicking and screaming the whole way, struggling to get back to your comfort zone where life is familiar and happy. You ask, “will I ever feel normal again?”

But there is no going back.

For me sometimes the journey felt so painful that I thought I would rather die then continue on it. But continuing along the path and working through the loss and grief is the only way to being, “normal” again and even happy.

It has been years since Serena’s death and today her stories and memories often make me laugh instead of cry.

So how do you go from tears to joy?

One of the best things I did was start journaling. Journaling helped me express, accept and let go of my pain. Each night I wrote something about her memory, my thoughts for the day and what I was grateful for. I told her story over and over again in my journal and each time it released some of the sadness. With each journal entry there came a painful wave of anger and sadness. As each wave of sadness and anger came and went a little of the heaviness disappeared.

I know that sometimes it sounds impossible to be thankful or grateful for anything and maybe even cruel that I could suggest that you look for something to be grateful for. I know at one time it was for me too.

I was once asked, “if you could choose, would you choose to have never had Serena in your life and avoid the pain.” Without hesitation I answered, “No, I would do it all over again.”

As parents we would probably all choose to have what time we had versus no time. I needed to remind myself of that and of the times she brought total joy into our lives.

I wish I could give you a simple method or answer that would take away the pain and make the journey through the loss and grief easier for you. We each grieve in our own way and on our own schedule.

We can’t go back to the way we felt before our childs death any more then we could go back to being a child ourselves.

My life has forever changed because Serena was a part of it. It took us a long time to understand that a new normal was not only OK but that it could be celebrated. I learned it’s not about, “serving your time,” it’s more about, “working your time.”

So Today my life looks nothing like it did before Serena died. Her life has been a huge lesson that has changed how I live and value my life. I left the corporate job that at one time I thought was my dream job, but came to realize it took up way to much of my time. I realize now how precious time is and that time with the people we love can never be taken for granted.

I wish that your journey takes you to a place of peace, normalcy, joy and laughter. Do you want to talk? Click here and we can.


To Your Life Without Limits,



P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment below and feel free to share this post with anyone you feel may benefit from it.

14 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    I have been through both….the death of my first daughter and my 7 yr. old daughter taken away from me by her other family. Until recently we had never been apart…..I took care of her 24/7 – I did everything with her…..

    Writing does help – I wrote several letters to my 1st daughter – but then the need for survival kicked in. I am not sure which is worse – my first daughter and knowing she is dead and not coming back…..or talking to my 7 yr. old every night and only seeing her 1 1/2 days a week the rest of the time just not being with her – I feel like a part of me is always missing with both of them.

    When I talk to my little one every night for a few brief minutes ~ I read her a story – something we have also done together since she was 6 months old….

    So today I set myself up for success by when I have my 7 yr. old – I take her to places I know I will be during the week…..we share fun things and laugh and then when she is not with me when I am in those places I have good memories to pull me through…..

    And YES – I would do BOTH again.

    • Jeanmarie Bills
      Jeanmarie Bills says:

      Laura your strength is inspirational! It’s amazing how strong your love for is. I know your daughter looks forward to every story you read and every day you spend with her. I wish you the greatest success and love in your future. Keep journaling.

  2. Meryl Hershey Beck
    Meryl Hershey Beck says:

    I, too, belong to that club–mothers who have lost a child — not that any of us wanted to be part of it. My son, Jonathan, took his own life at age 35, almost a year ago. The grief comes in waves. For me, what has helped the most is that I feel his presence and get messages from him. I believe that we are all multi-dimensional beings, and he is just across the veil. That doesn’t mean i don’t cry and want to feel his hug and hear his voice.

  3. Jeanmarie Bills
    Jeanmarie Bills says:

    I am sorry to hear about that Meryl. I agree if we are open to the messages and signs we will feel their presence and it is very comforting. Journaling was just one tool. I think the real key is finding the different things that work for you. I wish you peace and joy Meryl.

  4. Olga Hermans
    Olga Hermans says:

    Thanks for sharing your story; I lost both my parents at a young age. I know it’s not the same as losing your own child, but I know the grief that it cost. Journalling is a very good tool to overcome it; I hope you will reach a lot of people that are going through this process.

    • Jeanmarie Bills
      Jeanmarie Bills says:

      Thanks Olga. I feel that grief is something we all experience in our lives. My hope is that people learn at least one tool that will help them with the grief they are experiencing in their lives.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *