A letter to a grieving mother

I came across this letter today, written by a mother who lost her baby boy, and nearly ten years after the loss of my baby girl, it still immediately brought me to tears. So often, I feel like I'm sailing around in this vast ocean of grief and loneliness alone. Thankfully (but sadly for the momma's who need an understanding ear), not a great number of parents lose their children to death before passing away themselves. The momma who wrote this article understands my heart, articulates the emptiness my emotions often feel, but knows that life will go on. She also understands that we will be better, stronger people because of it. No, we would never choose to be a member of this club, this is definitely one club I would have loved to have felt excluded from, but God saw differently. I pray that my loss, the loss that crushed me, changed me, will change others and let them see the hope of glory that only comes in Christ Jesus.  I will see my girl again.


Click here to go to the letter.

Here is the letter quoted at length. This is NOT my writing, and I do not want anyone to misunderstand this.


To the Grieving Momma

Oh, sweet momma…

I am so, so sorry you are here.

I know this is your worst nightmare realized. I know this wasn’t plan A, B, C, or Z. I know the weight of it all is suffocating, soul-crushing, devastating, and earth-shattering in every way possible.I know you would trade it all just for one more moment.

I know your heart is broken. How I wish I could make you feel at home again. How I wish I could take away the pain. How I wish I could place that baby back in your arms. You could watch them grow. All the giggles, skinned knees, and eskimo kisses. I know you would savor every moment. I know you would breathe that baby in, till you no longer had any breath in you. I know you would give every ounce of you to save every ounce of them, one thousand times over.

I know you miss them. I know you wish you could just smell them one more time, see their face one more time, kiss that squishy cheek and then freeze that moment so it would last forever. There are things that pictures and videos can never replace, and having that baby in your arms is at the top of the list.

I know.

If I could “fix” this, I would move mountains. My gosh, I would in a heartbeat.

You, sweet momma, are so brave. You are strong. You are such a good momma.

You need to know this.

On the days when it’s all you can do just to function, that’s okay.

On the weeks when you live off of sweatpants and dry shampoo and ice cream for lunch, you deserve a freaking break. You are doing a good job.

On the days when you try your hardest to pull yourself together, and somehow things just don’t work out, give yourself grace. Give yourself room to breathe, you are so loved, sweet momma.

On the days when no one but you mentions their name, I am so, so sorry. Say their name bravely. Know that they are still real, they were still here, and you are still their momma.

On the days when you feel like you could burst from anger and pain, go somewhere alone, cry it out, curse at the sky— there’s nothing worse than having to fake it. Just don’t. Please, let yourself feel it. You’ve been through too much to put on a face, and healing doesn’t come when we are living under a facade.

On the days when the world tells you to “heal” and “move on”, friend, healing from child loss doesn’t look like healing from an injury. Our children were not a broken bone, they were a piece of our hearts, and now a piece of our hearts is gone. Friend, you will heal, just not in the way the world wants you. You will breathe easier. You will ache maybe a little less, but I’ve heard from mommas much, much further down the road than I, the longing will never, ever, ever leave. That’s the beauty and the fierceness and the strength of a mother’s love.

Momma, you are strong. You are so brave. You are doing such a good job.

You are irrevocably changed, in the sweetest, head-over-heels, all-in, never-stopping way. Your love is strong. That’s the promise you made when you swore to love them every second of their life and every second of your own, no matter what the cost was on your heart. Nothing on this earth has shown me unconditional love better than the love of a grieving momma. I see your love. I see the power of it. It’s stronger than any amount of pain, than a sea of tears, than even the grasp of death.

I know, because of that love, you would brave every ounce of pain one thousand times over just for them.

Even when you don’t feel it… Look, momma. Here you are… You’re still breathing. You’re still standing. You are so brave.

Sweet momma friend, I am so sorry you are here. Know that you are so loved.

Know that where there is great pain, there is even greater love.

So much love to you,

-A Momma Who Knows


For all you mommas out there that are wishing, waiting with bated breath for the day we see our babies again, remember 2 Peter 3:8- "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day." Soon, very soon, our Lord is returning, to take us home, to reunite us, to make us whole.

Posted on May 16, 2015 .

Alive! Women

Alive! far exceeded my expectations!!! The speakers were fabulous, the music and worship was great, it was extremely well organized but the thing I was most impressed with was how much the leadership team wanted this weekend to be Holy Spirit driven. It was beautiful.

A few months before the conference, a woman from Arizona contacted me and said she would be my prayer partner leading up to and during the conference. Anytime I had a prayer request or concern, I just got in touch with her. Each woman that spoke at the conference was assigned one of these. Loved it!!!!!

I’d never gone to such a large conference alone, so I recruited a dear friend of mine named Kelli to come along for moral support (and put her to work as well!!). 

After a long day of travel, going to the wrong hotel (whoopsie poopsie), checking into the first hotel room that smelled so terrible there was no way we were going to stay in it and then SMELL like it, we finally settled into our nice, plush bed. 

We had a total blast exploring downtown Nashville, having a fabulous meal and seeing the sights. We shared a meal and I’m sure it had more calories in it than the both of us needed for an entire day. We gorged ourselves.

It was then time to head to Lifeway Conference Center and set up our table and start meeting women. It was sort of like a Wesleyan reunion that made my heart smile. Being out of the Wesleyan church for the last seven years (we go to a Bible church here in GR), there are many people I haven't seen or heard from in many years. It was like salve for my soul for God to have me be there, representing our marriage and family ministry that only God could create. 

I spoke at a breakout session called “Beauty from Ashes” on Saturday afternoon. There were three of us women who shared during the session. Each of us had seen our share of trials but God has provided each of us a sense of peace and joy in different ways. The Holy Spirit was very present.

I had the honor of speaking with a few women that I’m certain were God ordained moments. If this is why God had me go to the conference, it was totally worth it. 

I am honored. 

Posted on May 1, 2015 .

The Blanket of Grief

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in.
— C.S. Lewis in "A Grief Observed"

I have read many quotes, books, articles, and internet stories that speak of the grief of losing a child, but this one…this is it.

C.S. Lewis was grieving the loss of his wife Joy after just three short years of marriage. Her death caused him to ask deep, doubtful questions of God but not in a theological, thinking manner. He was asking these questions out of searing pain, grief that feels unsurvivable; he was using his heart not his head.

This must be why this quote struck me, because grief is physical. It is exhausting to the body to force it to do what your heart says no. My heart was crying for reprieve, death, “GIVE ME MY BABY BACK!!!”, yet my feet had to keep moving forward. 

It is terrifying. Because grief is so all encompassing, you fear you may never stop feeling it’s intensity. And it lasts. Oh how it lasted.

But then, ever so quietly, without even realizing it, life started creeping back in. I didn’t like it when I realized it. Not at first. It made me angry that I could forget my little girl, that life could move on. 

Slowly my heart starting accepting that bits of joy were not dishonoring to her memory, that I would not forget, that she was real. 

A real little girl named Ava Nicole Buck lived on this earth for 2 months and 28 days. She had a birth certificate, a social security card, clothes in her closet that her little body would never grow into, and then a death certificate.

If you’re just starting down this road of grief, learning of it’s twists and turns you never chose to make, know this. Your pain is real. It will change you. Some will not like the “new” you. But the physical feat of recovering from grief will not drown you forever, the shackles around your ankles will slowly, quietly, fall away. There is hope beyond death.

So, grieve, grieve hard, grieve well. Know that it lasts much longer than you would probably like. Those tears are like healing balm. Bitterness leads to understanding. Anger eventually leads to acceptance. Feel them. Allow yourself to feel them. Don’t shove them away before it’s too deep to recover. This horrible thing called grief will eventually heal you.

And one day, you will look back, and remember with a touch of sadness, that the intensity is over. Your grief will become more personal, quiet, more internal than external. And you will find that you actually want to live. You want to laugh... make new memories and not just live in the old…

Desire has returned. 

Posted on April 8, 2015 .

In Tragedy and Victory, He is Near

I couldn’t sleep last night.

My heart felt like it was experiencing such vastly different emotions, I didn’t know how to process them, how to even feel. I still don’t.

Over the course of less than an hour, I received news from two different friends. Both of these friends have children with brain tumors.

One is celebrating a beautifully clean MRI with no sign of new tumor growth. More time with their beautiful little girl, more memories, more cuddles, more “I love you’s”. Almost six years after the first tumor was found, they still have the joy of tucking her into bed each night. Many years that the doctors said they would not get.

The other is watching their beautiful seven year old boy as his body is fading away, but his spirit is making it’s way toward heaven. God has the power to heal this little guy, but from our earthly perspective he will soon be at Jesus’ feet, experiencing a joy and celebration that the living just cannot even comprehend.

As his body slowly stops and Rusty enters heaven, he will be given his crown of righteousness, he will see his name written in the Lambs Book of Life, “Russell Lynn Schultz”. But his mama and daddy and sister are losing their son and brother. They are experiencing grief that is all-consuming, they are feeling like their heart is physically being broken in two.

The reality of heaven seems almost palpable, so real I can almost touch it. It is not just a figure of speech or a figment of our imagination, something to comfort the living when someone you love dies.

Heaven. Is. That. Real.

My daughter lives there with Jesus. She’s going to be meeting Rusty very soon. I hope she knows how much her momma loves Rusty’s mama, and welcomes him in. I hope she shows him the ropes, all the ways of heaven.

Rusty will be healed.

And yet, so many that love him are left behind. It doesn’t make the loss of your little boy hurt any less. They are losing a piece of themselves. They will be entering a new phase of their journey in this life, a journey without the Rusty Bucket. And if she feels anything like I did, she won’t want to take this journey without her boy. She will probably want to be with her boy.

Sadly, as a momma, this is not usually God’s plan. We have loved one’s left here who need their momma, their wife, their daughter. God may slowly reveal to them why Rusty’s life was cut short, how God is using their pain for His glory, but it won’t lessen the loss or pain.

Just as in Exodus when Aaron and Hur held up Moses arms (Exodus 17)when he could no longer hold them up himself, we must do the same for Adam and Mimi.

And we will.

Posted on March 17, 2015 .