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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Beyond Tears

I picked up the book Beyond Tears by Ellen Mitchell at the library this past weekend. It's subtitle is "Living After Losing a Child".

I didn't know if I would get anything out of it. After all, the nine mothers in the book who tell their stories are grieving their adult or older teen children. Not that it makes it easier, but it makes it different.

When Amy went down for a nap in the evening I opened the book and I didn't put it down until I was finished. It spoke to me that much. Maybe it's because I can't always put my feelings into words just yet. I found myself nodding my head and agreeing with much of what these woman spoke of.

Maddy: "You have reached a new level when your first thought is of your child's life rather than a replay of their death." (I long for this day.)

Rita: "I needed to touch my son. It was a universal feeling. We all constantly looked for our children, as if they were misplaced somewhere." (My heart aches knowing I will never hold his hand or gaze at his sweet face again on this side of Heaven.)

Phyllis: "I was so exhausted; it was an effort to live." (Some days I'm so tired that the thought of doing the smallest thing makes me exhausted. Living is an effort these days.)

Carol: "I had difficulty breathing. I was constantly sighing out loud. There's no refuge from the pain. You crave peace and there is none. It's an awful place to be. The pain is unrelenting." (The pain never stops. That is the most exhausting part.)

I could go and on with all the quotes that hit the nail on the head. This is not a book of answers, of how to get through it, but rather a book of how these nine women got through their own struggle. Each journey is a different one and this book does an excellent job of showcasing how each and every person grieves differently. There is even a chapter from the husbands (surprisingly, all nine marriages remained intact, when studies show that 90% of couples who have lost a child eventually end up divorcing) and a chapter from the brothers and sisters of the departed. It just gives a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Yet, at the end, you see that a parent never gets over losing a child. That it completely changes that person forever. Because of this, I not only recommend this book for parents who have lost children, but also for anyone who has a friend or family member who has lost a child. It gives you a glimpse into their thoughts. A reasoning behind their actions. A tiny taste of the pain that will never go away.  


  1. I agree that it changes a person forever. I have wondered who my mom would be if my sister had lived? I can see a definite difference in the before and after in her life. My parents also made their marriage work. I think it is a choice of choosing to live and make the marriage work v. letting grief tear all other aspects of life apart. It sounds easy, but in reality a very grueling process to pull yourself up and out of the clutches of grief! The devil is always going to tempt us to despair!

  2. I imagine that its hard to find other moms in your community that has been through losing a child. I'm glad you found a book to be your community. Books can be a great comfort.

  3. You would be surprised at the number of people in even a small community who have lost a child. When we lost my daughter's three, other bereaved parents came out of the woodwork. In a community of fewer than 3,000 there were four families who came forward with words of comfort and empathy. And they were the quietest voices that spoke in that circumstance. Everyone else had words of "wisdom" or scriptures meant to comfort. These people just said "you are not alone." That was the most effective of all actions in a place where there is no real comfort.

    Elizabeth, please know that you are not alone, that you and your family are loved and the object of much prayer - always.



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