‘I have a 13-year-old daughter most people only think about twice a year — the day she was born and the day she died.’: Mom shares raw grief on anniversary of daughter’s passing

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“13 years seems like both yesterday and a lifetime ago. There are so many things I’ve forgotten about life in that time, and then there are the things I vividly remember. There are also the things I know happened and wish I could remember the details just as much as the things I do remember but wish I could forget.

The one thing I have consistently remembered every single day is her. My sweet Gianna. Admittedly, I get so upset I even have to ‘remember’ her, but God am I grateful at one time in my life she was actually here.

I hate that I have to repost the same pictures of her year after year, but I’m beyond blessed to have pictures at all.

I wish I could hear her laugh just once, but vibrations of her fierce cry in such a little person still sound in my soul.

Grief is not something people get over, especially not as a parent. Grief is something you have to get through over and over and over again.

Grief is exhausting and at times unbearable, but in all its pain, there is a testament to how much love exists. You can’t feel the prior without the latter.

Baby with tube in her nose lies on her side on a baby blanket.
Courtesy of Tia Hawkins

When a parent loses a child, I can tell you with 100 percent certainty they think of that child EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sure, I think about other people I’ve lost and loved, some more than others, but I think of her every single day. Good days, bad days, fun days, boring days, weekdays, weekends, holidays, and birthdays. Every single day she is there. Some days all day, other days life creates a temporary fog but she still gets through.

Every single day is a blessing and a curse. It is a reminder I am alive and she is not. It is a reminder I brought her into this world but I don’t get to mother her. The memories are absolutely full of love and gratitude but they also concurrently carry an immense amount of grief and tears. Grief is not linear and there is no getting over the loss of a human who was a part of you, literally.

People say, ‘It’s like I lost a piece of me.’ No… you DID lose a piece of you. A piece of you nobody else had and nobody else will. I’ve had two more children since I birthed her. Not once did their presence fill that void. Not once did they replace her. They have their own places in this momma’s big heart, so big it can carry all the love and all the grief at the same time.

I have a 13-year-old daughter. Most people only think about her twice a year — the day she was born and today, the day she died — because she is not in my home, in my car, or in my pictures. I have a 13-year-old broken heart that breaks and mends like the weather changes, but it never fully heals. It’s unrepairable and fragile. Its strength is in the same place the weakness lies… in the cracks. It will never be whole again and it will never be the same. Just like taking a new sheet of paper, crumbling it up, and trying to iron it out the way it was. It’s impossible, no matter how long it sits or how much work you do to it. It will never be what it was. You can still use it and it still serves the same purpose, but it’s not the same. It’s not like all the other pieces are… untouched, unscathed.

Some days this heart needs so much comfort. Comfort it never required prior to losing her. A comfort that’s needed more than just the two days everyone thinks it is. I get it, I place no judgment. Others have no way of knowing when you need them most, especially if you don’t tell them… and admittedly, I’m not one to tell.

I guess I just want her remembered, forever, because I am her mom. I couldn’t save her or keep her, but man I wanted to. So if the only place she can live is in my memories, then I pray I never lose my mind, because most days, that’s what I’m anxiously holding onto the most.”

newborn baby being held up
Courtesy of Tia Hawkins

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Tia Hawkins from Virginia Beach, VA. You can follow her journey on Facebook,  Instagram and her blog. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Tia here:

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