Shattered, Torn, Together Slowly: My Heart One Year after Losing my Brother

How to Cope with Grief as a Mother

Shattered, Torn, Together Slowly

I’m writing this post nearly one year after losing my brother. Shattered, torn, together slowly are words from a poem I wrote as a 13 year old girl.  Hard to believe what was going through my mind to write those words at that young age.

Then I quickly recall my life as a teen and how turbulent it was for our family during that time.

Our parents’ marriage was ending.  We were facing change among the already difficult times of middle school drama.

Now here I am drawn again to these words echoing from my childhood. I was reaching out as an adolescent through writing and expressing the pain through words comforted me.

Grieving a loss looks different for each person.

Somedays I’m fine and so busy I don’t consciously realize my brother’s gone until the still of the night once the girls are tucked in and I’m alone with my thoughts.

These are the moments I dread.

It’s as if my busy life as a wife, mom, and all the other things I do spare me the agony of sadness and acknowledging that hole in my heart during the day hours.

Is this a good thing? Sometimes it is and sometimes it’s the most horrible thing.

You see, I want to grieve. I want to cry and kick and scream and shout:

I’m angry!

I’m sad.

I’m lonely for one of my best friends who texted or called me often daily to make fun of, encourage, give me an update, or just say I love you and I’m proud of you.

This last year has been one of the most painful and also most rewarding. I lost one of the most important people in my life, lived every first holiday and celebration with someone physically missing, yet I’ve also been able to share and receive love to a degree I’ve never experienced.

The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. Being able to connect with others who’ve lost and those serving our veterans has given me hope and a desire to help others.

When I look in the eyes of my niece and nephew my first instinct is to run away. It hurts so much to know they’re growing up without their dad.

But I don’t.

I embrace the pain because I want them to know their dad isn’t forgotten. He’s here with them and lives on within each of us.

The pain I feel also brings me joy. I’m able to hug a piece of my brother when I wrap my arms around his babies.

We refer to my brother in the present tense.  Something that may seem strange to some but hearing it aloud comforts me.

It encourages all of us to talk about him, share funny and embarrassing memories, and if it makes us sad, it’s ok.

It’s healthy to share your emotions and unhealthy to completely hide your grieving. It’s going to show up one way or another.

How can you grieve as a busy mom and be there for your family?

How to Cope with Grief as a Mother

Take time for yourself – Even if it’s a set time after your day is over to just stop and let it soak in. Feel the emotions and don’t stop them.

Express your hurt – As caregivers we tend to hold things in and focus on your kids or family but they need to see we’re human too and it’s ok to feel sad, cry, or just want to be alone.

Accept Help – I learned to accept help from others and not apologize for it. It helps me be a better mom and wife at the end of the day.

Talk about your loved one – As much as it may hurt it’s good for you AND your kids. Talk about the good times even if it makes you sad. Create an environment where your family knows they can bring up your loved one and connect in that way.

Surround yourself with encouraging words – My sister-in-law shared this verse with my sister and me and I pray it reminds you there’s hope.

Shattered, Torn, Together Slowly describes my heart and how even one year after losing my brother I can’t believe he’s gone. My heart continues to shatter but I’m thankful for the pieces God is putting together. Even if it’s slowly.


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