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When a Child Dies Unexpectedly

Updated on February 6, 2016
ThePracticalMommy profile image

Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

In Memory of a Young Life Lost

Never forget.
Never forget. | Source

Losing a Child to Death

Death is never an easy subject, especially when it involves the loss of a young child, but death has the power to change a life.

A former student of mine died recently in a tragic car accident. He was a great kid: always made me laugh, honors student, well liked by his classmates. I only taught him for one year, but he was the kind of student you like to remember, the kind of student you want other students to emulate. What always made me smile was his laugh; it was this cute hissing sort of laugh that I later found out was also a laugh my husband emits when he has the giggles. He always seemed to smile too, throughout all tasks he faced in his days...but he died so young. Just a freshman in college enjoying his Christmas break....

I didn't truly cry until I thought of his mother. It's peculiar because while I only met her once or twice, I felt a strong connection to grieve with her, for losing her son. It made me think: what if it were my son? Or daughter? How would I feel if a life so new, so precious, was suddenly swept away?

My children are still very, very young, but someday they will be out and about in a world that isn’t focused on keeping them safe. A world that doesn’t care to hug them when they're sad, laugh with them when they're being silly, cheer for them when they've taken a brave step, say 'I love you just because you're you'....

No, now that's my job. I need to be their security, their support, their comfort, their everything.

True Happiness in Parenting

There are so many times when we as parents will admit we are not having fun with being parents. It is not easy raising children. Every second of every day is consumed with taking care of other beings other than yourself. It can get tedious, it can be maddening, it can be pure craziness. Where can you find the happiness in that?

It’s there. Happiness is there.

It’s there in the times when your child learns to crawl and at the same time throws her food on the floor. It’s there when your child hugs you one moment and screams in your ear the next. It’s there when your child learns to ride her bike but then has a tantrum when it’s time to go inside. It’s there when your child says you’re the best mom for buying the coolest video game but then you’re a witch when a punishment like grounding is enacted.

You may ask: where could happiness be in any of that?

Children learn from everything, the good and the bad. They learn about gravity, boundaries, limitations, sound, love…Even in their wildest moments, they are showing that they are willing to learn about their world. When they are throwing food or pulling on curtains or coloring on the walls, they are learning how the world works and they are proud of their acquired knowledge. When they are throwing a tantrum or yelling at you, they are showing how comfortable they are to be around you, how comfortable they are showing you their true feelings.

Do you have any friends like that? What an honor, to have someone be real around you! No shows, no acts, no gimmicks.

Only love. Unconditional, true love.

Precious Time

Time is not a thing to be wasted.
Time is not a thing to be wasted. | Source

Origin of the Word Happiness

From the OE 'hap', meaning lucky, chance, fortune. 'Happiness' is the noun form of 'hap', which means, in a literal translation, the state of having luck, chance or fortune.


How to Really Love Your Child

You must cherish every moment. How can you not cherish every act of love from your children?

It’s still hard, no doubt, to understand how this all can be true happiness, especially when in the most difficult moments. Think retrospectively. Think of the moments as they pass, learn from history. Think of your own childhood, how you acted and reacted with your parents. Even though there may have been many difficult, harsh moments, are you not here today?

Happiness: the point in life when you realize that you have survived, when you have the ultimate fortune—love—that reaches beyond gold and silver, beyond the material wealth of the world.

I have learned about survival. I am a survivor. I survived my childhood and I’ll survive my parenthood. The death of my student, while so devastating, has taught me to be a better me, a better daughter, a better wife, a better sister, a better parent. My life, due to this tragic death, has been changed forever. This I have learned: time is precious and not to be wasted, especially by our own human shortcomings.

Cherish the happiness that comes from all moments with your children. Cherish the moments of sadness, of learning, of hope, of grief, of joy, of anger, of love.

You never know when it all might be taken away.


Remember Me This Way


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    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      mary615, I too am heartbroken for all of those parents. What a sad time in their lives! I could never imagine the pain they must feel.

      Thanks for reading :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      8 years ago from Florida

      This is a very timely Hub to be shared at this particular time. I've been thinking of all the grieving Mothers in Conn. who had lost their child. My heart breaks for them.

      I voted this UP, etc.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from United States

      RTalloni, thank you for sharing that video/song. How sweet and perfect for this week for sure. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Precious, especially this week.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from United States

      ishwaryaa22, thank you very much for reading and for your kind words. :)

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      This hub is touching! Sorry for the untimely death of a former student of yours. You put your own thoughts and feelings in this hub and we all could feel and understand them clearly. Well-wriiten hub. Thank u for sharing. Beautiful. Vote up.

    • rutley profile image


      9 years ago from South Jersey

      Right back at you! It's easy to complain about our kids when we're annoyed but we do love them! Thanks again!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from United States

      rutley, thanks so much for reading and commenting! I appreciate the feedback. :)

    • rutley profile image


      9 years ago from South Jersey

      This is lovely! Voted up and thank you for sharing!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from United States

      Ghaelach, that was a cute little rhyme. Thanks for making me smile! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Morning PracticalMommy.

      A wonderful hub, just a bit say.

      Your chose of music was magic.

      Take care PM and have a nice day.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you all so much for your support. I appreciate that you can relate to what I've expressed here. The loss of this young man has really made me rethink my parenting. Life can certainly changed it's course in an instant, leaving those left behind with sad, heavy hearts. It's our job to learn from each experience, even from the loss of a loved one. I could never imagine losing my children, as it would be the worst kind of grief...

      Thanks again for reading and commenting. :)

    • keithlipke profile image


      9 years ago from Fort Wayne, Indiana


    • DIYweddingplanner profile image


      9 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      PM, I've watched my best friend, another hubber, Tess45, struggle with the suicide of her son for the past eight months. It never gets any easier for her and I wonder if it ever will. I think losing a child has to be the worst kind of grief there is.

    • thebookmom profile image


      9 years ago from Nebraska

      What a beautiful hub. Such a sad start but such a critical lesson. Thank you for having the courage to share, I learned from you and your student's legacy lives on in each parent made better by the reality check. Well done!

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      9 years ago from UK

      May I also offer my condolences. The death of a child touches all who knew him I think.

      The sentiments you express here are so deep, so true. With my second being born so early and having a few dices with death in her first few months, I came to feel very strongly that children really are on loan to us, and every moment is precious. I often feel so fortunate that she survived.

      Even in the difficult times we learn and grow, as you clearly have shown with this hub. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • tammyswallow profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      This article has a very deep impact. It IS important to cherish your children each and every day. I have been fortuate my three grown children, rugged boys, have been safe. I have one that really makes me worry and it wears this mother out. I hope this will be something that none of us EVER have to worry about. A parent should never out live a parent. Well done.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      9 years ago from Texas

      I agree with alissaroberts. This hub is incredibly powerful and obviously heartfelt. I feel it is fair for me to say, my condolences. Although he was not your child he was your student. One whose memory you have cherished. We can never underestimate the fact that life can take a swift turn.

      This is a sad, but beautiful and thought provoking hub. Thank you for sharing your story.

      Excellent suggestions - voted up

    • ThePracticalMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from United States

      alissaroberts, I could never imagine a funeral for a 2 month old--how sad! I think it's in our nature to grieve with those who have lost loved ones, even if we don't know them personally. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. :)

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 

      9 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Wow the message in this hub is so simple yet so powerful - always cherish your children. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of one of your former students. I wish no parent ever had to go through the loss of losing a child. The saddest funeral I ever attended was the one of 2 month old. The mother worked with my husband and there was not a dry eye at the service. I did not know the mother well but my heart just ached for her. Thanks for sharing this one - voted up and beautiful!


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