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When a Child Dies Unexpectedly

Updated on February 6, 2016
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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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