Finding Hope After the Death of a Child

Harriet Hodgson

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I am still in shock at the death of my daughter, the 45-year-old mother of twins. The shock of her death in a car crash will be with me forever. Fortunately, I am blessed to have twin grandchildren and my new mission in life is caring for them. My husband and I share this mission.

I know my grandchildren and they know me. They know I love them, will care for them, and keep my promises. Though they are living with their father my mind is filled with parenting thoughts about them. Do you have enough lunch money. Have your bus fees been paid? What clothes do you need?

Somehow, while I am dealing with questions, legal procedures and financial ones, I must find hope. It is not easy. Every day I look for hope, for as a health writer, I know its spark can keep me going. Where is my hope?

MY DAUGHTER WAS AN ORGAN DONOR. After consulting with our grandchildren, my husband and I signed an agreement with Life Source to donate our daughter's organs. The Life Source representative called the next day. “Your daughter saved three lives, " she said, “and because of her another will see. " Knowing my daughter helped others gives me hope.

FRIENDS HAVE SHOWERED US WITH KINDNESS. Because my husband and I are active in the community we have received cards from friends, people we barely know, and strangers. Some of the comments on the cards make us cry, but we are still comforted by them. The kindness of others gives me hope.

MEMORIALS IN MY DAUGHTER'S NAME GIVE ME HOPE. At the end of our daughter's obituary we suggested memorials to Mayo Clinic. The memorials we received added up to a substantial donation to Mayo Clinic. Helping Mayo Clinic to carry out its mission of medical practice, education and research gives me hope.

MY DAUGHTER IMPRINTED HER VALUES ON HER CHILDREN. The twins started thinking about their mother's values the moment she died. “Even when Mom disciplined us she was never angry, " my grandson said. “Mommy always tried to make people smile, " my granddaughter said. The twins know their mother wanted them to go to college and we will make this dream come true - a mission that gives us hope.

THE SIGNS OF SPRING LIFT MY SPIRITS. The piles of snow around our house are melting and I am starting to see green grass. Next to the house, the birch trees show signs of budding. I saw my first robin yesterday. She (or he) sat on a tree near the house and sang for several minutes. Spring gives me hope and I am looking forward to it.

These hopeful signs are helping to heal my grief. I am also trying to make something good from grief and writing articles is a way to do this. Grief is a common bond that joins people together and makes us human.

Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance nonfiction writer for 28 years. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, " written with Lois Krahn, MD is available from A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. You will find other reviews on the American Hospice Foundation and Health Ministries Association Web sites.

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