I miss Tias

parenting through grief

“I miss Tias, mommy,” my three year old tells me.

“Me, too,” I answer.                                                                                      

She’s looking in her lap. Or at the floor. Or in a book. Anywhere, really. So long as the house is quiet, this is where her conversation is likely to turn.

“What do you remember about little Tias?” I ask.

“The dresser fell down on him. I wish that didn’t happen.”

“Me. too, sweetie. Me, too.”

I want to draw her thoughts away from that night. From that moment.

“You and Tias were good friends, weren’t you? You liked to play with your farm set with him.”

“The dresser was big. It fell down on his head.”

I don’t want to have this conversation yet again. It is too hard. It hurts too much. Fighting back tears, I take a deep breath.

“Do you remember taking turns riding on Scrambler?” I ask.

She looks at her ankle where the knob-shaped bruise had been. It’s gone now, but she touches it and continues.

“There was blood, mommy. In his nose and in his eyes.”

“I know, sweetheart,” I sigh and hold her close. “It was a bad, bad accident.”

All of her memories seem trapped under that dresser. I want to help pull them out, to rescue the giggling and the wrestling and the snuggling from that horrible memory. But I never can.

“I wish that didn’t happen, mommy.”

“Me, too,” I answer. “Me, too.”

Tears begin to sting my eyes while I hold her. We miss Tias. We wish that didn’t happen. Together. For just a little bit.

And then she resumes her play.

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  1. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    awwwww! my heart aches for the loss of Tias and pain of that nite! may she be able to remember the good times she had with him! prayers and hugs!

  2. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this, or would consider it…but there are trauma counsellors for children who have seen something horrific. I was reading Mary Beth Chapman’s book last week (Steven Curtis Chapman’s wife) about how their little Maria was ran over in their drive way, and their 2 young daughters watched it happen. They went to trauma counselling to help organize their thoughts and memories about what happened. Just a thought =)

  3. Reply

    Luke Holzmann

    January 11, 2011

    I’ll keep praying for you and your family, specifically–now–that God will redeem the memories.


  4. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Time . . . time . . . time . . . these images will begin to blur, the pictures won’t be as sharp. It’s like God’s hand of grace passes over and dulls the sharp and painful edges.

    Still praying.

  5. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Yes maybe some trauma counseling is in order. Please don’t try to redirect or stifle communications of the memories that may be a big mistake. Yes talking about good things is okay but not in the middle of discussing the horrors of what was seen. Also seriously look into post traumatic stress disorder, what can be done to avoid that developing in any one of your kids?

  6. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    The fact that they were all there to see it makes it doubly worse for you, I am sure. You not only have your own pain to see through, but also feel responsible for the pain of those you love the most. We keep praying for you all and will be for a long time to come.

  7. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    They went to their first meeting Saturday. We’re not all on our own out here. 🙂

    Their coping strategies right now are to “hug a teddy bear” and “try to think of happy memories.” We’re trying to give them the space to talk and help them through it.

  8. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Lifting you and your sweet children up in prayer. I feel such overwhelming compassion and sorrow for you, I know that is God urging me to pray for your peace and comfort in your heartbreak. Hugs.

  9. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Sounds like you are on the right track Dana with the counselling.

    Your daughter sounds like a talker! I need to talk or write my way through traumas and grief too. And it looks like she might be taking after you but she’s too little to write it down!

    Still keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    She is a talker, something people who don’t know her never believe. Around other people, she’s the one who holds my leg and buries her head into my clothing. Not too many people have heard her precious little chattering.

    And it does help to write. I have a lot of scratches I’ll never publish, but it all helps a little. if only to get control of my thoughts when they start racing.

  11. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Dana…Words escape me yet again…we are still praying!~Jennifer

  12. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    I am so heartbroken for your family. I am praying that the Lord will bring comfort to your children and bring precious memories of Tias to their mind.

  13. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    i miss him for you guys, too. have gotten to know you all thru your precious family stories. sweet happy family living a too sad part of life.

    think of you, always with a prayer, several times through out the day…..

  14. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    You do such a great job with them. Glad you are all getting some counseling – I do think it will help, but the most important thing is that your kids so obviously feel comfortable talking about these memories with you. That security and freedom is really priceless. My cousin died at 27 leaving behind 4 girls, ages 2,4, 6 & 8 and for the longest time they were forced to pretend it didn’t happen and I think that really stifled their grieving and led to problems we are still seeing play out 20 years later.

    I believe that eventually God will heal your hearts, but you are so right to allow each of them to grieve in their own way – I can only imagine how awful it must be as a parent to have your own horrible grief and then to try and help your children heal too. You are such a good Mom and clearly have a very special family.

    Your family is in my prayers every night and at many moments during the day too. God bless you and keep you all in his love.

  15. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    I’ve commented on another of your posts, and though we don’t know each other, I am still keeping your sweet family in my thoughts and prayers. You’re an amazing mother doing a great job helping your children work through their grief. Children are so much more resilient than adults, and I can only imagine the pain you are going through. I pray for continued strength for you and your family.

  16. Reply


    January 11, 2011


    Still thinking of and praying for you and your family daily.

  17. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Continued prayers for you and your precious family.

  18. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Dana: I have read all your posts and I admire your honesty and your faith. I cannot imagine the pain you and your family are experiencing. My heart aches for you. Please know that our God is an awesome healer. I will keep you all in my prayers.

  19. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Dana, although your blog posts about this are on such a sensitive issue, I can’t even begin to tell you how touching your story is..how deeply I am affected,positively, by what you have been through. I don’t know what it is..His Spirit I suppose…I felt this way reading Marsha’s journey too..after her son, Christian, departed.Your soul is so beautiful and you are a wonderful mommy.

    Post Traumatic Stress is such a real issue. I have been through that before..under different circumstances. I like what you said about scratching things down..to get control of your thoughts when they begin to race.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. ((hugs))

  20. Reply


    January 11, 2011

    Thinking of you –

  21. Reply

    Kim B.

    January 12, 2011

    Dana~As a mom I can’t even begin to imagine the pain your going through not only with yourself, but with your husband & children too. My heart grieves for your family & my prayers for you all are lifted up each & every day. Thank you for allowing us to mourn with you & may God wrap His loving arms tightly around you & your family.

  22. Reply


    January 12, 2011

    Thinking about you a lot and crying with you…

  23. Reply


    January 12, 2011

    Sisterlisa stated it exactly the way I feel. Your story is full of sorrow, but also triumph. I continue to pray for you and your family. I know you are finding strength in God, and maybe some from our meager words of support. We never know God’s plans for us, and what Satan meant for evil will be made to bring Him glory.

  24. Reply

    Becky Burns

    January 12, 2011

    Continueing to pray for you and your family. I cannot imagine going through such a tradgedy. I can feel your sorrow and I can feel your strength in every word. I am so sorry this happened. We don’t know each other but we are still sisters in Christ.

  25. Reply

    Brittany @ The MamaZine

    January 12, 2011

    My heart aches for the pain that you and your children are going through but I wanted to say thank you for sharing your story and feelings so honestly with us. I just watched the photo slide show, such a beautiful tribute. What an adorable, sweet little boy.

  26. Reply

    Melissa C

    January 12, 2011

    Dana~ Thankyou so much for the bravery of posting this tramatic time in your life. I found your blog by “accident” the day you posted about the night of Tiggy”s death, to be very honest with you I have been stuck in one big pitty party after the next this year. After a series of events including my husbands hours being cut at work, and our income taking a $20,000 dive, to one of our 2 yr. old twin boys being diagnosed with Autism, I allowed myself to just roll in the self-pity. But God has used you and your blog to open my eyes to just how precious life is, and how it can be gone all too quickly! Words don’t even begin to describe the sorrow and pain I feel for you, but please know that you have a sister-in-Christ who is lifting you in prayer, and that Tiggy will NOT be forgotten, even by those he never knew! He trully has touched so many lives, and thankyou for allowing him to! Love in Christ~ Melissa

  27. Reply


    January 13, 2011

    Dana, I have a little boy who repeats and repeats and REPEATS phrases. I know it’s a stage but it drives me crazy. I can’t imagine how hard it would be if the thing he latched on to wasn’t ‘Big Bird is yellow’ but something so painful and diffcult to hear. You’re a wonderful mother for holding her and letting her say it AGAIN. I wish there was some way to ease the pain. The counseling sounds like a good idea, maybe even just for the fact that someone else gets to hear her say that she misses him. Love and prayers from all of us…

  28. Reply

    Chick Hatchers

    January 15, 2011

    I read about what happened shortly after you shared it. I had not ever visited your blog before. Your family has been in my prayers since then and will continue to be for a while.

    Your 3-year old is working through what happened and she needs that. As hard as it is for you to go back over it, repeatedly, she needs it. I say this lovingly and gently, not accusingly in any way (tone of voice just doesn’t come through here)… If it is too hard to back over it with her, it may be worth considering having her talk to a professional – whether medical or through your church. It is so important for her to be able to process what happened. Maybe a relative could sit with her and go back through it a few times.

    You are doing well to also try to bring back the good memories. They are there. Write them down for her, for yourself. You won’t ever forget, but a memory journal can be a nice thing to go back and read later. We have one that includes entries for our loved ones who have been called home – whether we were ready or not – and my oldest daughter has also written about pets in it. It’s a memory book.

    You are doing good to take it slow and recognize what is missing rather than ignoring. I am so sorry that you are going through this.

  29. Reply


    January 15, 2011

    Thank you. And we are going over it and over it. 🙂 Sometimes we just talk about that. Sometimes I bring up happier thoughts. Sometimes she just talks and sometimes I tell her the scary things we both saw.

  30. Reply


    January 15, 2011

    Oh this breaks my heart. I cry as I read it. I’m so so very sorry for your loss, I cannot imagine what you must feel. :'(

  31. Reply

    Highland Mummy

    January 16, 2011

    As other people have mentioned children of this age don’t grieve the same way adults do. They move in and out of grief- children don’t continually frieve but move back and forth with everyday life and feelings and back to grief again.

    I sometimes think this is God’s grace for the adult around them as it forces us into semi-normality for the periods they are not grieving. Follow their lead.

    my prayers are with you.

  32. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    Our hearts are with you! We lost our little boy 2 years ago when our daughter was 3…we continue with this see-saw of grief with her even to this day. As much as it stings at first it gets easier as you get stronger. Hugs and empathy, Elizabeth

  33. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    My heart aches for you after reading this post! My children and I have been through trauma of our own, but the loss of a child is something I cannot imagine.

    I noticed someone above me recommended trauma therapy for your daughter. Play therapy is definitely something that could benefit her, and they usually offer some help to the parents, as well.

    Your family will be in my prayers, and I know that God will bless you, uplift you, and strengthen you as you learn to live again.

  34. Reply

    ali @ an ordinary mom

    January 17, 2011

    Still praying for your precious family.

  35. Reply


    January 18, 2011

    This is the saddest story I’ve read in a while. I just found your site and have been trying to go through it and the saddest story. It is so heartbreaking.Please know that I will be praying for your family for a long time to come. God Bless and much love to you♥

  36. Reply


    January 19, 2011

    This one is so hard for me to respond to. So many memories and hurt of my own. I love you, dear Dana and am praying fervently for your mommy heart, for your husband, and for each of your children.

  37. Reply


    January 21, 2011

    I’ve sent up a prayer for you and your family as you work through the beginnings of your grief. I weep with you. Was directed here from raising olives and I just want you to know you are not alone in your grief – God grieves with you.
    Don’t know if it would be helpful but there is a lovely book called “This book is for all kids, but especially Lizze. Lizzie died.” It is just a few sentences (simply illustrated) which are the musings of five-year-old Jack on the death of his three-YO sister (she was very disabled and was not even supposed to live for the three years she did). It includes lovely thoughts such as like I just realised you can hug God – can you give Him a hug from me.
    Praying for you all at this sad, sad time. May I suggest you record the children speaking about your dear wee boy – they’ll appreciate it as the years pass.


January 5, 2011
January 13, 2011