I lost my son, Connor, on January 3rd, 2007—the day my world came crashing down. I had waited 17 years for my miracle number two, as I wasn’t supposed to be able to ever have children again. Even my daughter, born in 1989, was a miracle. Now my son was being taken away from me.

Connor was only three days old when he got an infection in his lungs that ultimately took his life. My husband and I were able to hold him while he took his last breaths. The doctors and nurses that had so valiantly tried to save his life cried along with us as he passed away.

My world was suddenly unbearable. I wanted nothing to do with anyone, I had anxiety attacks in crowds, and even simple grocery shopping was no longer possible for me. Everywhere I went all I could see were pregnant women complaining about their woes or newborn infants being pushed around in strollers. I seemed to be “contagious” to those around me; they avoided me like the plague.

I now belonged to a club I didn’t even realize existed. I never imagined what life would be like without my son, because I had built up a life in my mind of all the things I would be doing with him. I felt like I had lived an entire life with Connor in my mind and now that had been ripped from my chest. Left behind was a gaping hole that never seemed to fill back up.

Days led into months, until one day; one special day, I thought to myself, if Connor is watching me right now, would he be proud of what he sees? I realized with a surety that I was not living life at all. I was merely getting by with breathing and eating occasionally. This realization started me on a path of healing that has made me a better person than I ever thought possible after losing a child.

I picked myself up from the depths of sorrow, brushed myself off, and promised to do everything in my power to make my son proud. Some of the things I did to help myself heal are:
• Support groups both on-line and in-person
• Random acts of kindness to strangers in memory of my son
• Balloon releases on holidays
• Planting trees and flowers that will continue to bloom and grow while my son cannot
• Donating to charities that work toward preventing newborn death
• Service projects to help others heal and grow
• Taking care of his graveside with decorations and plants
• Journaling my feelings

Writing down my thoughts was one of the best outlets for me. Simply putting words to paper was a healing experience. Later, I would turn those thoughts into a published book, helping others heal and have hope that have also lost a child. I recommend everyone that has lost a child to write down their feelings. Even if nobody every reads your words, the simple act of putting your thoughts on paper help calm your thoughts and help you to heal.

I am a different person from the one I was before my son died. My entire outlook on life has changed. I appreciate the small things; the crunch a dried leaf makes when you step on one on the sidewalk, the birds singing in the morning, falling asleep to the sound of the frogs from my pond, the beautiful colors nature has to offer; everything is more vibrant and I am more aware of my surroundings. I see Connor everywhere I go—in the way nature shows me that life is precious. My son may not walk on earth like my daughter, but he soars in heaven, waiting for the day when I will take him in my arms and know that he will be proud to say I am his mother.

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Amy Maddocks

As an author, educator, wife, and mother, Amy Maddocks learned firsthand about the grief and trials one experiences when losing a child when her son, Connor, died. More than 120,000 children die each year in the United States alone, and of those, more than eighty percent die before their first birthday. Grief-stricken families, friends, and communities are overwhelmed by the unexpected experience of such loss. Usually, they don’t know how to cope or how to make a life without that special person in it. One of Amy’s purposes in life is to help those families make a wonderful life after such a tragedy. Amy published a book about child loss, called "Too Precious For Earth." It reads like a novel but assists like a self-help book. Part of her goal with the book has been to spread the word that there are many bereaved parents surrounding us every day, and people need to understand what the parents go through and what they need to heal. It not only is a great book for anyone who has suffered a loss, but also for those who want to be enlightened and uplifted. Amy currently lives in Okinawa, Japan, teaching school to military children.  She graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and is currently progressing toward her Masters in Learning and Technology.  She is a free-lance writer for CNN Travel, Okinawa Hai Magazine, the Open to Hope Foundation, and Venture Magazine. Amy is a volunteer with many organizations, both online and in her local community. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Amy enjoys outdoor activities such as geocaching, camping, four-wheeling, rafting, and pretty much anything to do with the outdoor world. She also enjoys digital scrapbooking and helping others.

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