Permission To Laugh

Hope“Sometimes you gotta laugh through the tears, smile through the pain so that you can live through the sorrow”



I remember shortly after Nick died, maybe a week, we were all huddled around my daughter watching her, hanging on her every word and move.  I don’t even remember what she did, but I remember a laugh escaping my lips.  Immediately, I was shocked and ashamed.  How could I laugh when my son had just died?


It has taken me a really long time to realize that that little laugh was a tiny glimmer of hope.  Before I lost my son, I was a pretty happy, bubbly person.  But in those days, weeks, months and even years that followed, I thought I’d never get that person back.  I didn’t really want her back.  She didn’t belong in my life anymore.  At least that’s what I thought.


In that immediate period after I lost my child, I had such a weird feeling.  I was in a daze.  Everything was so painful.  I know it must be different for everyone.  For me I didn’t want to eat, I would go from not being able to sleep to being so exhausted that I couldn’t do anything but sleep.  I always had this pit in the bottom of my stomach.  I couldn’t watch that same TV shows I used to watch.  I didn’t want to go do anything fun.  I couldn’t.


But as the days went on, some sense of normalcy returned.  I had to go back to work, I had to take care of my daughter, I had to make dinner, I had to do laundry.  I wish I had given myself a little credit for being able to do those little things.  Those little things were really big things for me, a mom who had lost her son.  I realize that having Brooke to take care of was a huge blessing.  I am lucky.  I know that.  She forced me to take those steps of normalcy sooner rather than later.  I still had to take care of her.  In addition, I was able to have another little boy to fill my heart. I often wonder how much more difficult it would have been for me without those kids.  I realize that makes me lucky.


Now here I am, 22 years later.  My life is full.  I am happy!  I’ve got two beautiful adult children here on earth and one heavenly angel waiting for me when I get there.  I’ve got unconditional love in my life.  I am excited about my tomorrows. NO, my life isn’t “normal” because most people haven’t had their child die.  But so many have.


I just want to say this to anyone who has experienced this loss – give yourself permission to “do normal” to laugh, have fun, whatever it is is even though it feels strange to do.  Listen, I realize that if you are new to this awful experience, this may sound horrible to you.  But give yourself a minute to think about it.  Grab that chance to be you again.  We are left here on this earth without our child.  It sucks.  NO one wants it.  But since it has happened to us, we owe it to our child to live well. To be happy.


When that little laugh escaped from me early on, I thought I was dishonoring Nick by laughing.  But now I know, that laugh was the beginning of my “Rising Above”!


I am sending every one of you that reads this a hug.  My greatest wish is to somehow let you know that I care.  Please comment and tell me a moment that gave you hope.


11 Comments on “Permission To Laugh

  1. Karen we just lost my sister at 42. She has children and I feel for them but in time our expectation is that we will loose our parents. My heart goes out to her mother as I know there are no words to explain such a trajedy. These words give me hope for her and I pray with her grandchildren she will laugh and realize this is part of her allowing and wanting her to heal. Thank you for writing and sharing such a trajic, personal, but more importantly inspirational story. Much love and many hugs to you.


  2. I love you Karen, thank you for sharing. I haven’t lost a child however your words give me great inspiration to forge on through life’s difficulties. HUGS.


  3. When my baby boy died, it was horrific. I felt a lot of those things you mentioned above. However, I like you had to other children that needed me to “be normal”. It was hard, but after time I realized that my son would not have wanted me to live a life without happiness. Moving on takes time and healing, but it does happen if you give it a chance. So glad you have started this page. I love reading it.


  4. You couldn’t have said this any better, or more beautiful. It’s been almost a year. I am not “normal” yet. But I remember that feeling of guilt laughing not long after her death…it felt wrong and dishonorable to my Mom’s memory and our loss. My heart is always broken and at times, I still have that feeling that if I laugh or smile, it might make people think I’m “Fine”, when I’m not. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom. Love you girl 😘😘


  5. Beautiful Karen, just like you. You are a friend whose friendship I cherished. I remember meeting Nick when he was a baby- you were my first friend to have a baby and I loved holding him. I am going to share this with close friend who tragically lost her son almost 2 years ago. xoxo


    • Oh Jen, thanks for sharing. Please tell her I’m sorry! Thanks for the memory as i didn’t remember/know that i was your first friend to have a baby! You were always such a great friend to me! Love you! 🎈


  6. Your such an inspiration Karen. For me it was knowing I wasn’t alone. I had my husband and my kids to keep me going. But having other women that had been where I was gave me hope to keep going. Knowing I wasn’t the only one having these feelings I felt or the questions I wanted answered. This month will be 5 years my Nick has been in heaven. And I still look to others in my same shoes to keep me going. When I read what you wrote, I was like she is talking about me. You give me hope knowing I’m not alone. 😘


  7. Hi Karen, this Feb 5th, 2018 will be two years since my son, Jason, became an angel 😇!

    He inspired me, made me laugh, brought me flowers on mother’s day and took me to church.

    I know in my heart he wants me to be happy. He loved laughing and would say “no crying” over his illness.

    Jason’s legacy gives me hope to move forward each day! When you lose a child, it’s the most traumatic experience physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

    I survived and now I am on a mission to help others. I’ll share my story soon! I don’t want to just survive, I want to make a difference! I’ve made a choice to not be defeated because that’s what he would want! Because of my overwhelming love for my child in heaven and on earth, I can and will do this!

    Some days I don’t know how I get through the day! My strength comes from God.

    Yes, our children in Heaven are and will always be loved, talked and thought about as if they are still here with us because to us, they are.

    Thank you for all you have done to get this site up and running!


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