Guest author: S. Jackson – Regarding Child Loss

I’m not the woman I once was…I know the hurt, the battle within.

I’m not the woman I once was… I’m not the mama I once was… but I’m me, please take me as I am, full of flaws… I know the hurt, the battle within.

My own mother was devoid of feeling towards most of her children, and I was the perfect black sheep in her eyes. She wasn’t affectionate, didn’t hug, or show love as I grew up. If she did show to any my siblings, I never once saw it. I told myself that I would the opposite with my own children, if I were to be blessed by God and given the gift of children.

I was blessed with three boys and one daughter (from my second marriage). My first born died in utero (inside me), labor was induced, and Shane was stillborn. I was crushed, and in an abusive marriage. My second son, Gene, was born ‘blue’, but he rallied around and with the grace of God, he is now a machinist. Sam, my youngest, was born and I thought life would be good. I lavished love, hugs, and kisses on both boys, and eventually left their abusive father. However, Sam ended up passing away at age five years old. I was broken, and full of shattered shards and bits of life, as we know it.

I’m not the woman I once was… I’m not the mama I once was…

– Many of you on social media know that I’m not who I used to be.

– I’m different now… a different ‘me’. It has been this way since October 1990.

– When I remarried, my new daughter never got the chance to know the ‘me’ before the new me. Rachel – you never got to know the first ‘me’ before ‘the new me’. I’m sorry you never got to meet the ‘first me’ – you may have liked that ‘me’.

– When Sam died, and after the tubes were removed, I rocked him in my arms for about 20 minutes. My body was torn apart and I could barely even breathe.

– I kissed Sam’s corpse over and over, and messed up his lips (he had been intubated and required lip filler), and nothing was ever the same.

– I’m sorry to both my kids on Earth, Gene and Rachel, and to my husband, for always being there in my physical form, but yet now ‘really there’. Imagine a zombie mother living in the house and baking cookies yet she isn’t really ‘there’. A mother going to Boy Scout events, field trips, musical events, sports games, and the like, but one part seems missing.

– As each year passes by, I am more ‘there’ but know that moments do happen and always will happen. You see change is inevitable, and some parents change even more so.

– For us baby boomers who have lost, we also never had enough pictures, and never will. Thankfully the millennial generation, have tons of instant pictures thanks to electronics. Life has taught me that if you are a parent, just love your children, say it and show it every day. Spoil them from time to time, (as it doesn’t hurt to give a little sometimes), and those are moments to treasure. Don’t let only Valentine’s Day be a day of showing your love; make every day that day. You only have the here and now so make the most of it, and you won’t be sorry.


 “Does it get any easier after losing a child?  Somewhat…

Is it possible for a parent to be happy their child/children are perfect in Heaven above… and feel peace with that?  Sure… (It took me twenty-three years for Eli and somewhat less for Joshua.)

Can a parent ever “get over” losing a child?  No.  This is the KING of loss.  We can be happy that they are perfect in Heaven and sad at times when we miss them the most.

Bereaved parents are continually re-writing each day, as they try to cope with their new “normal.”  This won’t change.  We will think of our loss when other children reach milestones such as their first tooth, first steps, first words, kindergarten, holidays, best friend, graduation, prom, falling in love, first kiss, learning to drive, getting married… the list is endless. There will always be reminders of our loss.

The WORST things you can ever say to a parent who has suffered the KING of loss, even after one, ten, twenty, or more years?  “You should be over it by now,” or “Move on with life.”  You see, we are moving on with life. We just do it one hour… one day at a time… re-writing life as we go along.”

 ~S Jackson, October 2014

author portraitAbout the author

Mary L. Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson, and she is a retired registered nurse, who won the coveted Leora B. Stroup Bachelor of Science in Nursing Award for outstanding clinical performance, community involvement and academic achievement in Nursing Award, while at Fort Hays State University. She is a Member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: The international professional organization for writers and illustrators of children’s literature, and Sigma Theta Tau International: The Honor Society of Nursing, which is the second-largest nursing organization in the world with approximately 135,000 active members. She loves spending time with her husband, Michael, who is also her co-author, A. Raymond; their son Gene, daughter Rachel, and first born grandchild, Austin.

Find and follow Mary

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When Angels Flybook cover image

by S. Jackson, A. Raymond, & M. Schmidt

After surviving the cruel rage of tyranny from her mother and ex-husband, Sarah Jackson traveled a new path; a journey of loss, heartbreak, and ultimately strength. How do we survive the unthinkable, our child suffering from a terminal illness? Sarah Jackson’s life will teach you that despite all the hardships, you will survive, even if at times it feels like you won’t.

The story is a very moving account of the author’s life and most importantly the story tells of her son Eli who becomes sick with cancer and subsequently dies. The book is in four parts with the third part being told from her diary recounting the months of Eli’s illness and his passing away. The first two parts of the book set the scene and show how Sarah’s life has been hard with an abusive mother throughout her childhood and then marrying a husband who is also abusive. As I read I felt very much that the mother was a psychopathic narcissist at best and the husband was an abusive alcoholic who had no feeling for his family and his only love being the bottle. Sarah has a very hard road which many of us would not survive I am sure. Her faith though does give her solace and even though it wavered at times in the end does help her through. I enjoyed reading the book but not so much the diary format although this was a way of telling the story day by day. I admired Sarah’s love and devotion to her children and her loving heart comes through. How she managed to cope with the mother’s ongoing abuse through her son’s illness is beyond belief. ~ Julie Watson, Author

I downloaded this book because I saw it had won several awards, and I’m not surprised. Just about any reader who thinks they have had a tough time in life had better think again. Sarah had everything thrown at her, a mother who was poisonous to say the least, who then teamed up with her daughter’s abusive husband and neither of them gave her a moment’s peace as she sat by the bedside of her five year old son who was dying of cancer. Their behaviour was cruel, unfeeling and unforgivable. How Sarah coped is a testimony to the strength an individual can summon up in times of crisis – and this crisis lasted for seven months. Written in the form of a journal, we follow the progress of Eli as he lies in hospital. I didn’t understand some of the medical terms, but enough to chart how he started to improve then had yet another setback. The results of the autopsy were devastating. I highly recommend this book, it will make you count your blessings and realize that there are people out there who are brave beyond belief. S Jackson has my total admiration, a woman of courage and compassion and strength. ~ Books Best, Author

Available via Amazon





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Microfiction #writephoto: Tryst by Jane Dougherty

This is for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt. Inspiration didn’t come immediately for this one. When I started the story, hesitantly, just setting the scene, I didn’t know what tale the character was going to tell. I let her tell it in her own way, and she did.


We used to meet here every evening, just as the sun was going down. If my father had known he would have disowned me. If your father had known…I don’t suppose he would have cared. Your honour wasn’t at stake after all. The park was well kept in those days, and families would crowd around the bandstand on fine Saturday afternoons. Often we would see you, your mother’s arm tucked in yours, and you would tip your hat with a polite smile, but the twinkle in your eye was just for me.

The evenings were ours. Bats flitted back and forth between the shadows and the light in the sky. The moon lit our way through the crowding rhododendrons, and you would take me in your arms, so firm and strong, and we would kiss and make promises, hot and fervent.

Keep reading: Microfiction #writephoto: Tryst

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For Colleen’s tanka challenge

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#writephoto Destined To Meet by Pamela Morse

The long trek to the remote village has exhausted the group.  The backpacks grew heavy as they walked for miles in the woods.  They had all come to be part of a writers’ retreat designed to spark creativity.  The accommodations in the country were intended to take the group away from day to day concerns in order to concentrate on writing. Most of them came from big cities and were not accustomed to primitive conditions.  They were told they would need to pump water and carry wood, but this sounded more romantic at the time than it was when they started scouting for fire wood in the wet forrest.  The rain had drenched the woods, so all the wood was too wet to start a fire.  They had no wilderness skills, and were weary and wasted before they even started the weekend. The emotions were tightly wound before they even saw the bunk beds in the attic where they would sleep, dormitory style.

On Saturday morning they awoke to find no staff at the summerhouse.  There was a sign left on the screen door that said, “We have gone to town. Now you go to town.”  This naturally infuriated the writers who had come to be taught some kind of creative trick to unlock their talent. “Go to town?  What the hell does THAT mean?”  Left to their own devices, they scattered into space to figure out what to do.  Sitting under the shade of a large oak tree Emily spotted Eric.  He was wearing a velvet coat, leaning against the trunk of the tree, casually smoking a pipe.  She approached him with caution, but when she clearly saw his handsome face she was instantly smitten by this stranger in the woods.  She wondered why he was so calm, cool, and dressed like a person from a different century. He explained that these woods are haunted with the ghosts of writers who never pushed themselves beyond their limits.  They are the real ghost writers.  They can never be free because they dissed their muse while they were alive.

Keep reading: #WritePhoto Destined To Meet

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Unremarked, now…

Sun in Gemini


Unremarked, now, I was the way

Beneath which water flowed

Too deep for market’s harvest

Too deep for children’s naked feet

Too deep to be the path

Unremarked, now, the truth

That ancient numbers wrought

In circle-cousins’ arc

Would span the deep

And bring the bridging way

And did, reflecting here

That only dense and sheer resistance

Of those dark materials

Harvests now my mossy sleep

Beneath these wind-blown truths.

Unremarked, now, enduring

My invisible point of being

Waits beneath the stone…

©Copyright Stephen Tanham 2017

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#writephoto – Tryst by Helen Jones

helen-jonesThis week’s prompt for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge is yet another gorgeous photo. Here is my response:




Purple Sky

‘I’ve always loved this time of day’, she said,

Her hair shaded purple in the fading light.

Her heart distant as the hillside across the water,

Unreachable, unclimbable,

Indifferent as the rising moon.


‘I love the way it makes me feel’, she said,

‘As though my heart were breaking

Bittersweet, melancholy, wouldn’t you agree?’

All I could do was nod, silent,

My heart breaking with hers…

Keep reading: #writephoto – Tryst

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New directions

“I need to update you on bent-tail fish,” said my son down the phone. This could not be good. Poor bent-tail has been struggling with his infirmities for a while and we knew it could be only a matter of time. “The cat came in wet and it wasn’t raining… so I checked the pond.” Even worse then. The cat has seen bent-tail as prey for a while and, when he is exhausted and floating on the surface, the little fish makes an easy target for the feline huntress. I had visions of coming back from the north to a half-eaten fish and a well-fed cat. “I don’t know,” said my son, “whether the cat jumped or fell…but she was soaked… and bent-tail is fine.” I’m afraid that I grinned. Another round goes to the fish. It is, in spite of its less-than-usual shape, both resilient and resourceful… and the same can be said of my son.

Oh yes, he added, he had something to show me… but I would have to wait until I got home from the north… That sounded exciting. I wrote last week about his latest venture. After the initial experimentation that yielded the whole jittery duck saga, my son launched himself seriously into learning how to paint digitally. Nick’s hands cannot manipulate a traditional paintbrush with any accuracy. His dexterity was severely reduced by the insertion of a screwdriver into his brain with enough force to shatter his skull and the miracle is that he can do anything at all. Many of my readers know his story, so I will not repeat it; those who do not can read his story here in his own words. Between the initial injury and the way his brain swelled and bled, Nick’s body was damaged beyond repair. So was his sight. It is not just holding a paintbrush that should be beyond his skill, but he is as resilient and as he is resourceful; what he cannot do by the usual means, he will look for some way to do differently.

While he may not be able to wield a paintbrush, he can use a computer and with the advent of digital art, creativity can be unleashed, so Nick has spent the past few weeks learning his way around new software and experimenting. Digital art packages vary from the simple to the sophisticated. Some are merely automated tools that transform photographs into the semblance of art, others offer a set of virtual brushes and tools that allow you to paint from the imagination.

When the first such programmes came out, I was wary… was this art or just an acquired skill? Having watched my son and played with the programmes myself, I know that they can be used as either, but when you begin with a blank canvas, creating something new from your imagination that expresses part of your own being, then it is art.

I was curious to see what he had done. His photography alone has shown that he has an artistic streak. Even so, I admit that I was expecting something along the lines of a simple landscape as a first painting. The biggest fear with any new venture is that you will be unable to achieve your goal. For Nick, that fear carries the added weight of his injures… no matter what he may be capable of dreaming, his body may refuse to cooperate. Having the right tools for the job helps immeasurably and Nick has a talent for finding the technology that will allow him to surpass the limitations of his injuries. By using weird and wonderful contraptions that we invented in the kitchen, my son was able to use exercise equipment and regain strength and some control over his body. By finding a recumbent bike, he was able to ride again and raise money for charity. By working across a number of different platforms, he has found a way to express his creativity. And in doing so,  he has made me very proud. Again.

Five cracked and broken skeletal fingers reach up to an arching sky of red and black

‘New Direction’, a digital painting by Nick Verron

I am still trying to raise the funds to help pay for a new, off-road wheelchair for my son. The Mountain Trike allows Nick to go places he has been unable to go for over seven years. Please help if you can, either by donating to the Go Fund Me campaign or by sharing his story. You can read more about Nick by following the links by searching this site or on his own blog.

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