A Grieving Mother’s Request

The start to this new year has been hard for me. The gaping hole where Toby should be every day is magnified and the grief that I walk with each day seems heavier.

How can that be? I have no idea.

I read a comment from a loss dad yesterday that said it feels like “not that long ago, but an eternity” all in the same moment. Pretty spot on.

I haven’t written a lot over the past few months, specifically about my grief and living without Toby, but with these feelings overwhelming me daily, there’s a whisper telling me I should share what’s on my heart.

There are so many things happening with The Little Fox – Toby’s Foundation – so many exciting, overwhelming, BIG THINGS, and I find myself continually emotional that my beautiful, blue-eyed, boy is not here. And what would life be like if he was?

Ever since we started the non-profit six years ago, every door that has opened has proved to be a new opportunity to continue supporting grieving families. To be an advocate for our pain and the life we now live, without our children. Many of these opportunities have been scary – because they’re big things that require us to take big steps. And, as we step in to 2023, we are taking a leap and while all the tasks that need to happen to get us to this coming to fruition are sometimes overwhelming, I am honestly content. I know that where we are going and what we will do is going to change so much and help so many. But, I do think that my heart is overwhelmed at the reason for all this work – because Toby is not here.

We were gathering pictures for a timeline project Lucas is doing in school this month, from the time he was born until now. Going back through photos to 2014 and sifting through memories. I got to 2016 and there’s this huge gap. There’s no videos of Toby crawling or walking or in a swing outside. There’s no first sports team or words or Christmas mornings – none.

It’s so sad.

I had to pull this video for something I was working on today for the Foundation. I hadn’t watched it since May. I cried.

There have been so many opportunities to speak about Toby, his death, the good that has come from our pain – which seems unimaginable, and the families we have helped.

But you know what is so strange? There are many times that I listen to myself talking about our story – and I can’t believe that’s me.

I feel like I get lost in the story – our story – hell, I’m telling it – but my mind is thinking “this is so sad.” And then I’m quickly snapped back, with tears streaming down my face and I’m coaching myself back to reality: “This is YOUR life [that you’re listening to] and you can do it. Just take another step.”

There are still so many times that I cannot believe our son is gone. That we will never have another moment with him. That I can’t hug him or hear him. God, it is so painful and it’s been nearly 7 years.

If you haven’t watched this video, or, if like me it’s been 8 months since you have, do me a favor and take a few minutes for it.

Maybe knowing that so many people have heard about him today or seen his face will help my grieving heart this month?

Toby is so special. His life is important and impactful. His story helps other babies be remembered every day.

And as his mother, sometimes my grief is all-consuming. It doesn’t mean my desire to help other grievers has decreased or the love for all my boys is any less. It simply means that I’m in a season of grief where things are hard, his memory is so present on my heart, his void – so hard to accept, and I just need a moment before I’m ready to forge ahead.

Grief is so hard, but it is so necessary in order to have joy.


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