Grief: Thoughts from a Mother’s Heart



On Saturday, November 30, 2019, in the evening, my beloved son, Stephen, lost his battle with disease and flew into the arms of Jesus. He was 29 years old, born on November 25, 1990. Our family is all facing a grief we didn’t want.


How I miss his sweet smile, his hugs, his wit and wisdom! I miss the talks we had and the fun times reading books together. Although the last couple of weeks were hard, as he was in a lot of pain and couldn’t eat or drink much, I cherish the time I had with him.



I am thankful I could be with him in the hospital those last few days and hours. The day was not an easy day, especially after the doctor came in and told us the prognosis was not good.

After the doctor left, Stephen looked at me and said, “Mom, how are we going to get through this?” I told him I didn’t know, but God would go with us every step. Then I hugged him and prayed for us.

Later I sat in the chair and read a couple of Psalms to him from my daily reading. He reached over and grabbed my hand. I got up, went around to the other side of the bed so I could get closer to him. Then I hugged and kissed him again and we prayed.

His dad came back to the hospital that afternoon and we were both planning to stay that night with him. A brother, a sister and a niece also came to visit for a little while. Earlier I had shared with all Stephen’s siblings what the doctor said about the prognosis.



A little past 7:00 in the evening, just after the day shift nurses left, Stephen began having difficulty. He started to panic and I called the nurse. When the nurse didn’t come right away I called again and said we need them NOW.

The nurse began giving him oxygen right away. We both told him to breathe slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth. I turned his face toward me and kept repeating it as he breathed along with me. Slowly he seemed to respond.

But then he started slipping again, and I did the same thing. This time they called in the Rapid Response Team. They said everyone would have to leave the room, but I refused, telling them that Stephen needed me. The first thing they did was remove the oxygen tube and replace it with a mask.

I continued to stand beside him talking to him, caressing his forehead, loving him. His pulse was faint and his blood pressure was falling. They gave him meds to stabilize him enough to get him up to ICU. But I somehow sensed it was over already.



They instructed us to call his siblings and tell them to come. While we did that, they took him up and began to try to resuscitate him. We gathered in the ICU waiting room where they told us to wait.


Siblings grief
This was taken a few years ago when Stephen was still able to walk.


Finally, a doctor came out and said Stephen was not responding. He asked us if we wanted them to keep trying, but we realized that it would not be good. So they removed most of the equipment and let us go to him.

One of his sisters held his face in her hands, told him to come back, assured him of our love and that we were all there. In fact we were all telling him we loved him. He opened his eyes and turned his head. We knew he was trying to say something because he moved his mouth, but the breathing tube was in the way.

I like to think he was telling her he loved her, too. But maybe he was saying goodbye. After that we watched as the monitor lines went straight.



His dad and I and his six siblings surrounded his bed. Amidst the crying one sister, her voice breaking at times, began singing a lullaby she sang to him when he was a baby. Others joined in as they could. Then they began another song my husband used to sing to him at night.

Our two pastor friends who were with us prayed for us all, as did the hospital chaplain. We were allowed to stay with him as long as we wanted, which was a very long time. No one wanted to leave. I’m so thankful for my loving family and friends.



We all miss him so much. I’ve known grief before, but not like this.

A part of my heart is gone, missing from my presence. My son, whom I carried in my womb and gave birth to, is no longer in my sight.

But he is in the presence of God. He is free of his broken body with all its problems. There is no pain and he is filled with joy. I can rejoice for him and have a sure hope that I will see him again. We WILL be reunited one day and what a day that will be!



A tear silently rolls down my cheek as I sit here on the porch.  It is a beautiful day, albeit slightly cool. Grief is strong. I wish Stephen could be sitting here with me. But I don’t wish to take him away from the perfect place where he is now. I will hold him in my heart for as long as I live. His memory will never fade away.

I love you, sweet Stephen! I love you with a mama’s fierce love, and I will never stop loving you. Grief is strong, but love will get us through.



grief missing my son


Are you grieving today the loss of someone dear to you? If so, I pray that God will be near you and comfort you through His word and through friends who are near.




2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 


28 thoughts on “Grief: Thoughts from a Mother’s Heart

  1. Oh Gayle, I’m so, so sorry for your loss. May God hug you and your family tenderly to His loving heart and give you strength and comfort. Love and blessings to you!

  2. Dear Gayl, I am so very sorry for the deep pain you are walking through. You have written such a beautiful tribute to your dear son. He had such a compassionate heart! Even so close to the end he was concerned about how you all would get through this. I think that was his way of praying for you right there too. May those prayers and the comfort of God wrap warmly around you and your family now. Much love and hugs to you.

  3. Dear Gayl,

    I’m extremely sorry for your loss that can’t be replaced.However, he was relieved from all His pains and went to the Lord.May Lord Jesus Christ gives you and your family the strength and courage to overcome.

    Love and Prayers!

  4. What love was present in that hospital room: in your presence next to Stephen, your hugs, prayers and the Psalms. In Stephen’s concern for you all. In the pastor friends who stayed at your side. In the lullaby and song sung through tears. That fierce love in you is flowing so powerfully in your children too, Gayl. May the LORD surround each one of you now with that love, through each other, through His Word, the prayers and hands and feet of His Body, as you grieve.

    As I sat with your post just now, Gayl, the sun streamed in through my bedroom window. It reminded me of the verse from Malachi: “But for you who fear My name [with awe-filled reverence] the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go forward and leap [joyfully] like calves [released] from the stall.” That is Stephen now. I know that hope we have in Christ doesn’t take away the hole you will carry in your heart until you are reunited, but may God continue to embrace you in His sure and steadfast Promises every time your heart aches and longs for Stephen.

    1. Dear Anna, thank you for your love and prayers. What a beautiful verse to come to mind! Yes, Stephen is free now of all pain. And yes, it doesn’t take about the hole but it does give comfort to know He is whole and we will be reunited one day. Much love to you with blessings! xoxo

  5. So very sorry. I can’t imagine how you are feeling. Your chronicle of this time is so gently written, makes me certain of how gently your son was loved. I will pray for your family. Take it easy on yourself.

  6. Oh Gayl–my heart goes out to you. Both of my parents passed in December several years ago, but hard as that was, I think losing a child would be so much harder. I’m so thankful you could be with your son his last days and hours. May God bless and comfort you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Barbara. Yes, I lost my parents, too, and that was hard, but his is much harder. But God is good and we are being comforted. Blessings to you!

  7. Gayl, I so appreciate your sharing your thoughts and pain with us all. Stephen was blessed to have all of you loving him into the arms of Jesus. I cannot imagine the pain your mama heart must be experiencing and so, I pray for the Lord to bring you the comfort only He can. Grief is never a welcomed visitor, and none of us escapes its visit and pain. May God provide the tender healing your heart needs and wrap you in His arms with His unfailing love.

  8. I have an infant son Tyler in heaven.. my heart hurts for you.. I’m so glad you could be there with him his mother and his family at the time he left this earth.. so loved.. it’s comforting even in the pain and loss that God was with you all.. and one day we see them again.. Your precious son Stephen is with our LORD.. His peace is perfect in our grief.. I will pray for you.. God bless you and your family..

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry about Tyler. Losing a child is so very hard. Yes, I’m so glad I was with him and could help him so much. Amen, Stephen is with the LORD, and he is without pain and happy. Thank you for your prayers. Blessings to you! Love and hugs from one mom to another! xo

  9. Oh, Gayl, what a beautiful tribute you have written for your beloved son Stephen. It’s full of love, caring and a deep desire to glean something positive from your grief. And what a close and loving family you have too. they are a credit to you. You’re clearly holding on to hope for all you are worth. God is giving you the means to see the almost inexplicable joy that companions our sorrow and loss. It’s a comforting thought to know Stephen’s pain and suffering are at an end and he is with Jesus now. May God continue to heal your broken heart as He leads you through the necessary mourning and grieving processes. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Blessings and love. xo

    1. Sweet Joy, thank you so much for your thoughts. It really is comforting to know that Stephen is happy now and in no pain. It doesn’t make it easy for us here, but it is a real hope. We KNOW we will see him again. God is faithful and He is good. Thank you for your love and prayers, dear Joy. Blessings, love and hugs to you! xoxo

  10. I’m so sorry, Gayle. My heart aches for you. This is such a beautiful post. What a blessing that you were all able to be there with him, ministering to him in those last moments, and surrounding him with your love as he was ushered from this world into the arms of Jesus.

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