Guest post : Living the Paradox of Life After Loss

English below

L’année dernière, à un moment particulièrement difficile de mon deuil, alors que la réalité de la mort de Paul me pesait de tout son poids, au sortir des premières semaines passées dans un brouillard qui avait adouci un peu le choc de son départ, j’ai entendu parler du projet de livre d’Emily Long, Invisible Mothers.

Emily souhaitait parler à des mamans n’ayant pas d’enfant vivant. Et moi, j’avais besoin de parler, de dire l’histoire de Paul et la mienne. Je suis heureuse d’avoir pu apporter une toute petite pierre à la construction de son livre, et je suis honorée de partager aujourd’hui un magnifique texte d’Emily, à la veille du lancement de son livre.


Last year, at a particularly difficult time in my mourning process, while the reality of Paul’s death really hit me after the foggy first weeks, I heard about the Emily Long’s book, Invisible Mothers.

At the time, Emily wanted to talk to mothers who had no living children. And I needed to talk, i needed to tell Paul’s story — and mine, as i was just coming to terms with his absence. I am happy to have been able to bring a small stone to the construction of her book, and I am honored to share a beautiful piece written by Emily, who will be launching her book tomorrow.


When my first daughter died, everything changed.

How I looked at life.
My level of trust in the goodness of life.
What it meant to be alive.
How I loved.
How I saw the world.
What I thought about myself and who I was.
My sense of security in the world.

It was as if I was suddenly caught in two worlds, forever living with one foot in each.

Love and Fear.
Life and Loss.
Grief and Joy.
Alive and Dead.
Beauty and Bleakness.
A mother and not-quite-a-mother.
Innocence and Innocence lost.

Life was moving on around me and yet I felt frozen in grief and loss and death.

For many years, it felt safer to stay on the sidelines of life where I didn’t have to ask so much of myself or risk the possibility of more loss and hurt.

I would run from one world to the next, always trying to find a place that felt protected and secure and certain. Deny the grief and fear and loss so perhaps it wouldn’t hurt so deeply. Then, when that didn’t work, flee the light and love and joy of living so I wouldn’t have to face the loss of it again.

Neither world seemed to fully fit and I couldn’t seem to find my place in either of them.  I couldn’t return to the world in which I once lived and I didn’t want to live in this new world I’d been thrown into.

It wasn’t until I wrote my book, Invisible Mothers, and started to share my story of motherhood, and those of others like me, that I realized I didn’t belong to one or the other.

I belonged equally to both worlds.

My world is the combination of the two. My place is the live in the paradox of life.

Living while Grieving.
Loving through the fear.
Feeling joy even in the heartbreak.
Seeing life beyond death.
Finding beauty in the darkness.
Mothering a child no longer here.
Trusting even after innocence is gone.

This paradoxical world of life after loss isn’t a world I would have chosen for myself – or for anyone else.
But, when I embrace it and let it be, this world can be one full of depth and richness and beauty.


Emily Long is the mama of two daughters gone too soon, a Life Archaeologist, coffee shop writer and consumer of bagels and hot cocoa, endless reader, lover of travel, and occasional hermit. You can find her in her hermit house re-reading Harry Potter (again).

You can find her new book, Invisible Mothers, at

Une réflexion au sujet de « Guest post : Living the Paradox of Life After Loss »

  1. « trusting even after innocence is gone »
    que c’est bien dit…
    et ce manque de naïveté nous suivra toute notre vie…lorsque notre fille, notre amie, notre voisine sera enceinte…

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