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The death of my son was not my end.

The death of a baby is something that I truly do not wish on my worst enemy. It will be 8 years this October, and some days it seems like yesterday. In 8 years, I have watched my life transform to becoming the person that I was meant to become.

You see, when a baby dies. Your world is flipped upside down. The devastation and heartache shatters your core, and you simply feel like you have no purpose in this world. I will tell you that on the day that I heard the words "There is no heartbeat" I felt that I would never see the sun shine again.I believed that Bentley's death was my end. The death of my son made me analyze every decision that I had made to that point, and it shaped the way that I've made every decision since then.

I have learned that Bentley's death was not my end. The sun did shine again. And, here is the way I describe my journey. There is Stephanie before Bentley, and there is Stephanie after Bentley. I believe that many , if not all, loss parents can relate to this parallel. It can be tricky, this is often why I think we feel so transformed through our grief.

When I see that there was a before me and after me, there was nothing "wrong" with me. My perspective changed. I will say that I was and am not ever looking for a way to justify Bentley's death. It is something that I simply can't change, and in my heart, I don't believe anyone else could have either. When I explain the parallel of life after loss, I simply mean that Bentley's death allowed me to perceive the world in such a way that it created purpose for my life.

The Stephanie prior to Bentley's loss was comfortable to make her own decisions.I often wandered this world without a sense of purpose seeking ways to fulfill myself. And, on my emptiest day, I felt the most complete. Ironic, huh?

The emptiness filled my arms, but the love that filled my heart allowed his death to not be my end. The love that I had for my son that was stillborn was overwhelming. It was enough to say that I didn't know why this was happening, but I knew somehow someway that his life would have an impact on this world, even if it was just mine. He was my whole world.

As time has passed, my arms still ache for Bentley. They always will no matter how many children may hold my hands. You see, the love that I have for Bentley, the heartache that his death caused almost 8 years will never go away. The achy arms will be there, but what I have been able to do is continue to be Bentley's mom. I've been able to take all the love that I hold in my heart for Bentley and live my life in honor of him. My choice to continue to live, to continue to love, and to continue to have hope has allowed me to live out Bentley's legacy.

My son died, yes, but his legacy continues on. His death was not my end.

I challenge you to reflect on your own loss. What has the loss of your baby taught you?


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