Page 25 - 2016 Autumn-Winter Issue
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happiness in every moment, the feeling that we are right            ‘gravitation’. It is a force with weight and heft. Once engaged,
where we need to be.                                                it can be redirected.

FAITH: from “my will be done” to “thy will be done”                 When Hannah was first diagnosed, one of her doctors

Three months after Hannah’s death, I stood by the side of           gave us good advice. He said, “Remember, no matter

a road, prepared to take my own life. I was not afraid of           what happens, make the best decision you can with the

death; no matter what happens Hannah is already there. As information you have AT THAT TIME.” Of course, we
a truck approached, I suddenly became aware of my lungs would change things if we knew then what we know now.
                                                                                There is no solace in
breathing. I forgot about
                                                                                blaming ourselves and
the truck and focused      There are no words to describe the space             others for not knowing.
on my breath. I realized

that something in me       left absent when a child dies. The love you          Although I sometimes
is still choosing life. I   feel has nowhere to go. The longer your             have less patience for
stayed alive to find out     child is gone, the more you miss them.             other people and their
why.                                                                            problems, I see each of

There are no words         This missing becomes a part of you.                  us is a unique lens in
to describe the space                                                           a shared experience.

left absent when a                                                              Compassion softens

child dies. The love you feel has nowhere to go. The longer our gaze and allows us to appreciate new perspectives.
                                                                    When we reach beyond our specialness, we realize we are
your child is gone, the more you miss them. This missing
                                                                    not alone.
becomes a part of you. In my grief, I began to explore

other religions and belief systems, hungry for validation           WONDER: from needing to know to letting go
of life after death. The God I believe in now is not the God
that I grew up with. Though Christianity remains the first          There was a house in our little town which was painted
language of my faith, I now see threads of truth connecting         pink from top to bottom. Hannah loved this house. In the
many understandings. For me, God is a force of a thousand           last year of her life, each time we passed it, she would say,
names and one love. Hannah’s spirit lives on as part of             “That’s where I am going to live!”

everything.                                                         A year and a half after Hannah’s death, my daughter
                                                                    Madelaine was born. One day, when Madelaine was almost
Strange comfort this holding of everything in one place. Yet        three-years old, we were driving to the grocery store.
I see an intelligence beyond imagining which orchestrates           Suddenly Madelaine started shrieking from the back seat, I
life and nature. While it is painful to accept Hannah’s             turned to see what was happening and saw her pointing to
death, I also see her life making a difference in this world.       the pink house. “Mommy,” she exclaimed, “That’s the house
Someone once described the earth as the planet for slow-            where Hannah and I played in heaven before I was born!”
learners. Faith trusts and breathes when it’s all we can do.
                                                                    I had no idea how she knew, and in that moment I didn’t
COMPASSION: from specialness to belonging                           need to. Hannah’s death opened me to realms I never
I do not know why Hannah died and other children didn’t.            knew existed. Having watched my Father and my daughter
At first, I felt a sense of specialness. No one could know the      take their last breaths, I remember a peaceful presence
depth of my pain. For a while, I didn’t want to speak with          entering the room. This energy called life is where I feel our
anyone unless they had lost a child. Gradually, I began to          children’s presence is, and their spirits still make themselves
connect with other people.                                          known.

Forgiveness is key throughout the journey of grief:                 Maria Housden is a lecturer and author of HANNAH’S GIFT: Lessons
forgiveness of those who live and of those who die. As I            From A Life Fully Lived (Bantam 2002) and Unraveled (Harmony Books
learn to forgive myself, I find it easier to forgive others.        2005). She has been featured on the Today Show and Dr. Phil. Her first

Our intent in harnessing grief makes transformation                 book, HANNAH’S GIFT, the story of her daughter’s life and death from
possible. ‘Grief ’ shares the same root as ‘grave’, ‘gravity’, and  cancer, is being made into a full-length feature film and is translated in 16
                                                                    languages. Email:

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