November 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life lessons, normal? | 17 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thank you Brooke from by the brooke for writing about the book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.  The book is written by Cheryl Strayed, who was formerly the anonymous online advice columnist, Dear Sugar.  The book is a collection of letters written to Dear Sugar and her responses.

One letter is from a bereaved mother, Stuck.  Stuck’s baby died.  I want to share the wisdom that Sugar so powerfully offers.  The following is part of the advice that Sugar wrote to her:

Dear Stuck,

I’m so sorry that your baby girl died.  So terribly sorry.  I can feel your suffering vibrating right through my computer screen.  This is to be expected.  It is as it should be.  Though we live in a time and place and culture that tries to tell us otherwise, suffering is what happens when truly horrible things happen to us.

Don’t listen to those people who suggest you should be “over” your daughter’s death by now.  The people who squawk the loudest about such things have almost never had to get over anything.  Or at least not anything that was genuinely mind-fuckingly, soul-crushingly life altering.  Some of those people believe they are being helpful by minimizing your pain.  Others are scared of the intensity of your loss and so they use their words to push your grief away.  Many of those people love you and are worthy of your love, but they are not the people who will be helpful to you when it comes to healing the pain of your daughter’s death.

They live on Planet Earth.  You live on Planet My Baby Died.

It seems to me that you feel like you’re all alone there.  You aren’t.  There are women reading this right now who have tears in their eyes.  There are women who have spent their days chanting daughter, daughter or son, son silently to themselves.  Women who have been privately tormented about the things they did or didn’t do that they fear caused the death of their babies.  You need to find those women.  They’re your tribe.

I know because I’ve lived on a few planets that aren’t Planet Earth myself […]

This is how you get unstuck, Stuck.  You reach.  Not so you can walk away from the daughter you loved, but so you can live the life that is yours — the one that includes the sad loss of your daughter, but is not arrested by it.  The one that eventually leads you to a place in which you not only grieve her, but also feel lucky to have had the privilege of loving her.  That place of true healing is a fierce place.  It’s a giant place.  It’s a place of monstrous beauty and endless dark and glimmering light.  And you have to work really, really, really hard to get there, but you can do it. […]

You will never stop loving your daughter.  You will never forget her.  You will always know her name.  But she will always be dead.  Nobody can intervene and make that right and nobody will.  Nobody can take it back with silence or push it away with words.  Nobody will protect you from your suffering.  You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away.  It’s just there, and you have to survive it.  You have to endure it.  You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.  Therapists and friends and other people who live on Planet My Baby Died can help you along the way, but the healing–the genuine healing, the actual real deal down-on-your-knees-in-the-mud-change–is entirely and absolutely up to you. […]


I have been living on Planet My Baby Died for 7 years.  I do not know if there is a separate Planet for when a second child dies.  If so, I have been on that Planet for almost 3 years.  Either way, here I am trying to live.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. I really like this Lanie and we are all here with you. xo

  2. Lanie, as a friend on planet earth I want you to know that I am awed by you, your strength, your love for your family. I will always be here to talk about whatever planet you want to. I may not always know what to say to you about Jake and Sawyer but I think of them whenever I think of you and the rest of your family. Talk to you soon.

  3. Dear Lanie – You are living – with pain – but you’re living your life and sharing it with your twins. May you all enjoy vacation from school, Hannukah and being with family!
    I send love to all of you.

  4. Wow. That is so powerful. Thanks for sharing. I agree entirely with Joanna. I am awed by you and all that you do for your whole family. You can do it Lanie. I absolutely and totally believe in you.

  5. this was a very moving post – I really admire your strength and courage, you have experienced loss like no one else I’ve ever encountered. That you go on every day – living for your husband and children is a testament to how strong and courageous you are. I wish you peace. Sending love and prayers to you from NY

  6. Thanks for sharing this letter. Interesting way to put it…on Planet My Baby Died…or Planet My Child Died…have been on both. It’s an accurate description.

  7. As you know, I am so proud of you. I always knew I could never feel the depth of your pain but I always want you to know that I am here for you and Evan. Keep moving towards your happiest dreams. I have never had to experience such a loss but I can still feel the power of the message of this book. xoxo

  8. Wow, that was tough to read, there were parts where I thought “I am there” and then the part when she talks about how there is nothing you can do and nothing can be changed hit me hard. I think it will always be hard to grasp that fact that the death of our babies is final. Hugs to you as we manage our way through this planet.

  9. I wish the Dear Sugar column still existed. I could learn a few things from her. Thanks for sharing.

  10. That was incredible and spot on. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I know just what you mean about the way the letter feels like it’s helping you to heal and breaking your heart all over again. I’m glad you found something in it that spoke to you — it was too good not to share.

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your two babies.

  12. Lanie this is so very powerful. Thank you for sharing it. Much love, Debbie

  13. Lanie,
    This really affected me. Thank you for sharing this. I am so sorry for your pain and really wish that none of us lead to live on Planet Dead Baby.

  14. I get it…

  15. Fantastic! Such a great letter. I’ll have to repost…

  16. […] life seems more out of control than I would like.  I just need to realize that is all part of life and hold […]

  17. […] am struggling to find a happy place today.   So, I thought I would try to cheer myself up by sharing some things […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: