HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — This week Stephanie Hogan sat in a room at Starlight Ministries where she is the program director and talked to a group of people who had lost a loved one.
When she spoke the words, “it’s Mother’s Day this weekend,” she said, every mother in the room started crying. They had all lost a child, and the holiday is not the celebration for them that it is for so many other families.
Hogan knows their pain because she lives it, having lost her own daughter, Keyan when was 12 years old.
“I had done Christmas, I had done Thanksgiving and I didn’t really expect Mother’s Day to be as hard as it was,” she explained of that first year without her daughter.
Keyan was one in a quadruplet of girls with an older brother. Hogan said Keyan had health issues her whole life and died of multiple organ failures. She is still a huge part of her family’s lives and they don’t want people to forget her or how difficult certain days can be.
“You let people in your life know this is a hard day, you say it because not everybody thinks about it,” she said.
Hogan gave advise for what others can do for someone who is grieving on a holiday like Mother’s Day.
“One of the big things is just to acknowledge that Keyan existed, that she had a life… saying her name. Those text messages from people who will say thinking of you today, I’m sure today could be hard, I hope it’s good, anything like that,” Hogan explained.
She also said friends and family should expect bereaved moms to be emotional and don’t put expectations on them, including that they should bring the main dish, show up to church or appear happy during a family gathering.
“If you have a bereaved person in your life, a bereaved mom for Mother’s Day, if you can just say ‘I’m so sorry, I know you must miss Keyan,’ and just leave it at that. That’s the best advice I can give,” she said.
She also says for those who have had pregnancy loss to acknowledge those losses as well and keep in mind you may not always know about them as not every woman shares that information.
More information on how Starlight Ministries helps grieving families can be found online.