I am printing this letter and my reply during this holiday season because I believe this man is not alone in his feelings of hate, anger, and regret. Maybe by hearing his story others will find understanding. I don’t talk about my personal spiritual beliefs unless asked, not the place of a professional caregiver. I think this letter was asking.

Dear Barbara,

This email may get a little long, please forgive me. Through the years I have never found anyone I could talk to, one that could truly understand but you!

I have written to you before, the latest being when I told you what it was like to watch my wife being forced to carry to term our anencephalic daughter.

This article "Stuck in Grief" also hits home because it was many years ago that she was born & died.

On that day, as I sat outside the delivery room, I cried, I prayed to both God & Satan they could have me, my soul, my being, any and everything of me either wanted if my daughter could just be normal healthy & whole. Obviously bargaining didn't work. So where was God & where was Satan? As you cannot have one without the other. How could a just, loving God allow this to happen to a child. So much for there being a just, loving God. At that moment I started hating God, Satan, preachers, religious leaders, politicians, everyone & Christmas. And years later I still hate the holidays, I hate Christmas most of all! I find absolutely no joy at all in any of the things to do with the holidays. As people bounce around with all their joyous b.s, they have no idea of the hurt & anger & heartbreak that is within me. And when you try to share they either don't want to hear or don't care because it doesn't affect them.

I asked my wife's doctor to allow me to view my daughter, which he did, but I could only stand & stare. He offered her hand to me but I couldn't take it (a decision which has haunted me ever since). I held my most prized bird dog as he was being euthanized so he would know he was loved & not alone for his final breath & yet I could not even hold my dead daughter's hand.

It was certainly not a very bright or fun Christmas time. And my own birthday was coming up just days after my daughter died. Every year I always say nothing good ever happens at Christmas & nothing ever does.

I don't remember ever sitting down with my wife, holding each other & actually crying. We allowed the hospital to use whatever was viable for donation or research after they performed an autopsy (at my request) so there was no funeral. That decision still haunts me too! I know I made the best decision I could at a really bad time but it doesn't make it any easier. So I guess the crying and venting you see at funerals as a way of relief I deprived myself of.

My wife did say that our daughter did come to her in a dream & tell her "she was fine & happy &...." How do you question someone's dream, it's her story who am I to call her a liar. But nothing like that has ever happened to me. So needless to say people who claim to have had things like that or that God performs miracles just make me want to scream at them that they're full of b.s.

People have said things happen for a reason, all these years later I still have never seen or been given any enlightenment as to why things happened. And to be honest it really ticks me off when people say it too.

I understand what it's like to be stuck & not able to get past something & have no idea of how to do it. Those who say just lay it down have never been through it. If they had maybe they could have a glimpse of that person's feelings.

People have told me "hating " is a waste of time & only destroys you. The people you hate don't know it, & they could care less if you do hate them, because it doesn't affect their lives.

I know all this to be true, but I just cannot stop those feelings of hate.

As I finish this long email I look at the clock & I know in a few hours it will be the anniversary of my daughter’s birth & death. The hate, anger, and sorrow is still there and it's there every year & won't go away.

I'll end this now with an apology & a thank you. Apologies because it is so long & thank you because you took the time to read it & most of all because you understand.


I am glad you feel comfortable enough to reach out to me during this life challenge that becomes more intense at holiday time. Here is my two cents worth: Personally I believe God is everything (no Satan, all God). I also believe that God does not interfere in our life lessons. The energy of God is like a wise parent that lets children work through their challenges, no right or wrong way, just easier or more difficult.

I don't know that there was a reason your daughter died at birth and I don’t believe that everything happens for a specific reason. I do believe there is a life lesson in everything that happens to us. For you, your wife, and your other daughter there was a lesson. The lesson was how to go on living when a dream is shattered, when life did not go the way you planned or wanted. That is the lesson. In looking back on your life it looks like you handled your lesson with hate (your words), guilt, and regrets.

It is not too late to examine the lesson, to rethink your reaction to it and to put all those tormented thoughts and feelings to rest. I am not expecting you to change but am saying you have the opportunity, if you want to take it, to reevaluate the lesson life gave you.

You may be thinking how can Barbara say these things to me, she hasn't experienced the loss that I have. She doesn't know what it feels like. BUT I do. I too had a baby girl, actually twin girls, die. They died in my belly a month before I gave birth to them. I knew for a month they were dead in my body. I did not see or hold them when they were delivered, no funeral. I delivered them, spent the night in the hospital and went home empty. I was just given a card with "Baby girl A and Baby girl B" written on it. I know your pain of anger, feeling cheated, wanting to blame someone other than myself.

What I have written to you is what I came to believe in order to move on with a healthy life.

In the Blog article "Stuck in Grief" I suggest writing a letter to the person that died and saying from your heart what you need to say that you didn't say before. I recommend that you write your baby girl a letter. Pour your heart out to her and offer to her your wanting to let go of all the negative feelings you have been carrying all these years. Tell her, from the bottom of your heart, how you want to be free of this heavy weight you have carried all these years.

You might also start a yearly ritual of blessing your daughter. On the day of her birth and death light a special candle and let it burn through out the day. Talk to her, tell her you miss the opportunity her life would have given you both. Then at the end of the day blow out the candle, put her to rest, until next year. Give it a try. I think you have carried this long enough.

Something More about... IT HAPPENED FOR A REASON? Death of a Child

My book My Friend, I Care is about the grief journey. It offers support and ideas on coping. I believe that bereavement and grief groups are powerful places to find tools as you process your loss.

Related products


Craig Hayek MD

Maybe not so much hate and anger, as there is guilt we feel. We feel like it was our responsibility to save our children from harm no matter what. I feel this man was very brave and seeing a much bigger picture when he donated his child’s organs to those still on this earth in need. In addition it is a very normal human reaction to not reach out to the hand or body of a deceased human. Ironically, as those around you “bounce around” oblivious to your pain, and indeed quite selfish, your daughter really is bouncing around happily in the perfect earth that awaits our extremely short stay here in the “proving ground” as I call it. I am not a bible thumper or religious zealot. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt paradise after death follows to those who believe, and Jesus loves children the most.

Jay Craig

Things happen for a reason only in the sense and because we live in a fallen world in which bad things happen to people. I believe seldom if ever God visits tragedy on people. When we suffer it’s because something earthly or Satanly caused it to happen. So, the only reason for it happening was something caused it to, but not God.


People say that everything happens for a reason in an attempt to be helpful and comforting. But I don’t think there is any reason that we can comprehend that would actually explain away such a profound loss.

But when it comes to feeling regret and guilt over things not done years ago, I believe there is something you can do that makes sense. And it may bring a measure of comfort. That is, if you regret not having a funeral years ago, then have one now. Invite the people closest to you to join you in remembering the one you lost. Share with one another the painful feelings that still haunt you. And at the end, say goodbye. I would use a babydoll to represent the lost baby. I would cradle the doll and tell my baby how I regret not holding her. Maybe I would sing a lullaby. And then put the doll away until the next year. I like the idea Barbara had of lighting a candle in remembrance. And I like the idea of writing a letter. But I would need to cradle that doll to release my grief.
I wish you all the best.

Emily Zell

My daughter died this September after a ten-year struggle with brain cancer. Her birthday was Christmas Eve. So I get how they holiday is too much to bear. She loved Christmas, so I have decorated the house a little. I miss her terribly. I was talking to one of her nurses because even going into the coffee shop where I used to bring her coffee from, makes me cry. The nurse suggested that I have coffee with her at home and talk to her every morning just like I did this last year. Sometimes I can’t talk and I write her a letter instead. I tell her what I’m going to do today or what I did yesterday or just how much I miss her or ask her for help figuring Something out. Just because I had her for 31 years didn’t mean I could always talk to her as freely as I can now that she’s gone. There was something special about that, that now allows me to connect with her in a different way. That nurse’s suggestion has helped me a lot. I know I got to have her for 31 years and you did not have a chance to know daughter. I am not woo-woo or a particularly religious type, but I ‘hear’ my girl give me suggestions and solutions to situations I get stuck in. She is my angel and I feel like she has my back. Maybe you can connect with your angel too. She’s there for you.

Elizabeth Bateman

While I didn’t lose a baby, the candle lighting and burning is something I do for my mother who died in 2005. I burn a special candle on holidays and on her birthday so that I may feel her close to me. At the very least, it makes me feel better. At the most, she is aware that she is being remembered and loved.

1 2 3

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published