Help for the Grieving… Living After Loss


Mourning grief

When you are faced with your worst case scenario and you don’t know where to go… here are some of the resources, groups and ideas to help you along your new life on the grieving path…

This is a crazy ride, a long and hard journey and a road no one wants to travel- but you are not alone.  There are so many here, there and everywhere who understand your life now… they get your new crazy, your search for ‘new normal’.  There will be days, maybe many, when you don’t want to do anything, moments when you think you could die and hours when you will sit in a chair and feel like you are weighted into it, you feel so heavy.  There are others like you… and that fact is a ‘mixed helpful’ for my heart.  I can’t imagine anyone else having to feel this… but I find great comfort in meeting them and knowing that they are still alive, still living… still laughing, crying, moving, running, working, smiling, enjoying and remembering.

Helpful resources and ideas for your search for ‘new normal’…

  • Call your local Hospice.  They offer free bereavement counseling in groups, individual, programs for children and camps ( )
  • Compassionate Friends is another organization to support you on your grief journey (
  • Contact your local hospital- either the pediatric or other to see what kind of local grief groups are available.
  • Inquire at your Church to see if they have groups or people that might be there to help, maybe there is another family who can help, support or share about their journey.
  • Search for local Foundations or Organizations that provide grief support.  We worked with Haven Schenectady, but they are closing soon.  There are family Foundations whose specialized niche is grief, support and remembering (local in Albany, NY )
  • Reach out to your local YMCA, or similar organization.  Our family is very active in the Capital District YMCA and they have an amazing program for families with sick children and families who have lost a child to illness (Circle of Champs).
  • Find a good outlet.  There are so many feelings… confusion, anger, sad, heavy, tired, sick, crazy… find a way to stay active and safe.  For me I love to run and work out… I also love the quiet of doing art and projects.  Find your balance…

Keep moving… honestly… if I stop it is so hard to get moving again.  Utilize your people… they are there for you.  Take them up on lunch or dinner or help… you need it.  Let yourself have some bad, hard and heavy days then get up and move…

There is no secret to feeling less pain, no fix for this… if you have lost a child you will always feel their missing.  How else could it be?  They are such an important and huge piece of our families, hearts, time and life… how can life go on without that special lovely?  I often wonder this… and it has been close to two years since Madeline has been gone.  I don’t know how the world moves without her, I don’t know how we are still alive and I still feel much sad, hard, heavy and missing… but I have learned that tiny pieces of happy sneak into life… tiny pieces of knowing that they are okay, and not just reciting it for yourself and the world to believe, tiny pieces of a ‘new normal’ sneak into your days… not much and not fast but they do.  Once and a while I will be smiling and know that it is a ‘real smile’ and I feel a semblance of a ‘real feeling’… once and awhile there is a semblance of normal at the Musto House.

My biggest thought to send you off with is to reach out.  Reach out to other families that have experienced this… reach out to groups that take care of grieving families… REACH OUT.  We are not meant to travel this journey alone… we are all on this crazy, scary, sad, hard and different journey together…

Erin is wife to Matthew, mom to three lovely ladies- one of which just happens to be an angel, a real true angel.  Her daughter, Madeline, became an angel in February 2012 just 5 days after being diagnosed with DIPG, a rare inoperable brainstem tumor.  Most days she chases her lovely ladies, Amelia and Lucy, around as they grow, play and learn.  She loves running, being with family and friends and writing.

Her family has worked hard to create Maddie’s Mark Foundation to honor her lovely Maddie and to help other families faced with challenging illnesses.  In all of this Erin became the President of Maddie’s Mark and makes it her mission to share Maddie and her spirit forever.  The foundation has helped her family start to heal, meet families they needed to meet in this journey and remind the world to enjoy a life of ‘best days ever’.

Erin loves to write. She finds much therapy in writing her thoughts and sharing what she has learned.  She used to pride herself in knowing much about life and mothering… but feels that life and living and mothering have changed- that she has a bigger grasp on understanding life and living and parenting on her new journey accompanied with grief.

Read more of Erin’s story here:
Living Without: Loss of a Child
How to Help When a Family Has a Loss
September – Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month



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