Amaria Edwards

What Amaria didn’t say…A child’s greatest loss

Nearly two years after Amaria’s death, I discovered an assignment she had completed during her freshman year of college.  

Astonished by my daughter’s accurate recollection of the details from her father’s death she gathered at such a young tender age, a realization came upon me.

Although children struggle with articulating their feelings audibly, they experience and are overcome with grief at 100%.

Here’s a written piece of Amaria’s internalized unspoken pain.

(No edits have been made to the text, so there may be a few typos or grammatical errors as I am posting this exactly as it was written).

The Last Day

“The worst day of my life happened when I was seven years old. The piercing sound of my alarm had startled me, as I awoke out of my sleep. Annoyed I snatch Cinderella alarm out from the wall and began to doze off to sleep again.

“Amaria!” my mom exclaimed, “We’re gonna be late fooling around with you!”

So I jumped out of bed, as I rushed to put my clothes on. While Somehow managing to beat her to the car, I realized it was 6:20am and not 7:20am. 

When she finally met me at the car I asked her “Why are we up so early?’ “Did you change my alarm?’ 

She reminded me that we were going to see my dad before school today, since she had a meeting after school. So, I sat in the backseat with my pocket sized mp3 player and headphones listening to whatever a seven-year-old girl listened to a decade ago. After finally arriving at Hospice, we walked through the doors as I was met with chills running down the back of my neck while waiting to find out what room my dad was in. 

“Room 24A” the nurse said, as she pointed down the hall.

As I began the long walk down the hall my heart was racing as though I had just run a 5k marathon. I was trying to aligned my feet between the tiles, making sure that I didn’t step on any cracks as I moved in slow motion to my dad’s room. 

As I looked up, my heart sunk inside my soul as though I someone had pushed me into a virtual reality, and there my dad was with tubes all over his face, and patches all over his body, and a huge tank along his bedside that held the oxygen. The man I knew to be my dad was almost unrecognizable as his bones protruded through his skin, it looks as though he was struggling with anorexia. He wasn’t really talking, I think he mumbled once. My mom was talking to him though, letting him know we were there and that I was going to school, and all the basics. She confidently told me that he was listening to us. But as a seven-year-old that wasn’t assuring enough, being that I had never seen my dad in such bad condition. So as the time was winding up, I gave him a hug trying to be gentle as possible, in fear of hurting or breaking him. My mom told me to hold his hand. 

amaria holding her father's hand

As I held his hand, I told him I loved him

My mom said, “Marc squeeze her hand to say I love you.”

He actually was listening because he squeezed my hand. It warmed my heart.

I thought to myself,my daddy is getting better! I Can’t wait until we can get him out of this place. 

Finally, I had arrived at school with two minutes to spare before the bell would have rung. I rushed out of the car and hurried to my class. A few hours past, our class discussion was interrupted by a call of the intercom. 

Amaria, you’re leaving sweetheart,” said Ms. Benson.

So I gathered my things as my heart began to race again and exited the class. When I arrived in the office I was overwhelmed with confusion, as I saw a perturbed look on their faces. 

Out of curiosity I asked “Are you guys okay?’ Of course they gave the typical response, “I’m fine.”

The energy in the room became wilted as I quickly came to the realization that I would not be receiving good news. I entered the car silently and prepared myself for the worst. My mind began to race as I thought about my father’s condition. All I could see was that my Mother was in a state of shock. As we pulled up to Hospice, the familiar place made all the negative thoughts cloud my mind. As the car was parked, we all began to rush inside. My Grandfather pulled my mother to the side and told her not let me go inside. My Grandfather took me to go get some ice cream that was nearby. While getting the Ice Cream, I became very nervous and skeptical, because all I wanted to do was see my dad. It was like I could predict what my grandfather was about to say. The silence made me feel very uneasy. As my grandfather began to speak with hesitation in his voice. I could feel my heart drop as if I was riding a roller coaster. 

“So, you know how when people get really sick? Your dad isn’t going to be back for a while.” 

Still in confused because of the vagueness in my grandfathers’ words. I abruptly asked, “Is he dead?” 

In his disappointment he muttered “Yes.” 

At that moment, I was in severe shock, and couldn’t stomach the news I was just given. Even though I suspected this news after all of the weird behavior, it was still hard for me to comprehend that he was truly gone. My eyes began to flood with tears. I couldn’t sustain the tears any longer. I began to bawl my eyes out.

Amaria and her step-dad Solomon Mitchum
Amaria with her step-father Solomon Mitchum

Later that night as I laid on the couch with my mom, both of us not being able to mutter any words. I finally came to the realization that my life would go on with no father. The thought of that was gut wrenching and shattered my heart. That feeling still comes up every now and then, even to this day. Slowly, I’ve been able to glue it back together with the help of my step father that stands in the gap of my biological father.”

If you have a child struggling to cope with, understand, and grieve a loss of any kind, please reach out. I offer a Grief Recovery Method group on “Helping Children With Loss.” This course is designed to teach parents, and others who work with children, necessary tools to help children effectively deal with their broken hearts, no matter the loss they are facing.

Free Grief Ebook Download
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Yolanda Mitchum

Hi, I’m Yolana.

I help those struggling with grief and loss learn valuable, evidence based tools to move forward. Together with a faith-based holistic approach to healing, you can not only survive, you can THRIVE!

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