Mom whose son died 15 years ago shares words of hope and comfort for those who have lost loved ones

Clare Mackintosh, a former police inspector and international bestselling author, is known for her twisty thrillers. But behind the scenes, she is a mom of three who has suffered a painful loss.

15 years ago, she lost her son to brain damage caused by meningitis.

Clare, now 45, loves being a mom to her three children, but that doesn’t mean she has forgotten her late son.

“I think of him every single day,” she said in a 2019 interview with The Herald.

Clare Mackintosh

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As they say, people never really recover from the grief of losing a loved one—they just learn to deal with it. Clare understood that all too well, so she decided to share some comforting words with those grieving a loss.

Clare Mackintosh

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“My son died fourteen years ago today. If you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, I have some promises for you,” she wrote on Twitter in December 2020.

She went on to list down her “promises.”

“I promise this will not always be the first thing you think about in the morning.”

“I promise you won’t always lie awake at night, sobbing until you can’t breathe.”

“I promise you will not always feel that hard lump in your throat, like grief is a rock that cannot be moved. It can.”

Clare Mackintosh with her three children

Instagram

“I promise those waves of grief that knock you off your feet will become smaller, less violent. You will be able to stand and let them wash around you, not over you.”

“I promise walking won’t always feel like you’re dragging your legs through treacle; breathing won’t always be something you have to remember to do. You will do both these things effortlessly again.”

“I promise you won’t always be winded by someone else’s happiness – their social media updates and photographs. You will smile and feel glad that they have something so special, and that you once had it too.”

“I promise you will be able to say their name without crying. That you will share a memory and feel wistful; sad, but not broken.”

“I promise you will not always have to take the day off work on anniversaries, because you are unable to function. You will find something special to mark it, or you will treat it like any other day, and either is okay.”

Clare Mackintosh with her husband and three children

Instagram

“I promise it won’t always hurt like this.”

“Fourteen years ago a woman made me these promises, and I didn’t believe her. I sobbed silently as she told me how the years had healed her, and I thought she was wrong. My grief was different.”

“You’ll think I’m wrong too, but in fourteen years’ time – or twelve, or five, or nine… – you will realise the rock of grief in your throat has washed away, and you will make these promises to someone else.”

“Until then, be gentle on yourself. Grief can’t be rushed, and this is a particularly hard year in which to suffer a loss. Much love to you.”

Thank you, Clare, for sharing these beautiful words of comfort.

If you know someone in need of these reassuring words, please share this story with them.

You can follow Clare MacKintosh on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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