Can We Please Stop Joking About This?


Over the past 10 years, I’ve definitely gone through quite a lot of changes. Most notably becoming a parent to four children, leaving my career to care for my son, and ultimately losing him shortly after he turned three.

I’m relatively open about the story with my son. However, the things I experienced over our three years together have ultimately taken a significant toll. It has also changed my perspective on a lot of things. I find humor in many things and use it to cope through a lot. I’d often joke while we were in the hospital just to get through the fact that we were there for weeks at a time.

However, there is one thing that many people say or post on social media that I cannot get behind. Anything along the lines of, “At least I kept the kids alive!” There are memes, mugs, and even t-shirts that joke about keeping kids alive. And you know what, not everyone can, despite their best efforts.

My son at 7 weeks old.

While staying in the hospital, I saw a family come in every day for two weeks to be with their son because their faith didn’t support ending life-support from a freak accident. I watched families make decisions to end life-support, I saw little babies pass away, and teens as well. And ultimately, I woke up to find my son gone. But none of these parents failed at being parents because they couldn’t keep their children alive. A bereaved parent isn’t what anyone asks to be.

When someone jokes that at least the kids are alive, it insinuates that those whose children have passed haven’t done a good job as a parent. But in fact, many of them have done all they can to help keep them alive and well. Sometimes life has other plans, accidents and health issues happen, and we do our best to power through them. 

So let’s stop joking about them being alive and be thankful for the opportunity to experience parenthood.


  1. Beautifully expressed, Caroline. You always know how to approach the topic. Bereaved Grandparents would love to read this.


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