As a parent, losing a child is the worst thing imaginable. You wonder how life can possibly go on if anything happens to them.
But that’s exactly what happened to Ryan Saldana’s parents. The couple were shattered when a truck struck and killed their three-year-old son outside his cousin’s home in California three years ago.
In her grief, Ryan’s mum, Jacqui Saldana turned to her blog Baby Boy Bakery to share her loss and heartache.
‘I can still smell his hair’
Jacqui started the blog when Ryan was a newborn to capture his childhood moments and share stories about motherhood. But after his death she wanted to continue his legacy and inspire others.
“If I lay still and close my eyes I can still smell his hair and feel my arms wrapped tight around his soft warm being,” Jacqui wrote, in her heartbreak.
“I have decided that this entire site, everything you see me do here online is all devoted to Ryan and all the things he loved. It is my responsibility as his mother to honor Ryan in all that I do, until I join him.
“I hope you can catch a glimpse of just how special Ryan was here and through my entire space online. I hope you can see Ryan within your own child and that you live loud and wild just as he would.”
Jacqui has poured her heart out, sharing how she worries about whether she can still call herself a mum if her child is dead and how hard it is to go on, even months and years after his death.
“My dark side questions everything and sometimes it can get hard fighting the negative thoughts. Sometimes I fight them and try to keep busy. Sometimes I let them consume me and I end up in a fog for the day. I am trying really hard to train my thoughts into reliving all those tender moments of Ryan’s birthday instead of replaying all the panic of his death day,” she writes.
It’s these emotional words and comfort that Jacqui’s blog gives to other grieving parents which brought it to Ellen’s attention.
Watch How Ellen Surprised This Grieving Mum
“There is someone in our audience today who we invited to our show, because she’s going through a very tough time, and I want to meet her.” Ellen said, welcoming her onto her chat show with a giant, heartfelt hug.
The chat show host was already close to tears as she introduced the brave mum.
“I’m trying to keep it together right now because you’re amazing. You inspire me and what you and your husband have gone through, losing a three-year-old child, I can’t imagine,” Ellen said.
An Inspiration to Others
Ellen went on to share some letters with Jacqui from other grieving parents who found comfort in her blog:
‘Everyone has been writing to us. We got a letter from someone North Carolina, from Maryland, from Florida. Everyone telling me about your blog and how much it helps them.
And I know that what you have lost is something you can’t ever explain or imagine. Know that you are helping a lot of people with your blog.”
Helping a family heal
Since that emotional appearance on Ellen back in 2014, Jacqui and Dan have had a daughter, Mila.
“I think of Ryan looking down on us. Watching Dan and I. I imagine him smiling and laughing at his little sister. I think of him coming down however angels do, to give her kisses and to whisper mischievous ideas into her ear,” Jacqui writes.
“I believe they have a relationship far beyond what I can even imagine. These thoughts, they help me. They also frustrate the crap out of me. They remind me how upset I am that I have to live out my two children with one in my arms and one far from my reach. But, when I look at Mila and see hints of her brother. When I see her growing up into her own tiny, extremely happy self I feel lucky. ”
Jacqui Saldana isn’t the only mum channelling her own heartbreak to help others. Perth mum Sky Quartermaine lost her toddler in a terrible accident and is bravely pushing to change Australia’s rental laws to keep other kids safe.