Hillary Clinton’s Condolence Note to a Newly Bereaved Mother

A member of the Modern Loss community reveals how the Democratic presidential candidate reached out.

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We’re pretty politically minded in our personal lives, but try to keep our opinions off the site. If you haven’t figured it out yet, though, we are big fans of anyone who provides comfort and compassion to someone dealing with loss — and especially a loss as devastating as a newborn who has died. In this case, that “anyone” happened to be both Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. And that “someone” was a member of our Modern Loss community, Mattie Bekink, whose daughter died on Thanksgiving 2014 at four days old. We hope you agree that this is worth sharing (you can read her full post here).

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton

In 2014 my baby daughter Elouisa died in my arms and my life changed forever. Waking up the morning after losing Elouisa was impossible. I didn’t know how to wake up, how to go on. I sobbed, overwhelmed by the immense, endless pain of our daughter’s death. That pain nonetheless revealed much about love, hope, all that matters. I decided to rise and rise again to the occasion of our living son, my husband, our family, our friends, life. In part because others rose for me. It was humbling and moving that my dear friend Chelsea Clinton left her then nine-week old daughter for the first time to come all the way to Amsterdam and stand with me at Elouisa’s memorial service.

As Chelsea was en route, I received the following email from her mother:

SUBJECT: So sorry

Dear Mattie,

When Chelsea arrives to be with you, she’ll be carrying my love and support for you, your husband and son as you go through this painful and challenging time.

If there is anything at all I can ever do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask, my friend.

Love, Hillary

I have countless stories I could tell about Hillary’s authenticity, her compassion, her grace under unrelenting scrutiny and mud-slinging, her determined work ethic, her trying. But her words in this message to me reveal more about her than any anecdote I could share. I have recently shared something personal on Facebook recalling Hillary’s compassion after our loss. I didn’t do so lightly, but in the spirit of remembering the great outpouring of love Elouisa released in her short life and remembering what matters.

Mattie J. Bekink is an Amsterdam-based consultant and writer. As President of Martha J. Bekink Consulting, she provides advisory services on institutional strategy, rule of law and human rights issues, communications, and China strategy.

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