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'You're still a mom': Celebrating Mother's Day after suffering loss

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Posted at 5:01 AM, May 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-09 08:08:22-04

INDIANAPOLIS — This week we are celebrating mom ahead of Mother’s Day.

For many moms this holiday can be hard, especially after the loss of a child.

Xander and Ziva Clark died on April 23, 2022.

The family of four was at their favorite campground when a tree fell and killed the eight-and nine-year-old.

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Xander was an old soul, loving, always laughing and a future scientist.
And Ziva, described as the determined one, adventurous, always on the move, destined to do great things.

Their mom Crystal Clark said the tragedy replays over and over in her mind.

“Xander was 9, Ziva was 8. they were 12 months three weeks apart,” Clark said.

She said her kids were inseparable, always together.

She said Xander was an old soul, loving, always laughing and a future scientist.

And Ziva, described as the determined one, adventurous, always on the move, destined to do great things.

“I would always say Xander would be the one to build the mountain and Ziva being the strong-minded determined girl she would be the one to move the mountain,” Clark said.

Their lives, cut too short on April 23rd 2022 when a tree fell on the family’s golf cart as they were driving through Indian Oaks Campground.

“The limbs hit the top of our cart slid off and then killed our two children,” Clark said.

“It's a feeling that you don't think is real. Like it doesn't feel real like why? Just to have these two precious children that were six inches behind you and next thing you know they're gone just gone,” Clark said.

More than a year later, Clark said she still wakes up feeling numb.

This is the last picture the family of four took together.

“Every morning waking up not hearing the giggles or the laughs or mommy. coming back to the house was extremely empty, quiet,” Clark said.

Their rooms, the same as they left them.

The living room becoming a memorial for the lives lost too soon.

“This is our Xander and Ziva wall. All the way from the top to the bottom shows who they were,” Clark said.

The Xander and Ziva wall showcases everything the siblings were and everything they could have been.

While the wall is filled with happy memories, Clark said the grief hits her randomly and all at once.

“Any emotion could come out at any time any trigger anything whether I would be angry yelling whether I would be crying whether I just stare outside and just look at nothing it just it's a feeling that never goes away,” Clark said.

She said time won’t heal her wounds, she’s just learning to cope with the pain.

“I don't think that it gets easier. I think it's more that you've felt the feelings for so long that you understand better and how to tolerate them or approach them as you feel them coming on,” Clark said.

Crystal Clark has added many messages and memories from children to carry with her everyday.
On Clark's arm, the last picture Ziva drew of her family.

As she prepares for her second Mother’s Day without her babies, she has this message for women feeling the same heartache

“You're still a mom and it's as much as it hurts, your children would still want you to celebrate that,” Clark said, “that day and that time you can remember every Mother's Day and you can remember their faces and their laughter and it's just you'll always be their mom no matter what.”

She continues to get up every day to live, for them.

“People ask, ‘I don't understand how you get out of bed every day?’ and it's just because we don't want to disappoint our children. They never knew us to ever give up or ever stop or ever slow down and so why would we want to do that with them not being here?,” Clark said.

And she finds comfort in knowing her kids are still together.

“Their time of death is that Ziva passed at 2:10 and Xander passed at 2:32 and I just feel you know Ziva, being Ziva, saw Heaven thought it was just such a beautiful place. Xander didn't want to leave his family because that's that was his happy place, but I feel Ziva finally said ‘Bubby it's time to go,” Clark said.

"Hugs from Heaven"

This weekend on Mother’s Day her and her husband plan to plant flowers, something she always did with her kids, and it also gives her something to nurture all summer long.

Clark is giving purpose to her pain. She started a campaign to remind all of us to check for and remove dead and dying trees.