From Loss to Life

This blog is written by SIDS America co-founder, Cheryl Darnell, whose son Billy died from SIDS. The thoughts reflected here come from Cheryl's heart to encourage others who are also experiencing the death of a child from SIDS. Her desire is that you might find hope and healing through her words and know that you are not alone.

Apr
9
2013
Cheryl Darnell

Jesus – The Counselor

An Exposition of Luke 24:13-32

By: Martie Spurgeon

 

Having lost our daughter to SIDS several years ago I have had countless opportunities to talk with other families who have also experienced the same loss. God has allowed my heartache to be a springboard that has allowed me to counsel other Mother’s who are walking through the deep grief that follows loosing a child.  After our daughter died from SIDS in 1997 I felt like my life had shattered right before my very eyes.  I lost my way.  I needed someone to come alongside and share with me truth – a counselor.   As the years have passed and God has healed my heart; He has placed within me a burden to be a counselor to those who are grieving and hurting. 

A few weeks ago as I was in church and listening to the message a passage of scripture became so clear to me.  I saw it in a whole different...

Jan
21
2013
Cheryl Darnell

Written by:  Martie Spurgeon

 

We talked about the benefits of planning and looking ahead in the New Year that lies before us.  The benefits are there for everyone; but the grieving parent can find that taking time to plan for the days and months that lay ahead is actually a huge step in the grieving process. 

We saw in the last article that planning benefits us because we are able to see that life really does go on even after the death of our child.  We also took some time to talk about the benefit of seeing the life does exist outside of ourselves and our hurt.  Taking time to plan can allow us to see that there are people that are hurting and need someone to come along side and help them.  This too, is a huge step in the healing process that takes place during the journey of grief.  We ended our last post talking about how it is beneficial for the grieving parent to see that life can be reconstructed even after it...

Jan
4
2013
Cheryl Darnell

Written By:  Martie Spurgeon

 God is a God of order and routine.  One of the greatest ways to see God delight of order is to view the changing seasons.  Everything follows a pattern.  We have spring, then summer, followed by fall and the winter.  The cycle continues - month after month, year after year.  Sure, we can have season that are mild or extremely hard – but overall we know that after one season follows the next and there is an anticipated pattern in the weather for each season.

God delights in order.  He has designed our bodies to function best in a consistency of order.  Can you imagine if there were no season changes?  How boring that would be!  Isn’t it nice to know that Tuesday follows Monday and that Friday comes at the end of the week?  Imagine if everyday was a Monday. Now that is a scary thought! 

Not only is God a God of order; but He has designed us and our bodies to...

Dec
12
2012
Cheryl Darnell

Holidays can be so difficult for grieving families. Festive cheer surrounds us, yet for those grieving such devastating loss, it can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness. Grieving families may not feel like celebrating, and others may or may not understand. The absence of our babies looms heavily over us, and we can hardly find reason to be joyful at a time that causes such deep pain. 

A mother from our Dallas Support Group sent me an email recently in which she referenced Luke 2:19 from the Bible: "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." It's right in the midst of the Christmas story- Mary is holding her newborn son in a humble stable, a mass of angels breaks through heaven to sing of the King who has come to save the world, and after shepherds witness the miracle themselves, they begin a mass communication effort to get the word out that God had come- as a helpless, human baby- to earth. Amid all the fanfare from the...

Dec
12
2012

Written by:  Martie Spurgeon

At Christmas time our thoughts turn to family.  The festivities and the nostalgia of Christmas causes us to remember memories of the past.  If your family life has been affected by SIDS, undoubtedly some of your memories this Christmas will be sad; and you may find this holiday season incredibly hard.Handling the holidays while grieving can be a challenge especially if your baby has died within the past three years.  So, how does a grieving parent cope with the added stress of the holidays while they are still grieving the loss of their baby?  Here are a few tips that may help you during this time of year.

  • Allow yourself to grieve.  While this may sound like a given, it sometimes feels wrong to be sad when the whole world is 'supposed' to be joyful and festive.  You do not have to be festive every day in December!  It is OK to cry and to miss your baby - even during the holidays!
  • ...
Jun
17
2012
Cheryl Darnell

Today I write to the dads who have suffered the death of a child to SIDS. I was inspired to write this by the love and concern of a very close friend of ours. Separate from her constant checking in on me, she would consistently check on Bill and ask him specifically how he was doing for over a year after Billy died. That meant so much to my husband, and it had a significant impact on his healing. Thank you, dear, dear friend. :)

 

Much attention, empathy, and sympathy is poured out to mothers upon the loss of a child. 

But what about the dads? 

Weeks after our son died, my husband commented, "There seems to be lots of support available for mothers, but I kind of feel lost as a grieving dad." 

 

It's not often we hear men talk about being sad. Men and women certainly grieve differently, but I wonder if our culture really even allows for men to fully grieve at all. Perhaps dads feel an expectation to hold...

May
12
2012
Cheryl Darnell

For all mothers who have suffered the death of a child to SIDS....

While many moms blissfully relish in the joys of motherhood today, there are also many mothers who face this day feeling empty, surrounded by empty.....empty arms, empty carseat, empty nursery, empty heart. How, you may be wondering, does a grieving mother possibly "celebrate" Mother's Day?

To answer that, it helps to look at a significant truth about becoming a mother.

God says in the following passages:

Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart...

Psalm 139:13-16: For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days...

Apr
7
2012
Cheryl Darnell

In general, most holidays can be pretty difficult to face when grieving the loss of a child. But Easter is different.

While it does not completely erase our pain, Easter brings the miraculous Truth that allows our hearts to heal and find hope in the midst of our trauma and tragedy. The Resurrection is a miracle for each one of us, and it assures grieving parents the hope of reuniting with their children again one day. I know the devastation of losing my son to SIDS. I cannot imagine the devastation I would feel if Christ had not taken my sins upon Himself and died so that I could live- in eternity- with Him and with my loved ones. 

The children's choir at our church this Easter morning sang a song that dates back 139 years. Even with a new melody/arrangement, the hymn's words are powerful and timeless. I've copied the lyrics to the song below, and you can listen to Aaron Shust perform it at...

Nov
23
2011
Cheryl Darnell

For those grieving the loss of a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), holidays can be really tough. Sometimes we simply go through the motions with the least exertion of effort, just trying to "make it through." And that's okay.

But it's also okay to enjoy the holidays. It's okay to find joy in other things while also deeply grieving the loss of your child. In fact, it is those sources of joy that will spark glimmers of hope and help bring healing to your heart over time.

When I consider the original "Thanksgiving," it was not a picture of family dressed up and sitting in comfy chairs in a central-heated dining room with a table decked with fine china, a perfectly roasted turkey, and an abundance of gourmet sides. Colonists gathered around their hand-built, humble, drafty log cabins with, sadly, many pilgrim family members missing. Half of the colonists were casualties of the previous harsh winter and diseases. And yet those who were present gave thanks. For...

Dec
8
2009
Cheryl Darnell

The following list might be helpful for parents grieving through the holidays.

  • Remember little things that were unique to your baby and share those memories with those close to you.
  • Bring out special photos of your child (it helps “include” your baby in your celebration).
  • Journal how you feel and how you have healed since last Christmas. (If it’s your 1st Christmas since your baby died, you may want to write out all that you are sad about missing.)
  • Plan ahead and discuss with other family members how you’d like to honor your baby.
  • Share your hesitations, fears, feelings, expectations, and plans with your family, especially those who you plan on being with during the holidays.
  • Make a list of what you normally do for the holidays, and cross out anything that you just can’t handle doing this year or that really doesn’t need to be done- go easy on yourself....