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.

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...

Jul
30
2012
Cheryl Darnell

"Where was God when my baby died?"

 

It's a question asked by nearly every grieving SIDS family. And I found an insightful response to it in a blog posted yesterday on CNN. The blog was also addressing the question, "Where was God?," in reference to the recent mass shooting spree in which a gunman took the lives of 12 people and left many others injured in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20.

 

Rob Brendle, the author of this particular blog, also happens to be the pastor who came to see us in the hospital in March 2008 as we held Billy, lifeless, in our arms. While I couldn't tell you exactly what Rob said because my mind was in such shock that morning, I will always remember the peace that held my heart when he spoke to us in that hospital room- and as he shared a hope-filled, life-giving message at our son's memorial service. The man is not just gifted- he cares about people, he listens to God, and he speaks to our minds the...

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...

Sep
20
2011
Cheryl Darnell

Songs can bring incredible healing, and when a song is inspired by the Word of God, which is living and powerful, it can minister to a broken heart like no other words can. One such song was sent to me just after our son died. I will confess, it took me about 3 MONTHS before I even took the packaging off the CD. People grieve differently, and for me, I was just very silent for the first couple months. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want to read any books about grief. And worship- which had always been "my escape"- my place where I felt closest to the Lord- now was extremely painful. I didn't know if I really believed what I was singing anymore. How could I worship or praise my God in the midst of wanting to blame Him for my tragedy?

Then I heard this song. I played it by myself in my room one afternoon. And I wept. For what seemed like hours. I played the song over- and over- and over. The words consumed me- and became my own cry- my desperate attempt to find the...

Aug
8
2011
Cheryl Darnell

For a family who has suffered the death of a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a great part of grieving their baby's death involves missing memories and milestones that never were....grieving the loss of the hopes and dreams you expected to experience with your child.

One such dream is the day you send your child off to school. Three simple words, "Back-to-School," can evoke a vast array of emotions and meanings for parents, but at the end of a long, hot summer, the general consensus among parents and kids is a feeling of anticipation and excitement. Yet the season can also cause great sadness to well up in the hearts of parents who have suffered the death of a child. 

Personally, I have some mixed emotions about it this year. Our "big girl" is entering Kindergarten, and boy have we been so excited about school supplies and school clothes. (never knew the delight that a pair of blunt scissors and a gluestick could bring!) 

But then I was...