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.

Nov
1
2015
Cheryl Darnell

Today we would have been celebrating a new 8 year old in our home- Billy would be turning 8! There’s always some sadness with not getting to plan his party and reflect each year on how he’s grown. But I can honestly say that reflecting on my own journey of grief, I have experienced true healing- a healing that even brings an inexpressible joy.

 I’ve heard it said, “You’re doing better now because so much time has passed. God made time, and time heals. It’s not prayer. What does prayer really do? What’s gonna happen is gonna happen, whether we pray or not.”

I definitely agree that God has used time to help remove me from the intense, vivid, horrific memories and pain of holding my lifeless son in my arms and desperately trying to bring him back to life. Time has also allowed me to experience many new moments of joy again.

But I’d have to disagree with the idea that time itself has healed me. I disagree because of...

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...

Mar
13
2013
Cheryl Darnell

Written by: Martie Spurgeon

Psalm 46

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.”

What comfort this verse can bring to the grieving parent!  God is a refuge – a hiding place, a safe place.  How we long for that after our world has been turned upside down!  How we desire a safe place to hide.  I remember after our daughter died the fear that filled my heart.  Fear fills the heart of every parent who has suffered the unexpected loss of a baby.   This reality becomes crystal clear:  Life can change in an instant.  Everything seems uncertain and unsure.  This verse helps us to realize that God is there for us even when everything around us seems unsure and unstable.  God is not just a refuge; oh no, it is so much more personal that that!  He is our refuge if we are His.   

Not only is God our...

Feb
13
2013
Cheryl Darnell

“What time I am afraid I will trust in thee.”  Psalm 56:3

Written by:  Martie Spurgeon

We had loaded the family into the van and were heading up for a hike at a nearby mountain here in North Carolina.  Our youngest daughter had been so excited about hiking and had chattered about it all day long as we prepared for the time when Daddy would get home from work and we would go on our adventure.

The hiking destination is about thirty minutes from our house and the trip there was filled with talking and laughing and a general buzz of noise.  We made the turn to head up the mountain to the hiking trail.  On either side of the van we were surrounded by mountains.  It grew a little darker as the road narrowed.  Suddenly our youngest who was four at the time began to cry; and I mean really cry!  I was stunned and looked for something that had caused her pain or even a sibling who had caused her pain; but there was nothing.  “...

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
2
2013

 

Written by:  Martie Spurgeon

 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”   Jeremiah 29:11

 

Perhaps this is my favorite verse in scripture.  I can not say that for certain because I have so many ‘favorites’.  What I do know is that there is no other verse or passage in the Bible that I have turned to more and claimed more during a time of trial than this particular verse.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God does not think towards me thoughts of evil?  I am sure that one of the things that Satan desires most is for me to question God’s thoughts of me.  He brings questions to my mind during times of trial and hurt that are arrows of doubt aimed right at my soul.  Satan wants me to doubt God’s love.  He wants me to think that God is ‘out to get me’.  The...

Dec
18
2012

Written by:  Martie Spurgeon

A relationship with Jesus Christ changes everything.  I can not imagine going through the trials of this life without knowing that God is right there with me.  Have you experienced this too?  Have you wondered what it would be like to go through life without God?  Or, perhaps, do you wonder as you read this post what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ?

A relationship with God means that you know Him personally, like you know your family and friends.  It is not simply a knowing of Him.  So many times in today’s day and age we know of God.  We have heard of Him at Christmas time or we have heard of Him when we hear the Easter story each spring.  However, a personal relationship is more than knowing about God – it is personally knowing Him.

Do you know that God desires to have a personal relationship with you?  God desires it.  The Bible tells us that...

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...

Mar
19
2012
Cheryl Darnell

Many people are quick to offer prayer when they hear of tragedy, such as a child dying of SIDS. Perhaps it's because we all know that it's going to take much more than our human efforts to bring comfort and healing to those who are so deeply suffering. We know it's going to take supernatural power to hold parents together when they suddenly and horrifyingly unexpectedly find their child lying lifeless in his/her crib.

It is encouraging to know that our prayers are not in vain. We have direct access to the God of the Universe when we pray, and His Word promises that when we pray, He hears- and answers- our prayers. Jesus said in John 14:13-14, "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

Sometimes our most genuine prayers are uttered in moments of deepest desperation. God never said that prayer needed to be eloquent and wordy. Simply mustering the ability to...

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...