At a Loss For Words

October 30, 2009
Cheryl Darnell
Grief, SIDS

In a previous blog, I mentioned the death of my close friend’s dad, Scotty. His daughter Kim and I have been such good friends for about 20 years, and yet- I struggled trying to find any words to say to her when her dad died. 

Another mom here in Dallas lost her baby to SIDS a couple weeks ago. When she attended our support group for the first time last week, it was very difficult thinking of what I could say to her.


You’d think that I’d be prepared. That after having endured the death of my own son--having walked (still walking) through grief and deep addition to investing all this time into learning how to best serve families who suffer the death of a child to SIDS, SURELY I should know the “right thing to say.”


But there are just no words. 


When I hear of others’ tragedies, I am quickly thrust right back into experiencing the feelings of the moment when I found Billy’s lifeless body in his crib. When the 911 Operator was telling us how to do CPR on him. When the doctor in the ER told us there was nothing they could do to save our son. When I had to look through a casket catalog. When we received our son’s death certificate in the mail. When I didn’t think life could go on with any sense of fulfillment or enjoyment anymore.


And THAT’S why I have no words (at first) for others experiencing tragic events. Because I remember that in those initial days and weeks, nothing could be said that would make everything better- that would bring my Billy back. I JUST wanted to hear Billy laugh, cry, SCREAM! The only words I wanted to hear were, “Billy is okay. You can take him back home, now. You can nurse your sweet baby.”


I think this may be why God has not taken away our pain entirely. What mom is going to be genuinely comforted by someone who tritely exclaims, “You’ll be fine! Believe in God! Have hope! He will heal! I don’t even remember my pain anymore!” 


I am forever humbled by my tragedy. This humility ensures that I never forget my need for my gracious God and Savior. It’s for other hurting parents, too, so they can see that they are not alone. That others really do relate to their pain. It’s to keep me wise enough to hold my tongue when necessary.



I can’t simply stare at another mother who has just experienced the death of her child, nodding my head in silent agreement as if to say, “Yes- your worst nightmare has just come true” and leave it at that! I need to balance my “silent support” with sharing the Truth that HAS comforted me and brought me healing. People want empathy- but they want to see and hear proof that they WILL be okay, too. That there IS hope.


When no other words helped, God’s Word brought comfort. And hope. Jesus said, “I will never leave you, nor will I forsake you.” That’s perhaps what I needed to hear most. That He was right there. And He wouldn’t leave me. I was in the darkest, most desolate pit of despair. But I wasn’t there alone. 

I chose to believe it. 

Now, I needed Him to show me.

And He did. 

That’s for another post.....


Thank you

Thank you for sharing your journey with others. It's so helpful to get the perspective of someone who has been there...

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