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...

Jun
8
2014
Cheryl Darnell

This past school year, a 35 year old mother sat in the same piano class with her preschool daughter as I did with my son. I didn’t know the mother very well, but she seemed to have a calm and kind spirit, and I was always blessed by the bubbly joy that emanated from her little girl.

About 6 weeks ago, we learned that this mother had begun experiencing severe migraines. Four malignant tumors appeared on her brain, and she’d been given 4 to 8 weeks to live. Apparently, she had been diagnosed 4 years ago with terminal cancer, but she shared with very few people, as she didn’t want the cancer to “define” her. She felt that God had called her to “live her life fully,” and after her cancer treatments, she enjoyed a year and a half of “feeling normal” (enjoying life as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, worship leader, and missionary) before the cancer fatally spread.

I could barely wrap my mind around this scenario. She has been joyfully and faithfully raising two...

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
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...

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...

Dec
13
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!
  • ...
Dec
5
2012

Written by Martie Spurgeon

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord…” Psalm 92:1

 Our Heavenly Father knows what it best for us.  He knows our makeup and understands our humanity. Part of our makeup is to forget to see the good things in life.  This is especially true during times of crisis.  It is easy when life has thrown us a curve ball to only see life through a negative viewpoint.

Then we open the Bible and read here that it is a good thing to give thanks to God.  He reminds us gently saying, “My child it is good for you to give thanks.”  Perhaps your heart cries out, “But for what do I have to be thankful?  The dearest thing on earth to me is gone!”  Yet the verse is still true, “It is a good thing to give thanks.”   His promptings cause your heart to try to find something – even a little thing for which you can be thankful. Then Holy Spirit comes along side starts showing you how much you have been...