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...

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...

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...

Dec
13
2012

Writen by:  Martie Spurgeon

I want to take a blog post and introduce myself.  It is significant to me that my ministry here with SIDS America is officially beginning this week.  This is the week my life changed forever, fifteen years ago - today.  God has been preparing me for this ministry long before that sad Saturday morning. 

It was during a teen mission’s trip that my youth pastor was giving a challenge.  I remember the challenge distinctly.  He was talking about allowing the events that come into our lives to mold us into a person whose life glorifies God.  He then went on to illustrate his point by telling the stories of two women, unknown to each other, but who both suffered great loss.  Each of these ladies lost one of their children to death.  As the story went, car accidents had caused each of these mothers  to suffer heartache and loss.  He told of how the one mother grew horribly bitter....

Aug
24
2012
Cheryl Darnell

Here is one of the most profound messages I've ever heard on grieving the death of a child. May this bring some comfort and encouragement to you parents, grandparents, and others suffering the loss of a child to SIDS. And may it give a voice to those of you who may not quite feel the ability to freely express your pain and grief. I'll stop there- Rev. Meghan Feldmeyer's message speaks for itself:

Lament for a Son

2 Samuel 18:5-15, 19-33

A Sermon preached in Duke University Chapel on August 12, 2012 by the Rev. Meghan Feldmeyer

A friend of mine serves a church similar to Duke Chapel in that ministers offer prayers for healing and anointing with oil during communion. He shared with me his recent experience of being one of the ministers of anointing on Easter Sunday. Easter is a day when the worship service is crafted to reveal extreme joy...brass instruments, choral descants, banners, and lilies all speaking to the abundance of...

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...

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...

Jul
24
2011
Cheryl Darnell

Since the death of our son, I've had friends who have miscarried early in pregnancy, friends who have miscarried late in pregnancy, friends who have grieved infertility, friends who have given birth to stillborn babies, friends who have lost a parent, friends who have lost a friend or family member to suicide, and friends who have lost a young child to freak accidents. It is interesting to me how often tragedies get compared. A number of times I have heard, "Oh, Cheryl, I'm devastated over my loss, but I can't IMAGINE what it must feel like to have lost your child whom you held, nursed, and knew!" 

But what IS worse?? Losing Billy to SIDS at 5 months where I don't get to watch him grow up and talk and develop his unique personality? Or losing Billy at age 25 when I have 25 years of memories to mourn? Or losing him in my womb before I even get to know his gender, see his smile, or hear his laugh? What about my precious friend who longs for children and yet cannot...