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.

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...

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...

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...