Darkness Before the Dawn

October 13, 2009
Cheryl Darnell
Faith, Grief, SIDS

When people visit this website, we want them to immediately sense peace... hope... healing. This “hope” that we speak of is not empty platitudes or “feel good” philosophy. Itʼs truth from the Word of God. But itʼs not like one day our son died, and the next day, week, or even month we were hopeful, happy, and healed. We ourselves have doubted and wrestled with the truth that speaks of hope and healing.

We understand that your life, heart, and dreams have been shattered. Because ours were, too. We know youʼre struggling just to survive another day. Weʼve been there. We are very much acquainted with feelings of grief, anger, despair, and depression.

Godʼs peace was with us even as we held Billy in the hospital, lifeless and cold in our arms. Godʼs healing began in those first few hours after our tragedy.

But letʼs get real. Just because God was THERE doesnʼt mean that we recognized or even felt His presence right away. Despair and trauma had such a tight hold on us-for several months! I literally thought that I would actually die myself. I did NOT think that I could live with this heaviness on me for the rest of my life.

I wondered if God was even there.

I questioned my faith entirely. What WAS the point in praying? We prayed protection and health for our son on a regular basis- and he died! I felt intense guilt- because I found the little blankie that we often gave Billy (similar to the one our daughter Avery had as a baby) lying partially over his face when I went in to get him up. I thought Iʼd killed my son. Not even the coroner who did the autopsy could convince me otherwise.

As if my own guilt wasnʼt enough, my husband was angry with me over the blanket, too. Both Bill and I suffered from panic attacks, and Iʼd cry each night until Ambien (literally) knocked me out.

We sold our home that we had just renovated and “made our own” in Colorado. We began grief counseling, where so many issues surfaced. The death of our son actually magnified all other issues in our lives and marriage. We were in Texas, my husband without a job, and me staying home trying to hold myself together for our two year old. We were worried about our finances. My husband was unmotivated to do anything and stayed in bed most of the day.

I feared what my 2 year old daughter was seeing and how it was affecting her.

I feared that my husband would take his own life.

I felt so alone. So scared. So empty. So devasted. So helpless. So hopeless.

Iʼll get even more personal with these experiences in future posts, but for now I hope it will suffice to say that 19 months since the death of my son, while I still grieve and have sad days/moments at times, I am filled again with joy, with hope, and with a sense that my life is not completely devastated by the death of my son. In fact, I have had some incredibly wonderful experiences along my journey through grief, including the strengthening of my marriage and faith.

HOW, you may be wondering, do you possibly return to life-- joyful, hopeful, and healed after all THAT mess??

Ambien, Antidepressants, just thinking positively, and immersing yourself in work, exercise, traveling, shopping, etc. might allow you to temporarily escape the pain, but none of those will ultimately and completely heal the deep wounds of grief. But our living, powerful, sovereign, good God can do a miraculous work of healing in you. He knows the pain of losing a child- His own Son. He cares about the precious child He created for you who is now back in His safe, loving arms. And He cares about you, your broken heart, and your devastated dreams.

If youʼre not experiencing a restoration of your hope and joy quite yet, do not be discouraged. But know that God is right there beside you, wanting nothing else but to comfort, heal, and turn your tragedy into something beautiful. It may seem crazy, but trust me. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” - Psalm 34:18

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