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
29
2014
Cheryl Darnell

Six years ago on Saturday morning, March 29, I awoke to my absolute worst nightmare. Puzzled as to why my baby hadn’t awakened to nurse yet, I went to get him up, finding him unresponsive in his crib. Billy had died of SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Our hearts, lives, and dreams were completely shattered. The moments, hours, days, and months that followed were the darkest and most painful I’ve ever experienced.

I had no idea that within my deepest suffering, I would discover some of God’s most beautiful truths and promises. I never fathomed the depth of love I could feel at the same time that my heart had been inflicted with its deepest pain. I had no clue that in just over the next few years, God would use our son’s life- and death- to bring healing in our own hearts and marriage, and to reach hundreds of other hurting families, bringing healing and hope to them.

I could share so much as I reflect on the pain, the healing, the questioning and doubting God, the...

Apr
17
2013
Cheryl Darnell

 

Written By:  Martie Spurgeon

 

“For I reckon the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  Romans 8:18

 

SIDS brings suffering to the hearts of family members touched by its sudden arrival.  It hurts.  It is unseen and nothing could prepare us for the void it leaves in our families for years to come.

When a child dies of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome it causes the parents to feel vulnerable and uncertain of what the future holds for them or other children they have. 

Sudden death brings sudden pain, sudden suffering.

 This verse is for us.  It serves...

Apr
9
2013
Cheryl Darnell

Jesus – The Counselor

An Exposition of Luke 24:13-32

By: Martie Spurgeon

 

Having lost our daughter to SIDS several years ago I have had countless opportunities to talk with other families who have also experienced the same loss. God has allowed my heartache to be a springboard that has allowed me to counsel other Mother’s who are walking through the deep grief that follows loosing a child.  After our daughter died from SIDS in 1997 I felt like my life had shattered right before my very eyes.  I lost my way.  I needed someone to come alongside and share with me truth – a counselor.   As the years have passed and God has healed my heart; He has placed within me a burden to be a counselor to those who are grieving and hurting. 

A few weeks ago as I was in church and listening to the message a passage of scripture became so clear to me.  I saw it in a whole different...

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
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...

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...