Sudden - From Loss to Life

October 19, 2009
Cheryl Darnell

“I just hate death.” These were some of the first words uttered by my husband as he sat in shock, disbelief, and overwhelming sadness after receiving the news this past Wednesday that the father of one of my best friends had died suddenly of a heart attack. This man had been like another father to me growing up, and to Bill, he was also a father figure and mentor. Scotty was one of the friendliest people you’d ever met, and he made his opinions known on matters that were most important to him, namely his family and his faith. He was a man of great faith, solid integrity, and a terrific sense of humor.

So how does this relate to SIDS?

The suddenness of the tragedy. It takes us by surprise and seems so cruel, so unfair. An otherwise healthy baby dies suddenly in his/her crib. A man going about his daily business is suddenly victim to a fatal heart attack. All in one moment’s gasp of disbelief, we try to wrap our understanding around the reality of death. We are launched, involuntarily, into having to think about what it means for our future-starting right now. Forced to immediately begin creating a “new normal.” We realize all too quickly that we really do not have as much control over our lives as we think we do.

“Sudden” means “without warning.” You have no time to prepare for what’s about to happen, nor can you prevent it. I was clipping my son’s nails one minute while nursing him- nourishing his healthy body! And just a few hours later, I was holding his cold, lifeless body, struggling to accept that he was gone. Kim (Scotty’s daughter) was talking with her dad on the phone this past Tuesday night, October 13, and the very next day she was planning his funeral.

Death is ruthless in its efforts to destroy us. Thank God that He has already conquered death! SIDS and a massive heart attack may horrifyingly take the rest of us by surprise, but God is never surprised. He has never lost control.

In fact, here’s what is also “sudden-” God’s love. His faithfulness. His promises. His peace. As quickly as tragedy strikes, God is there. He was there all along.

As it is said in Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” And in Psalm 46:1-2, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”

I noticed one more “sudden”- At the point of death, our loved ones - children and those who have given their hearts to Jesus as Scotty had- are immediately in the presence of Jesus, without pain, without suffering, without sorrow. Death may be “sudden,” but it is not final. (John 3:16, 2 Cor. 5:8)

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