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Easter Brings Grieving Parents Hope

In general, most holidays can be pretty difficult to face when grieving the loss of a child. But Easter is different.

While it does not completely erase our pain, Easter brings the miraculous Truth that allows our hearts to heal and find hope in the midst of our trauma and tragedy. The Resurrection is a miracle for each one of us, and it assures grieving parents the hope of reuniting with their children again one day. I know the devastation of losing my son to SIDS. I cannot imagine the devastation I would feel if Christ had not taken my sins upon Himself and died so that I could live- in eternity- with Him and with my loved ones. 

The children's choir at our church this Easter morning sang a song that dates back 139 years. Even with a new melody/arrangement, the hymn's words are powerful and timeless. I've copied the lyrics to the song below, and you can listen to Aaron Shust perform it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvBG-FVbGFs.

Surviving SIDS Through Prayer

Many people are quick to offer prayer when they hear of tragedy, such as a child dying of SIDS. Perhaps it's because we all know that it's going to take much more than our human efforts to bring comfort and healing to those who are so deeply suffering. We know it's going to take supernatural power to hold parents together when they suddenly and horrifyingly unexpectedly find their child lying lifeless in his/her crib.

It is encouraging to know that our prayers are not in vain. We have direct access to the God of the Universe when we pray, and His Word promises that when we pray, He hears- and answers- our prayers. Jesus said in John 14:13-14, "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

Giving Thanks in the Midst of Suffering

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.

What's the Big Deal About Crib Bumpers (and other SIDS Risk Factors)?

With October being SIDS Awareness Month, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new recommendation for safe sleep practices for infants. The AAP states, "Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment." (http://www.aap.org/pressroom/sids.pdf)

KRDO Channel 13 in Colorado Springs, CO, asked to interview us to get SIDS America's opinion on the new recommendation. You can click here to watch the video: http://www.krdo.com/health/29521577/detail.html

Healing Song - 'Held" - Written by Christa Wells and sung by Natalie Grant

Songs can bring incredible healing, and when a song is inspired by the Word of God, which is living and powerful, it can minister to a broken heart like no other words can. One such song was sent to me just after our son died. I will confess, it took me about 3 MONTHS before I even took the packaging off the CD. People grieve differently, and for me, I was just very silent for the first couple months. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want to read any books about grief. And worship- which had always been "my escape"- my place where I felt closest to the Lord- now was extremely painful. I didn't know if I really believed what I was singing anymore. How could I worship or praise my God in the midst of wanting to blame Him for my tragedy?

"Back to School" for Families Enduring SIDS

For a family who has suffered the death of a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a great part of grieving their baby's death involves missing memories and milestones that never were....grieving the loss of the hopes and dreams you expected to experience with your child.

One such dream is the day you send your child off to school. Three simple words, "Back-to-School," can evoke a vast array of emotions and meanings for parents, but at the end of a long, hot summer, the general consensus among parents and kids is a feeling of anticipation and excitement. Yet the season can also cause great sadness to well up in the hearts of parents who have suffered the death of a child. 

Personally, I have some mixed emotions about it this year. Our "big girl" is entering Kindergarten, and boy have we been so excited about school supplies and school clothes. (never knew the delight that a pair of blunt scissors and a gluestick could bring!) 

Comparing Tragedies

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!" 

Coming to a Crisis of Faith

I had a conversation with a precious mother who lost her son to SIDS and was experiencing a crisis of faith. The death of her child caused her to intensely struggle with doubt over what she previously believed to be true about God and His love for her. 

I know that through your grieving the loss of your baby that you, too, may be really wrestling with God, questioning, and not wanting "rote religious answers" to the very real pain you have been going through. If you've come to a crisis of your faith in your suffering, it's okay! God can certainly handle our being real with Him. In fact, He wants nothing else BUT for us to come to Him with our honest feelings and thoughts.

Having Another Baby After the Loss of a Child to SIDS

It seems like I have spoken a lot lately with grieving moms who are wrestling with the desire to have another baby after losing a child to SIDS. I've spoken with some moms who are already pregnant and overwhelmed with fear at the thought of losing another baby. Bill and I have had 2 sons since we lost our beloved Billy. I understand many of the thoughts and fears you may be having right now. And I'm still living them myself, as our newest just turned 5 months old. So let's talk about that.

Christmas After the Loss of a Child

Amid all the Christmas shopping, decorating, caroling, pageants, anticipation and excitement, there is also a very real sadness that Christmas evokes in some people. For families in financial stress, you hear, "Oh, they won't get to have a Christmas this year." And what about celebrating the holidays when a loved one has died? The first Christmas after our son died of SIDS, I thought, "How can I possibly enjoy Christmas this year? Christmas just won't be the same."

While grief certainly affects our emotions as we experience the holidays, and while feelings of deep sadness are definitely expected and natural (I still cry over our baby Billy), we do not have to remain in a state of despair. Grief and tragedy do not dictate whether or not Christmas happens. Read this excerpt from the Christmas story in Luke 1:30-33 and 2:8-14--