Family Channels SIDS Grief Toward Helping Others (Guideposts Magazine)

Bill and Cheryl Darnell founded SIDS America after they lost their infant son. By Sarah Beldo

One Saturday morning, Bill and Cheryl Darnell found themselves living a parent's worst nightmare.

Cheryl went to wake their infant son, Billy, who was nearly five months old, and instead found his lifeless body laying in his crib, a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The shock was intensified because there were no warning signs before Billy's tragic death, and they were left with no explanation.

“With so many hopes and dreams shattered, we simply couldn’t imagine how life could possibly continue,” Cheryl explains.

The Darnells say they held on to faith and hope by turning to the Bible and trusting in God. After countless days and nights of grieving, they finally began to find healing. They decided to use their experience with SIDS to help others.

The family started SIDS America, which provides support, guidance and information to families who have been affected by SIDS. The organization also assists with funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and helps fund research.

"Connecting with others and hearing real life SIDS stories of how others cope after SIDS can be a lifeline to affected families," the Darnells say.

“Now that we are walking in joy, hope and healing ourselves, we so passionately desire to share the hope we have found with other grieving families,” says Bill.

“Paradoxically, talking about death has actually become ‘life-giving’ for us,” he adds.