Did you know that 370 sets of parents (740 people) lose a child age 40 and under daily in the US (based on 2011 statistics) and that does not count pregnancy loss? Sixty-five babies die every day in their mother’s womb.
You would think with numbers that high, our culture would know what to do, where to turn for help and support, and how to grieve and allow such deep grief. Sadly, that is not the case.
Those who have lost a child from this earth will say they wouldn’t even want their enemies to go through such horrific pain and suffocating darkness. Most bereaved parents I know have these five beliefs in common:
- No grieving parent should feel alone, isolated and abandoned.
- All grieving parents should be able to quickly and easily connect with other bereaved parents for encouragement.
- Any parent who has had a child die, and his or her faith in God has been shaken, should have a safe place to share their hurts, doubts and anger without judgment or being shunned by other Christians.
- Those around bereaved parents need to know how to give true comfort and support (which includes physical and emotional), and treat it as the long process it is, instead of an event.
- Even before a parent loses a child, they should already be aware of who they can contact for support in their pain and confusion if their own child leaves this earth.
Almost every bereaved parent I have ever met believes these things. But unfortunately, that is not reality.
So, that leads to the question, “Is there anything we can do to help this become reality in today’s world?”
I believe strongly the answer is a firm “YES”!
By prayer, by perseverance, and by people.
Prayer can be a tough one. After all, we pray for our children, especially for God’s protection. Since He didn’t protect our child from death, why should we bother praying?
Because the purpose of prayer isn’t to make God into a magic genie and get whatever we want from Him. Prayer is communicating with Him, both talking and listening. Prayer is laying things before Him, and allowing Him to be God, trusting that He can see what we cannot see, and that He knows what we do not know. Prayer opens doors. It opens the doors of our hearts. No matter what happens, we need to communicate to our Father, and continue to have conversations with Him.
Perseverance means to keep moving forward, no matter how difficult the obstacles or how long it takes.
I don’t know about you, but I am in this for the long haul. Not just to exist until I leave this earth and join my daughter, Becca, but to walk with other grieving parents, giving them hope in their place of darkness. I am determined to find ways around the obstacles that show up. I don’t plan on quitting when I get discouraged. For these five things to become a reality, it requires determination and commitment, and I have both. I hope you do, too.
That leaves the last one – people. The adage that we are stronger together than by ourselves is very true in this situation. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to join forces with those who not only share these beliefs, but are acting on making them a reality. When we do, each of us becomes part of something that is bigger than any one of us can ever be by ourselves.
I love to pray, and I have perseverance. But I am only one person. For those five beliefs to become a reality, I need to join other people who desire to see these beliefs become a reality and are ready to help complete the task with their own prayers and perseverance.
I personally believe this is not just a hope or a dream; it is a movement. A movement that one day, our culture will acknowledge that grief is not something we “get over” like a bad cold.
Do you believe? Can you pray? Are you willing to persevere? Then let’s work at this together, to make these five beliefs a reality.
If you would like to connect with Laura Diehl and Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope) submit your first name and email address below. We will send you a printable copy of the Five Beliefs of Bereaved Parents. You will also have access to our GPS Hope library with lots of useful information and helpful tools for your grief journey.
Expressions of Hope is written by author and speaker Laura Diehl to bring hope, light and life to those struggling in darkness after a tragedy, especially bereaved parents. If you would like more information about Laura as an author or a speaker for your next event, click here.