July is National Bereaved Parents Awareness Month. It is a time to gather around and support those that have lost a child at some time in their life. Most of us know someone or are that someone who has lived that nightmare. My own Mama lost my 18-year-old big sister Tami and the grandchild she was 6 months pregnant with in a car accident when I was 12 years old. I have friends who have lived through their own tragic loss of having a child that they cannot hug anymore.
A couple of nights after I found out that our son Sean had been found dead from an accidental overdose of prescription pain medicine, I lay awake in bed crying with my mind in a whirl. I thought about all of the times throughout Sean’s life that I had worried about him. All I could think about was how that he had died alone and I worried about how he may have suffered. I wondered if there was something I could have done to stop it from happening. Compelled to get up and write, I began to pen the poem below. It was not until I wrote the last few lines that God gave me a peace as I mourned his death. It felt strange knowing that he was not here on earth to worry about anymore but I was reminded that he was only lent to me for a time to love and cherish. God had taken him back and I would miss him terribly.
Mama’s Ode to my Precious Son
by Angela Witvoet
On that precious day when you were born; you were laid upon my empty womb.
I knew not then when we would lay you; below in this empty tomb.
It could have been when you were a baby; so tiny and frail and ill.
But our Heavenly Father brought you through it; safe and sound by His merciful will.
It could have been when you were a tot; climbing and falling every time I turned around-
But God by His Divine protection again kept you safe and sound.
It could have been when you were a boy; exploring the world and discovering sin.
But the Lord by His merciful forgiveness; led you through, safe and sound again.
It could have been when you were a teen; running away, drawn by worldly charm.
But again, it was Jesus, our Savior; keeping you safe and free from harm.
It could have been when you moved away; a young man venturing out on his own.
Keeping you again by His love and protection; our Heavenly Father never left you alone.
It could have been when you were a soldier; serving our country in a foreign land.
Again, it was God that led you; safely through by His guiding hand.
It could have been any one of these years; when you suffered from your health so poor.
But the Lord kept you alive and breathing; letting you live, yet a day at a time more.
But He knew the day that you were born; when He gave you your very first breath,
The day He’d come to take you home– to pass from this life at your death.
You did not die unattended– though we, who loved you, weren’t there–
Your Heavenly Father was with you; wrapping you up in His loving care.
And now as we lower your body, into this dark, empty grave–
We pray your soul is with Jesus, Who alone has the power to save.
So you may be wondering what you can do now that you are aware that it is National Bereavement Month. Well, you will be happy to know that you just took the first step if you read the poem above. You cared. You listened. You tried to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Most people are uncomfortable or afraid to talk to someone who has lost their child about it. Even though I have lost a child I also find myself avoiding the topic with someone else that has survived their own tragedy. There are some parents that are not comfortable sharing their story but I have found that most do want to talk, including myself.
One purpose of this blog is to give the tools to comfort those around us that are going through troubles such as bereavements, surviving disasters, depression, etc. I also hope this will give a platform for those who have been through or are in the midst of turbulent times to share their stories to give us more perspective. This is not meant to be depressing but rather uplifting as we face our fears of the past, present, and future with joy whereby we may live life fearlessly for our creator. So now, reach out today without fear to someone that has lost a child and let them know you care and will listen if they ever want to talk. Take them to coffee or have them over for dinner and listen. You and they will be blessed.
The Treasure Chest
Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
Following are some websites that may give some insight into this subject:
For North Texas locals, I have been blessed by Celebrate Recovery (CR) at Genesis Church as God has dealt with me and my grief.
CR can be found in locations across the country, so look for a group near you.
Here is a blog about more great blogs about grief: