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5 Things to Remember When Dealing With Death of Infants

Blog 12.7fixedI write this blog with a heavy heart. Yesterday I found out that a good friend of mine had lost his nephew. Delivered at just 18 weeks, the little one lived only 20 minutes before he passed. My friend posted his thoughts on Facebook, and his tribute to his nephew touched my heart. I wanted to share some of his words with you so that you too might be touched and so that you all could pray for his family.

In moments like these, it's so easy to get lost in what might have been. What kind of personality would he have had? What color hair? What sorts of things would he have liked? It's easy to think about the experiences he and we would never have, like riding a bike, having a birthday party, and enjoying the precious season we're currently in:  Christmas.

But, [he] lived for 20 minutes. For a lot of people this may not seem like a lot. In fact, most would argue that it is not nearly enough for someone so innocent and pure. However, in those 20 minutes I know his mom and dad were right there with him, loving him for every single second of those few precious minutes. In 20 minutes, they gave him more than a lifetime of love. In 20 minutes he lived a life where he never for a minute had to be alone. In 20 minutes he must have lived a lifetime....

Though I never got to hold you, see you, or tell you that I love you, know that I do. I love you, little nephew, more than you will ever know."

My heart goes out to all of those who have lost children. Please be in prayer for my friend and his family.

I hope that your ministry never has to deal with a situation like this. It can be so hard to find the right words to say and the right steps to take. Every situation is different, but here are a few things that might come in handy to remember if parents in your ministry find themselves in this horrible position.

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1. Pray. It's so important not to forget to pray with and for these families. Also pray that you would know the right steps to take. Parents will be experiencing different forms of grief. Asking God for guidance is a must.

2. Help. You don't know how much a helping hand will mean. "Let me know if I can do anything" (no matter how genuine the sentiment) is an offer rarely taken up by grieving families. Offer to do some housework or run a few errands. A useful website is Take Them a Meal. Here you can create a meal schedule where people can sign up to take meals on particular days-this way everyone is working together and not inundating families with too much food.

3. No Rush. The grieving process takes time, and it's different for everyone. Know that it may be a while before the parents return to church, and that this loss is something that you are going to help them cope with for the rest of their life.

4. Privacy. If you are among the first to find out, respect the family's privacy. Asking others to join in praying is great, but only if the family wants their situation to be made public.

5. Children. Don't forget that children grieve as well. Victor Parachin gave some great tips in a recent article. Avoid euphemisms when talking with children. Allow kids to express themselves in different ways (through drawings, music, words), and be a role model for them during this time. The best thing you can do for them is emphasize God's love.

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Do you have any suggestions for children's ministers who may be dealing with this situation? How do you find the right words to say? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Also, if you ever find yourself needing to make a trip to the hospital to see a parent or child, make sure you check you the current issue of Children's Ministry Magazine. In it we have an article by Danielle Christy that gives you the do's and don'ts of hospital visits.

Posted at 09:14

3 Comments:

Joseph Adewoye said...
Please pray for me too. I covet your prayers. My baby boy of 3 months left us about three weeks ago. The grieve is still heavy on us, probably because it had happened before. Just pray for us, we covet your prayers as a church / ministry. Thank you.
December 8, 2012 07:41
It is good to remind the bereaved that God is still in control of all things including the sad situation. God has already prepared a better place for the deceased child (John 14:1-3). He wants to save that child from the troubles of this life.
December 8, 2012 09:37
Joseph, we are praying for you. May God's comfort surround all of you!
December 8, 2012 12:16

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