Monday, July 1, 2013

To the parents we never met of the children we never knew

There are so many of you. We found your blog online, or someone sent us a link to your CaringBridge page, maybe you found our blog and sent us an email, maybe our kids met your kids at Camp Circle of Friends. Your child was sick, likely with cancer, especially a brain tumour or something similar. We've never met in person, but possibly we've talked on the phone or maybe exchanged emails. We've been part of the unwilling fellowship of "parents of sick kids."

And now your own dear child has died. Maybe it was a short journey, only weeks or months since their diagnosis, or maybe it was years. But now they're gone, and we don't know what to say.

We wish we could tell you that we understand how you feel right now, but we can't honestly say that. Each person is different, each family is different, each circumstance is different. The pain and grief that you go through isn't the same as what we have gone through. To say "we know how you feel" seems naive at best, and trite or cliche at worst.

So what can we say? Only that we feel sorrow at your loss and the pain you are feeling now, and we hope and pray that you and your family are able to find solace and healing over the coming months and years.

P.S. One thing that has been helpful for us this past year has been the Compassionate Friends support group of parents who have lost children. It's been helpful to share the story of our loss and our grief, to hear other parents' stories in return, and to celebrate the lives of our lost children.


  1. You are right... no one situation is the same... and everyone's grief is different. Unfortunately the common thing we all do have, is empty arms. The questions why our arms are empty will probably never have an answer. I do know that every time I hear of another family loosing a dear child... my heart breaks all over again and aches for them. Wishing I could bear the pain and shoulder all the burdens for them, so they did not have to. Once again thanks for pouring out your heart and my prayers are with you and your girls as well.

  2. I read this on a website of a family whose little boy has Down Syndrome, I thought of your family. So here it is.

    Being a parent is scary.
    Cancer is scary.
    Holding your child down as they are screaming and wondering why some lady is sticking needles in their arm is heart breaking to me.
    God holds the whole world in His hands.
    There are things in life that as a parent you have no control over.
    Sometimes as a parent you simply can’t kiss it and make it all better.
    You truly, really, without a doubt never know how long you (or your child) as on this Earth.
    Enjoy every second you can with your family.
    Hug a lot.
    Play a lot.
    Laugh a lot.
    It’s ok to cry. Yes, even for guys.
    Even pediatricians worry about their children.
    Thinking your child could die as a result of a “disease” is sheer terror.
    Thinking something is seriously wrong with your child puts everything else going on in your life on pause. It’s as if nothing else in the world is happening.
    Our mind is capable of coming up with all sorts of scenarios that probably won’t ever happen.
    Learning to control our mind (and our imagination) is hard.
    You either believe that God is FULLY in control of everything on this planet, or you don’t. What you can’t do is believe He is only partly in control. It’s all or nothing. Not both.
    You have to believe that God loves your children even more than you do.
    You have to FULLY trust God. Both in your life, and in the life of your children.
    Number 20 is hard to do sometimes.
    The tears a parent cry for their children are some of the most hurtful tears a person can cry.
    Seeing your child play and be happy and not realizing that something could be horribly wrong with them is heartbreaking.
    I love being a dad, and a husband. A lot. (I already knew this, but was reminded again today.)
    Prayer is powerful.
    God cares.
    God doesn’t abandon us.
    God gives peace and joy even when there doesn’t seem to be any in sight.
    I hate, yes hate, cancer.
    Waiting on test results is one of the worst feelings in the world.
    Getting a call from a doctor that things aren’t what you thought (in a good way) makes you very happy.
    Sometimes you cry weep when your happy. (Those tears are wonderful.)
    Being a parent is scary.
    God is bigger than our fear.