Where was God when my child died?

by Tamara Harvey Braswell and Lloyd Braswell

Where was God when my child died?

Where was God when my 19-year-old son Logan died from severe bleeding and broken bones hours after he slammed his truck into a tree?   I think God went on vacation that summer morning and left no miracles behind, at least not for Logan and me.   Against my will, my soul was deposited on the grief trail, a journey no parent should ever have to experience…but many of us do. 

Even the most perfect of parents and best of kids draw the short stick in life and bad things happen.  I used to have high hopes.  No matter how bad things got, there was always God’s life preserver to bring in that miracle.  After Logan died, hope dwindled to getting by.  God was clearly absent, checked out and I felt utterly on my own. 

But was I?

One day, as I was plowing through social media, I saw one of these typical inspirational quotes of the day that ended with, “Know all things work together for good.”  Obviously, someone who didn’t experience true loss posted this and I thought, “What good could come out of my son’s death?”   

Little did I know the message came from another bereaved parent, Lloyd Braswell, who lost two of his four children.  Lloyd is also a pastor with a firm faith in God and God’s love.  I wanted to know how God worked in his life and how he was able transform his pain into something good. 

Logan Neale (left) and Matthew Braswell died in their late teens.

Lloyd, tell me about your loss?

Much of my life has been wonderful, including an idealized childhood and very supportive parents.  But I have had deep loss.  My daughter Kaitlin, born with special needs, lived only 13 months and she died in 1995.  My 18-year-old son Matthew died by suicide in 2010.  This was followed by my genetic heart issues and complications, including three open heart surgeries and a stroke happening in just a two-year period (thankfully, in good health now).  My wife deserted me emotionally, which led to divorce.  There have been other struggles along the way. 

I don’t view these as part of God’s plan, or that everything happens for a reason, but I truly believe God brings good from all the pain if we turn it over to him.

You have said your son Matthew’s death is the most tragic event in your life.

Where was God at the time Matthew died?

God was right there with Matthew and I believe God also had a broken heart.   Matthew probably didn’t feel God’s presence.  When you are going through tough times, you may not feel God’s presence, but God is there.  He never leaves you even if you think he does.  

I believe God was working in Matthew’s life, but Matthew had tunnel vision and he couldn’t see beyond his pain.  Matthew made a choice to end his life.  Following the breakup with his girlfriend and other issues, he spiraled into a deep depression.  He was in such pain that he turned to drugs to make things better, but they made things worse and he died of an intentional overdose.

God felt Matthew’s pain and never left his side.   

Sometimes in the midst of pain, we can’t feel God’s presence.   We blame God, pushing him away because we are angry, asking, “Why did you, God, allow this to happen?”

Then we reach out, asking God for help.  We tend to go back and forth between two extremes.

I didn’t get mad at God because he gives us free will. You can’t have love without free will.  I believe God is with us regardless of the choices we make. 

How can hope come from your child’s death?

Hope comes in knowing God is always with us.  He gives us the strength when we need it the most and when we are in midst of great pain.  You can grow from your pain and use your pain to help others.  

Two passages in the Bible speak to this: Isaiah 40 verse 31 and Romans 8 verse 28.  These passages speak the Hope of the Lord.  God gives us the strength to walk and not faint and God can even bring good from all that we experience.  

There are times people ask me how I was able to function after Matthew’s death.  I didn’t know what else to do.   I had to keep going and God gave me the strength I needed to keep going.

I am a much more compassionate person. I relate to people in their pain and their struggles because what I have been through.

I can relate to most anything.

I was taught as a child if you have faith and pray, God will take care of you.

Was it that I didn’t pray hard enough?

The Bible doesn’t teach all things will be good, just that God will be with us in whatever we experience.  When I look at the Bible, people who persevered in their pain are my role models.  Joseph, from the Old Testament, is my biggest role model. He did everything right, yet he was sold into slavery, then falsely accused of rape. He spent 13 years in prison, yet he continued to be faithful no matter what happened.  God never left Joseph in his pain.  By age 30, Joseph was second in command in Egypt.

How has God been with you since Matthew died?

I felt like I was able to become more dependent on God in some ways. Not sure how I became dependent.  I spent more time in solitude and learned the importance of silence to be in the presence of God and he be in the presence of me.  I came to the realization that regardless of what happens, God is with me.  This is something I always believed, but that belief became real as I went through hell on earth.

What helped you to get through the death of Matthew?

It’s not something you get through.  It’s a journey.  After the death of my daughter I spoke to a pastor friend about how I hadn’t gotten over it.  Her response was so helpful.  She said you don’t get over it, you work through it.  With the death of a child, you are constantly working through it.

Is God punishing us for losing our children?

No. I don’t see God as a God who punishes. There are a lot of bad things that happen, sometimes because of free will and things we will never understand. God is with us and gives us that inner strength to keep going. He loves us.  Think of it from a Christian prospective, God is a bereaved parent with the death of his only son Jesus.   

What helps in the day to day life to cope with this pain?

I have to keep going, to make a difference.  I get my energy from helping people in need and helping others who are hurting or in pain similar to mine.

Is there happiness after Matthew’s death?

Yes.  You have to go on with your life.  Matthew would want me to and he would want me to be happy. Even after Matthew’s death, there was a series of other traumatic events, including my younger son, Blake, going through struggles.  There were my health issues and my separation and divorce.  

I have to keep living. If you keep living, you have to really live and not just exist. I find happiness in spending time with God, spending time with my children and being in relationship with others.

I am a social person, but I can’t depend on others.  I have had to work through things myself.  For several years I saw a counselor. I continue to meet regularly with a spiritual director.   Every session begins with a simple, yet powerful question – how is God working in your life?

How has Matthew’s death and the other challenges in your life strengthen your relationship with God?

It is primarily through realizing God is there and will give me the strength that I need.   There will always be pain, but I can see how He has been with me and even how He brings good from all the pain.   

How has all of this changed you as a pastor?

I can connect to so many difficult situations and help people see God is there and that God can help them in their deepest struggles. Too often people have this false belief that if you are a Christian everything will be good.  I try to help those in church see the pain in the world and to be real about their pain.  I have connected more with others outside the church…people who see the church as not connecting with them in their daily pains and struggles. 

I think my pain has helped me to be more empathetic with people who are hurting, being there without judging or telling them what to do.  Be present. Listen.

Pain relates to pain.

Lloyd is the father of four, Kaitlin and Matthew who passed away, and his living children, 26-year-old Blake and 19-year-old Madison.  Lloyd is also the pastor at Chester Baptist Church in Chester, Virginia and devotes his time to helping others cope with their struggles, including grief, mental illness, addictions and sickness.  His faith is grounded in love, peace and forgiveness from the teachings of Jesus Christ and the example set by his parents. 

Tamara is Logan’s mom.  She lives in Denver, Colorado, close to her brother, and she spends a great deal of her time working to save lives in her role with the Colorado Department of Transportation.  She also finds peace in the natural beauty around her.  She writes about her grief inloganshoes.blog

Lloyd and Tamara found each other on the grief trail through Emotionally Naked.

emotionally naked love story

 

A Gift of Grace. Faith helped me heal after my daughter’s suicide

60 thoughts on “Where was God when my child died?”

  1. A loving God, that sent his Son to die for our sons. Not everyone is raise in a church setting. My Son died from a drug overdose. He was not saved or baptized.his wife cheated on him left him for another man he was very devastated and hurt very depressed turned to drugs. If our God is such loving forgiving God why is my son in HELL

    1. I do t believe he is Jill. Your son was deeply empathetic and died from a disease. God doesn’t punish people who are sick. I know it hurts and sometimes anger is part of the grief process. But use your faith to give you the strength to endure this heartache. I lost my son to suicide. He was also addicted. But he was not a sinner. He was sick. I am sorry we are in this club. It’s not an easy place to be.

  2. I lost my 6-year-old daughter (my only child) on 28 February 2019. Losing her shook my faith and my world. She was born with an inoperable heart condition; she was diagnosed when she was only 2 days old.

    She was born one month before my due date; on my birthday may I add. I feel like God knew what was to come and we were going to need all the little joys to make her journey on earth so special.
    Doctors told me she had one month to live if we were lucky as she was dependent on a duct that would eventually close.
    My faith took such a huge knock. Having to wake at up night to check if your baby was still breathing was so horrible.

    Everyone kept telling me that God let this happen for a reason. That made me so much angrier, why would God let this happen, am I a bad person.
    One day someone gave me a word (a random woman), it was the words I needed to hear because frankly I gave up on God. She told me we serve a loving God; He does not cause bad things to happen. I needed to hear that so much.

    I started trusting in God again and praying, not asking God to heal her, but that I was not emotionally strong enough to lose her. I had just finished university, I turned 22 the day she was born.
    I woke up one day feeling like the weight of the world was off my shoulder and could finally breathe again. I just felt like she was not going anywhere. I somehow knew it was God. The duct closed and she was still alive. They did another scan and saw that her body grew 2 extra arteries that is not part of the human anatomy.
    There were so many things wrong with her heart, but those arteries gave her more time.

    Her dad and I ended up breaking up when she was 4 year’s old, I became a single mom (even though I always felt that way, hence us breaking up). My and her relationship grew even more, I was no longer in a bitter relationship.
    I had the best 6 years and 11 months with her!!! She will always be my best experience in this world.

    Her extended time came with its own challenges though. It was hard living knowing that her time was limited. She got tired quickly, could not walk properly and she could not play in the park like the rest of the kids, but not once did she ever ask me, mommy why can I not. She knew she needed to rest more often. She looked blue most of time because of her lack of oxygen and became short of breath very quickly. Just her bathing made her tired, even though she loved it. Winter was the worst, she had to sit all the time, thank goodness for YouTube and her toys. The air cold did not do well with her lack of oxygen.

    Despite all her challenges, she had the biggest smile on her face. She absolutely loved life, every minute of it. She taught me love in a way I never knew existed. She taught me self-love and strength.
    When we prayed at night, she never asked God for anything. She told God thank you for her life that was so happy. When I prayed, I thanked God for her strength and my strength. I knew prayer was not always answered the way you want it to be answered. Faith and hope was the only thing that was going to get us through this journey and also having a positive outlook to life.
    I asked her one day if she was happy with her and she told me with great excitement “I have the best life ever because I have the best mommy ever!!”

    On the 2 December 2018, at that point in my life. I was so content and happy. I was the happiest I ever was in my life. Then with without warning my daughter was rushed to the hospital, we found out that her heart was starting to fail. She lived for another 3 months; it was a nightmare of 3 months. To see her body, deteriorate and watch her experience more pain. Despite all of this, she continued to smile. One day in those 3 months I asked if she were okay that she could not walk anymore, with the biggest smile she showed a thumbs up and told me that she was happy.
    I had no idea what lies ahead, but I was not going to mourn a child that was very much still alive. I put those feelings in box because I needed her to feel joy and loved right now. I asked God for strength for whatever our path may be because His strength was the only thing that could get us through this. God is always the light even when you all you see is darkness. Trust me I only saw darkness so many times.

    Losing her broke me so much, she was purpose. I breathed and lived for her. Even though I knew my time was limited due to her heart condition. Nothing can prepare you for the extreme pain that comes with death. At times I feel like I am in my own personal hell. My home once filled with her smiles was so empty and lonely. I wanted to die and be where she was, all I wanted was her.
    if I can do this all over again, I would. If it means loving her again, she is worth the pain. Despite the roller coaster of this emotionally journey of grief. I am forever thankful to God that I was fortunate to contribute to her love and happiness on this earth. I am blessed to be her mother.
    Most of all she was blessed to have me as a mother, I had the capacity (thanks to her) to love her in a way that needed to feel loved.
    Good can come from bad/loss. She was my good and I want to share her goodness with the world even if it is for one moment or one day to one person. It is one better in this world.
    I had my first Christmas without her, I was going to lock myself up in my room as I was definitely not feeling the joyful spirit and watching everyone enjoy their kids where had an empty seat seemed more like torture.
    Then my brother told me, do not you just want to try for her, instead of giving up immediately? Especially seeing that it was one of her favourite days. I was thinking easy coming from someone that have all his 3 kids.
    Eventually I thought about and took his advice. I decided to have friends and family involved. That do Christmas lunch and gifts to a children home. I could not put a smile on my daughter’s face, but there are so many other kids in need of just one smile even if it is for one day.
    Everyone was so keen as I was doing this in memory of my daughter. Some people even told me they really wanted to do something like this, but just needed a platform which I created.
    To the smiles on the children’s faces. I felt my daughter’s smile and presence.
    Obviously, the pain never goes away, those smiles it was great. It was good, it was her goodness. She is the reason I did this. I redirected my pain into something good. Pain doesn’t just have to be pain.

    I continue to try and do better, even though on some days being alive feels more like a punishment, the guilt that I am alive, and she is not or when I actually feel happiness. It is okay to break down and cry or whatever, we need to feel what we need to feel. It is okay to not to feel okay. Just remember God continues to be your pillar of strength even on the hard days when you cannot feel more distant or more broken.

    1. I am still crying as I read this. It’s one of the most beautiful testaments to a mother’s love I have ever read. I am so honored you shared your soul and your beautiful daughter with us. Our lives are richer for having our children in in. And you found the key I did. Not to pray for an outcome but to pay for strength to see ourselves through it. I would love to share this with a group to whom I am speaking in September. A group of parents who have lost a child. Thank you.

      1. Hi Anne, Thank you so much, your message really means a lot.

        It would be a great honour if you shared her (my) story.
        My daughter’s name is Leona.

  3. I am reading your stories trying to find peace. My husband and I lost our newborn baby April 7, 2020. She was perfectly healthy born a day before her due date. She passed away during the birth process. I myself had an hard recovery from an emergency c-section. Doctors thought I had Everything wrong from internal bleeding to a pulmonary embolism in my heart in lungs, but God turned every report negative and I survived when I shouldn’t have. I am trying to be thankful for my life, but I often wonder why God didn’t save my baby also. He is King of King’s. He can do anything. The wind and the waves obey him! He could have kept her here! What made him chose life for me and not my innocent healthy baby? Lately I have been existing. We have 4 (Ages 13, 12, 3 and 2) other children. I am existing just for them. I know God saved my life because it would be hard for them growing up without their mom, but it’s also hard for me without my baby. I’m praying God has better plans in this loss than pain. I can’t understand if God took my baby or if the enemy took her or if It was my fault. Just so many thoughts.

    1. Amber my heart hurts reading your story. There are times I need a good cry and this was one of them. Your precious baby. There are a lot of people who live after loss of a child because they feel obligated to live. I lost my son to suicide. But however we lose a child, it just hurts. So much. I didn’t think I could live through it. But as bad as it was at first, I realized it would never hurt as much as it did when I got the news. That part was over. It’s what got me from one moment to the next. And I prayed for years for my son to be free of mental illness and addiction. Ultimately after his death, I just had to pray for strength to get me through grief and learn how to walk beside it.

      I’ll just share these three stories with you.
      Grief Writes me a Love Letter- https://annemoss.com/2017/03/18/grief-writes-love-letter/
      From Where do I draw my strength? https://annemoss.com/2016/08/18/from-where-i-do-i-draw-my-strength/
      A Gift of Grace. Faith helped me heal after my daughter’s suicide

      1. Thank you for your sincere response and thank you for sharing these stories. I will be reading them this morning. You are right it will probably never hurt as much as hearing the news. I remember when the doctor said before my c section that my baby was not alive and before I was put to sleep I declared 3 times “Lord your report is the final report.. not the doctors report” I knew I served such a great God that what she was saying was nonsense! How dare her say my baby was not alive! Does she not know the God I serve! Next thing I know after thinking those thoughts I was waking up and reality hit… she was really gone. It’s such a long story, but I thank you for your advice and sharing your story with myself and others to help with our healing process. Please pray for me and my family as I struggle praying for myself during these times.

    2. Amber, I am so sorry. My husband will respond as well because he has experienced more loss than anyone I know… and he is a Baptist pastor and continues to have a very strong faith. I felt the same way as you… God ran short on miracles when it came to my son… but I have learned God doesn’t work they way we think. God is there within you to keep you going … even when you don’t want to. God is there to keep the love flowing through you… even though your heart is full of rage. God is there to bring something good from your grief journey. My child did not die for a reason… and I believe neither did yours. Death can take us at anytime and it doesn’t discriminate. God does not stop death or horrible things from happening… he is there to help you get through it…one breath at a time. There is nothing easy about it.
      The miracle is moving with the grief and the pain… so your child’s love flows through you. Along the way… peace comes in between the tears.

    3. Wow, your story is very similar to mine and it literally just made me feel like I was punched in the gut reading it. October 10th, 2019 I had to have my first C-section, an emergency c-section, with my 6th child at 34 weeks pregnant because his heart rate had dropped to 60 in the womb and they couldn’t get it back up. He was out in less than 5 mins and he was absolutely perfect. He weighed 5Ibs 3ounces. We named him Levi Edmund-Knox Rooker.

      He had to stay in the hospital for 3 weeks just to get his lungs a little more developed and as soon as he went on room air, we where discharged to go home with his 4 brothers and 1 sister waiting so excitedly to meet him. Life was absolutely perfect and I was so thankful to God that my life was spared along with his during such a tramatic event. We got through the holidays and on January 3 2020, Levi woke with a low grade fever that morning. His 3 year old brother and 2 year old sister had a cold and I had done everything in my power to keep them separated.

      After going throughout the entire day, treating the fever with Tylenol, he started to make a wheezing sound. At that point, I could not fall asleep. I set right next to him and watched him breathe and his breathing became more and more labored, that’s when I called 911. When the ambulance arrived, his oxygen was down to 68, but his heart rate was also very low. They immediately transported him to Children’s hospital and starting running every test imaginable. The results where a positive RSV and a positive pneumonia, which I was flabbergasted because he did not show any signs of sickness whatever until that day. I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing, but even still I had faith in God that he would heal my son. They immediately had to put Levi on a ventilator, paralyze him with ketamine, and sedate him with fentanyl. If I would have known when they took him from my arms that it was going to be the last time I got to hold him, I would have never let him go. Over the next few days, he was getting worse and worse and the doctors where baffled.

      They actually had me go home and bring them his medical records from birth back up to them to see if anything was missed. By this time, it was all over Facebook and every single person in our community was praying for our little man, which gave me an unbelievable amount of confidence that everything was going to be ok. I didn’t care what the doctors said, I believed and trusted in God. They ended up having to do a blood transfusion on day 6 and everything went down hill from there. The antibiotics where not working, the pneumonia had gotten worse, he had developed a blood clot in the pic line going into his neck and even with all that, my faith was not waivering. My husband was fasting and praying constantly in the waiting room floor. He believed that miracle was coming also. Then on the morning of January 14, the doctor came in to the waiting room, where they had me and my entire family waiting because they where trying to change out the pic line because of the blood clot blocking it, and he looked us dead in the eyes and said, “I absolutely hate to tell you this, but I don’t think your son is going to make it through the next few hours, we can’t get the new line in and his heart is starting to fail”. At that moment, everything went white, I couldn’t hear anything, and I began to wail with agony while screaming to God to save him now.

      That this was God’s chance to show everyone what a miracle worker he truly is. They let us back to the room immediately and as I stood next to his bed, I watched his heart rate continue to plummet. My heart was sinking right along with him and my husband was having a full on anxiety attack. I have never seen this man that I have been with for 22 years in more chaos and fear in my life. I pleaded with them to give me my son and let him pass in my arms and they finally agreed. I buckled to my knees as they where picking him up to hand him to me and was screaming, “now God, save him now please”. My sister’s picked me up and sat me in the chair as they handed me my precious baby boy and immediately I pulled him into my neck, kissed him, smelled him, told him how much I loved him and what he meant to me and our family. I just rocked back and forth squeezing him like I had never held anything so tight in my life. Within a 2 mins of him being placed in my arms, his heart stopped.

      I can tell you, at that moment, I was absolutely enraged, filled with anger like I have never felt and even though it has been 5 months since he passed, I am still angry. I have a hard time praying now. I stand in church and not even acknowledge worship because I have a hard time believing the words they are singing. Every thing in my life that I had believed to be true, was shattered that day. I know bad things happen, but I can’t understand why God didn’t save my son. Where was God in that moment when thousands where praying for my baby boy? I’m really struggling myself and I have no idea how to move forward from here. So I want you to know that I completely understand what you are feeling and it’s a pain that no one should ever have to go through on this Earth. I’m so very sorry. I know your heart is aching and longing for your baby. I wish I could just hug you and hold you. I mean that. Love to you.

      1. Such an outpouring of your soul. Thank you for commenting. I am sorry your lost your baby. What a horrible moment it was for you and your family when you expected something quite different.

      2. Samantha,

        I am so sorry about the death of Levi. As i read your story it took me back to when my daughter Kaitlin died. She had special needs that were not diagnosed. She spent 3 months in the hospital and was being followed by different specialists. About a week before she died her pediatrician remarked of how well she was doing. We aren’t sure the cause of her death but we think it began with RSV. Her body was really weak and she went fast. I had people say you cant be mad at God or you shouldn’t be. I wanted to ask how many of your children have died. Job was pissed at God. There are some angry Psalms by David. God can handle our anger.

        It is ok to not feel like worshipping. I do want to tell you however God loves you. Even if you cant feel it right now. God loves you. He is with you and will give you strength.

        I remember telling a spiritual director (someone i meet with to talk about how God is working in my life) that i didn’t feel like praying. He responded thats ok. Other people are praying for you now.

        Grief is a journey and it sucks but God is right there with you.

        God bless you and your family

    4. Amber,

      I am so sorry about the death of your daughter. There are some things that happen in life that do not make sense and the pain is beyond comprehension. I have experienced the death of 2 children. Kaitlin was born with special undiagnosed needs. She spent her first 3 months in the hospital and only lived 13 months. At the time of her death my sons were 3 and 4. Years later my oldest son, Matthew, died by suicide. There is so much i don’t understand. But i do believe God is with us in our pain. I believe this also grieves the heart of God. I believe something good can come from this. Im not saying God caused these deaths but God can work good through them.

      I dont know if that makes sense. I am praying for you and your family.

    5. I believe some if what is said here, but none of you will ever know my pain. Under a family member’s care, Amanda had a hard life, probably sexually abused, mentally abused, physically abused, I never talk about it,
      I tried my best to give her a normal life, Catholic Schools, Counseling, etc. But it wasn’t enough, I got the call that she was dead, at the age of 22, such a sweet girl, who would take in homeless cats.
      Where was my GOD that day?

      1. Lisa- I’m going to let Tamara and/or Lloyd comment here. But I want you to know that initial raw grief is devastating. Your sweet girl Amanda. How you speak of her shows me how much love you gave. I lost my son at 20 to suicide. I do understand.

  4. My son 7 years old died on 15.3.2020 due to sudden accidental drowning. I was devastated because everything happened silently and quickly. My hubby and I prayed hard to God and on our knees. When he passed away, half of our world was gone. I know what you’re going through, I thought of suicide too, but i have another younger child to take care. Yes i could not feel God’s presence and i could not understand his plans. But i still pray hoping that my boy is in heaven with him because that is the safest place for him.

    1. Tamara will likely answer. She lost her son Logan. I lost my son Charles.

      I am so sorry that you lost your precious son in such a horrific accident. Many parents who’ve lost a child struggle with thoughts of suicide. And most of them say they lived because they felt obligated to live. But that worked for many. Thank you for commenting and I am sorry you are going through this.

    2. Pei,

      I am so sorry about the death of your son. The pain is devastating. I understand your feelings of not wanting to go on with life.
      God is with you and will give you strength. Sometimes it is simply the strength to keep going.

      The loss of a child is out of the natural order and when it happens so suddenly that only adds to the shock.

      I am praying for you and your family.

      God bless you

  5. I lost my only son on march 1 2020..eric james was our only child..heartbroken and lost is my current feeling. Eric was never a sickly child and there’s only complaining of a headache and neck pain . The doctors said it was probably the flu. Sadly Hospital notify us it was AML leukemia 12 days after his diagnosis. He passed away. Even at the age of twenty-two Eric James shared his faith with many and touched a lot of lives according to his friends and the stories we’ve been hearing my heart is broken but I know he’s with our Lord and savior I just want to be with him again. I just want the pain to stop.

      1. My son Gates died this week after being on Lifesupport for 24 days and having a condition called HLH…He was 14 and severely Autistic and was my reason for living….I had to make the decision to take him of Life support and I am Heartbroken and in the darkest place I could ever imagine anyone going through….he was never seriously ill prior to April 24 2020 and this condition attacked and destroyed his organs in 3 weeks ….maybe I didn’t deserve beautiful child and that is why God let him pass ….maybe I wasn’t a good enough mother , even tho I tried my very best…. I am so hurt and just can’t imagine Life without him

        1. Oh Angelina. I’m so very sorry. That is devastating and heartbreaking. I want you to know you made the right decision. As hard as it was, leaving him there as a shell of a human being is not the way he would have wanted to live.

          I lost my son to suicide and at first I felt as if I was being punished. So I prayed for the strength to see my way forward. It doesn’t feel like it right now, but the pain you are feeling is what is healing you. And I know how dark and painful that place is. I feel it in your words and I’ve been there, too. It hurts so so much you feel you can’t survive. You don’t know how you’ll do it. What I told myself was that as bad as it was right then, it would never be as bad as it was when I got the news. That part is over and as much as it still hurts, it will never be that bad again. I will say a prayer for your son, Gates today.

          You say you are in a dark place and I have to ask if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide. If you are, do know that is actually normal for those who’ve lost a child but that doesn’t mean it’s not life-threatening because it is. Let me know if that’s the case, so I can help you save your own life.

          1. I am so grateful to have found this site. I lost my son to cancer he fought hard lost his leg but continued to be kind to everyone even his girlfriend who left him because of the cancer. I also thought God was punishing me for my divorce from my sons father . My pastor kept saying things like if you pray & have faith God will heal but it never happened i am so confused. i believe in God but my faith is shaken

            1. For a lot of us, our faith is shaken. I think pastors need to go into more detail when it comes to how to “pray and have faith.” Because to a lot of us, we want to pray our way into a solution or a reason. Once I prayed for the strength to see myself through the nightmare of loss, I felt the strength of moving forward. I’m so sorry your son had such a struggle. Losing a limb and then the girlfriend walking out had to be hard for you to watch while your son was fighting for his life. Thank you for posting. Because others read these comments and feel less alone. Your story is important. I’m sure Lloyd and/or Tamara, the authors, will also comment here but from one mom to another, we understand the pain.

    1. Dear Donna, I am so sorry. I’m sorry. I know your pain. I lost my son in September 2018. He died on my arms unexpected. I know your pain so much. You are not alone. You just started your journey of grief. It will be hard, very hard, incredibly hard but you will see things you never seen and felt before. That change you and your life forever.

    2. I just lost my son February 18 th 2020 just last month. He was 44 living with me he has 4 kids. He got the flu Sunday night , he died Tuesday. I didn’t call an ambulance in time I was busy . I hate myself

      1. Who would have thought a 44 year old man would die from the flu? That’s so rare. It’s still so new and so raw. And you will beat yourself up for a bit before you let go of that. Self blame is part of the process of grieving a child. Guilt for not having known or protecting them. You are welcome to talk about him as much as you want here, to feel hurt and pain and his love. You are welcome to tell me more about him.

    3. Donna I lost my son on 8/30/2020 he was 21, he had battled and beat Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was complaining of a headache and neck pain. He was in a small fender bender the week of. We thought it was whiplash, he fainted and I took him to the ER. We found out he had cancer the next morning he was gone. I am having the hardest worst time. It was AML that took him like a thief in the night. I just want to know why?

      1. What a shock, Celeste. First, I’m really sorry about your son and do let me know what his name was. That “why?’ question takes a while to work through. And I hope you will. I’ll let Lloyd know you’ve posted so he can share some of his wisdom.

  6. I lost my only son on march 1 2020..eric james was our only child..heartbroken and lost is my current feeling. Even at the age of twenty-two Eric James shared his faith with many and touched a lot of lives according to his friends and the stories we’ve been hearing my heart is broken but I know he’s with our Lord and savior I just want to be with him again.

    1. Donna- It’s not uncommon for mothers who’ve lost a child to have thoughts of suicide. It sounds as if you are struggling with this now. Let me know your city, state so I can find you some resources. Please answer me. I am concerned about you. I’m so sorry you lost your son. It’s so recent. I lost my son, Charles, to suicide. It was so unbearable at first. I know you are at that point now.

      1. :Hi Ann, I would never take my own life, although I am not afraid of dying.. My son had told me the week he wasnt feeling good, “Mom its not like Im gonna die..do you really think God would take me out when he promised me Jeremiah 29:11 .He has great plans for me..Its been really difficult for me to remember these things. however, We raised our son with the foundation of God, and I have to believe we are living in the past and he is living in our future..I used to tell my son if anything ever happened to you that I would be right behind you. his reply to me was, mom you cant do that cause you would never see me again..I know we raised a very faithful God loving son, based on the testimonies of his friends alone at his celebration of life..He was a wonderful person that always looked out for those around him..I miss him everyday and cry alot…I look for signs as alot of people do and actually have seen quite of few that brought comfort to me.thank you for this site.

        1. Thank you so much for sharing you son with me. It’s so so hard to lose a child. I explain it but nothing will ever do that kind of catastrophic loss justice. You are a good mom. And always a mom. You know there are a lot of things I am not afraid of any more after losing my son. I think that is the gift they leave us.

    2. I lost my 22 year old grandson March 19th. He was my heart. The world turned dark that day and has not changed. I try to stay close to Jesus. My son is literally dying inside. He went thru so much with Nick only to this happen. I know hes considered suicide but he also said then he’s afraid he wont get to see his son again in eternity. Lord give us all strength and grace to get thru this. My condolences to you also.

      1. My son was 20. I am so sorry your family is struggling with this loss. And those who lose a child are at higher risk for suicide. I am glad you LT son is opening up to you. Many times just listening helps prevent suicide. IT sounds very overwhelming. Are you in a support group of any kind right now?

  7. Thank you for your real feelings. I do believe it has changed you to a more compassionate person. I love the fact that you have had so many opportunities to witness to others with loss. Also I love the new lady in your life. She also has grown in her belief of God. I wish you both well in your future together. Love, Linda Roberts

    1. Julie, I have struggled with this as well.
      I was outraged at God for letting my son die. I was outraged that I couldn’t ask God how Logan was doing. What kind of God is that??

      When my son died, the pain was unbearable and still is at times… but the grief is always there. It has become a
      part of me. That searing pain and grief come from the deep love I have for my son. I love him like no other (still speak of his love in the present). Where did my ability to love like that come from?? I could reason it away with science and how my brain is wired. I believe that love comes from a greater source that binds us all.

      There is so much about God I don’t understand. And maybe I don’t need to. I just know love has something to do with it.

  8. Lloyd, I remember with much sadness, the loss of Kaitlin and Matthew. I have seen the hurt in your eyes, and that of your entire family. I have also seen the tremendous faith you have lived while walking this very difficult journey.

    The loss of our 33 year old daughter, Sarah, in January of last year, has brought the most pain and the deepest sadness I have ever known. It is a darkness that goes beyond your ability to conceptualize. God’s strength, faithfulness, and promise to be near the broken-hearted, is what has sustained me and my family. It is not an easy walk, but it would be impossible without God!

  9. I appreciate this so much. I think that the grief of losing my son has been so isolating and heartbreaking that I couldn’t question God. I needed so much to believe that He is with my son and that He is a connection between us.

  10. I have a really hard time with this whole area.
    Thank you for your great post! Looking forward to the time when I truly find meaning in life again!

      1. My son died 4/20/19 car accident. I screamed at god. My life has been on struggle and death after another. NEVER MY CHILD until Easter weekend 2019. Worst words a parent can hear. My total perception of religion has changed. Though I was raised Christian And believe my son is with god. I have no clue what to pray for. Praying didn’t protect or save him. I know just am thankful I can see him one day again.
        I just do not know how to pray.

        1. Rachel. I am the owner of this site an my child killed himself. Through his years of drug addiction and abuse I prayed it would stop. And after he died I just prayed for the strength to see myself through the grief. So I don’t have answers but I know that helped me. I am sorry you are in this club. It’s so brutal.

          1. I lost my son Ricky, the light and love of my life to brain cancer October 2019. He was a Godly man that brought many to Christ. Had a beautiful family, all Christian precious people. All I can keep asking is WHY GOD???? How can this be your Will? What good can come from this?? He was my only child. I don’t know what to pray for anymore, I feel guilty waking up everyday, a Mama should not have to bury her child !! I’m angry at God!! I just want my Ricky back, we all needed him, the world would have been much better with him in it as he was such an inspiration to so many with his bible teaching and Christian heart. How could God justify my son leaving this world so soon ????
            Thank you for letting me vent.
            Vicki,
            Ricky’s Mama

            1. What I can tell you is that being angry at God is natural. As a co-facilitator for a grief group, many who feel this way reveal it to me or the group but rarely outside it. I want you to know experiencing that emotion is natural. I felt it more before my son’s suicide when he was misusing substances and my son actually wrote a song about his depression called letter to god where he is angry with god for making him they way he was which was depression.

              I will share what I think and have learned over the years. I think that god doesn’t “plan” our child’s death or anything else that happens. Praying to god to spare a child is like praying for a pony in my opinion although that’s what I would do every time I am desperate. The day after Charles’ suicide I prayed for strength to get me through it. And then woke up every morning and forced myself to name one thing I was grateful for. This worked for me. Finding what works for you might take something like a support group for parents who’ve lost a child. That worked for me. Because I came to understand that a lot of what I was feeling was shared by the group. Compassionate friends is one and has National chapters.

              Thank you for being emotionally naked and expert what most of us who’ve lost a child have felt.

              1. Thank you for replying. Your comment of waking up each day and finding something to be grateful hit home. I am so blessed to still have my 92 year old Mom. She lost a child, 49 years ago, my Son was 49 when we lost him. I gave birth to my only child Ricky, 9 days after my 14 year old brother died. He was born two months early but very healthy. I know that God had his hands all over that because my parents grief turned to loving and helping me take care of our precious Ricky. My Mom understands me because she experienced the devastation of losing a
                child. So I will wake up each day being grateful for still having my Mom. My Ricky would not want me to be angry at God. I live to see my Son again in heaven, so I’m doing the best I can to turn back to God instead of turning my back to him. May God give all of us in this group peace, until we see our child/children again🙏
                Vicki, Ricky’s Mama

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