- Family and Parenting
Enduring the Death of A Child
Since my sojourn in northern Canada, I've known of numerous parents who have lost a child. Whether through suicide, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or small children dying because of some type of illness, suffering the death of a child is not a strange occurrence.
There have also been a few times - though not many - when a child has died as a result of an accident.
Regardless of how a child has died, dealing with the ensuing sense of loss which the death of a child brings into our lives, is a journey unlike any other. After all, as parents, we would prefer for our children to bury us - not the other way around.
It is my hope that this lens will bring comfort to you, as parents, especially if you have suffered the death of a child.
The focus of this lens will be on a little boy who will live immortally as a 6-year-old. His name is Joshua Scott; I've decided to omit his last name to protect the identity of his family.
I invite you to take a journey with me into the heart and soul of Joshua Scott. May his life be an inspiration to us all.
Photo used with permission.
Death of a Child ~ Personal Situation
You can answer this poll anonymously or may leave a comment to go along with your answer. It's entirely up to you.
Have you suffered the loss of a child, whether as a parent, grandparent, or sibling?
Warning in effect: you may need a few tissues before finishing this lens.
Joshua Scott ~ Norma Budden
What's the connection?
I didn't know Joshua personally. However, I have known people like him - people who enjoyed reaching out to others, who freely forgave and put love in action.
I'm not going into the circumstances surrounding his death but I will tell you that Joshua lived a happy sheltered life right up to the moment before he entered Heaven's gates. I know children who have suffered terrible lives and continue to live in unhappy homes.
I will be honest with you: when I first heard about Joshua, I cried. No, I sobbed. No, it was even more than that because I felt like my chest was growing tight and I couldn't breathe because my need to cry aloud was so great. However, so as not to alarm my children, the tears flowed but I remained silent and it was a torture in and of itself.
I knew Joshua would never trade living in Heaven to experience even a few days on Earth again but, the human part of me mourned greatly. I carried him with me day and night - dreaming of him, walking to work while it seemed he was with me and, any spare moment I had to think, he was there. I shared him with my employees and, each time I brought up his name, I felt a sense of peace wash over me. It felt good but the tears always came again.
"I am a Child of God."
One of the most beloved children's songs Joshua knew was called,
"I am a Child of God."
In fact the musical notes to this song are engraved upon his headstone.
If you would like to hear the words to this song, please listen to the YouTube video immediately below.
I am a Child of God
Death of a Child ~ The Promise of Heaven
Does the promise of Heaven make the death of a child easier to bear?
It surely makes a positive difference when one has faith.
There are only losers in the what-if game.
Please, Stop Driving Yourself Crazy ...
It's for your own sanity and safety
Are you guilty of playing the what-if game? I know many people play this game frequently.
I believe it's human nature to cast blame and, when there is no one else present during a situation/crisis, it's easy to point the finger at yourself - to hold yourself accountable for whatever has happened. Granted, there are times you create your own challenges by taking paths best avoided. However, when it comes to suffering the death of a child, unless you deliberately ended your child's life, please stop blaming yourself. As long as you play this game in which no one can win, you will never begin to heal - and heal you must, if you want to live a healthy life again.
You can create a hundred scenarios of how things could have been different "if only" but the truth is that the facts won't change. They never do and you continue to feel an overwhelming sense of grief because you allow your imagination to dart of in different directions.
It's not easy but, it's time to stop. Simply put: you owe it to yourself, your family and friends.
Photo credit: Google
Joshua Scott wanted to learn everything, even how to fire a rifle; his grandpa taught him.
What are some of the emotions parents and even siblings feel when a child they have loved and nurtured dies at a young age?
To be clear, I have given birth to three children and they are all living with me and are faring well. What tomorrow brings, I do not know but, for today, they are safe and healthy - and I'm extremely thankful. However, some of my closest friends and several of my employees and co-workers have suffered the loss of a child or sibling.
Surely, it affects us all but what about those living in the home? What are some of the emotions people struggle through when trying to cope with the death of a child?
Joshua Scott's Motto
If Joshua's life could be defined in a phrase, it is this:
~ Joshua did everything he could to touch the soul of everyone he met. ~
Joshua Scott ~ Love in Action
I've compiled a few facts about Joshua Scott by those who really took the opportunity to get to know him. He may not have lived to the ripe age of a senior citizen but it is my belief that he fulfilled his mission on Earth. I believe Joshua Scott accomplished more for God in a few years than most people do in a lifetime.
- Joshua had a way of making everyone feel special. It didn't matter whether he knew them well or met them in passing. A hug was a special gift he gave when he felt a person needed one. He enjoyed visiting adults, at random, and was often told his visit was just what they needed.
- Joshua was affectionate. He loved to snuggle, especially when it came time to go to sleep. He enjoyed being read to every night and knew God not only heard his prayers but answered them, too.
- Joshua was devoted to his siblings. When babysitters would come - after he got used to both of his parents being away at the same time for a while - he would make sure the babysitter was looking after his little brother properly. When his sister came along, he absolutely cherished her.
- Joshua loved his parents and had no trouble showing it. The way he interacted with them made people around them take notice and feel good.
- Joshua was a normal little boy in that he loved superheroes, especially Superman.
- Joshua was a negotiator. Whether it was trying to get additional treats or to stay up a little later at bedtime, he was a smooth negotiator and had his ducks lined in a row.
- Joshua is the Hebrew word for Jesus and his dad isn't able to think of a more Christ-like soul.
- Joshua had energy. He loved music, dance and singing. He only had to hear a song once and, if he loved it, he would sing it over and over. He enjoyed performing and, especially, interacting with other kids, even as he cheered them on in their efforts.
- Joshua had no trouble saying he was sorry if he did something out of line. His apology was heartfelt and no one could question his sincerity.
- Joshua was a team player. Whether he was prouder of his own triumphs or those of his teammates has never really been determined.
- Joshua hated to see people suffering. If there was some way he could help a person, he did it without prompting. He saw a need and went about fulfilling it.
- Joshua forgave easily; he never held grudges. Each day was a new day - a new beginning - and past ills did not belong. Joshua knew that forgiveness was key.
Forgiveness is Key
The death of a child is difficult, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. A child may die during sleep, from falling down a flight of stairs, being involved in a vehicular accident or from a terminal illness, to name only a few.
However, in cases where there was an offender/perpetrator which brought about the death of a child, the immediate course of action may be to lash out in blame and/or anger. There may be a tendency to retaliate. The thought of forgiveness may be nowhere near the forefront of your mind or may be pushed aside as you deal with the ensuing emotions you feel.
Even so, forgiveness is the best course of action to take. It frees you from an emotional prison - from bondage and a life lived in despair. When you don't forgive, you are the one who remains hurting and bitter; the offender moves on in life - may even go on to enjoy a rich and rewarding life - while you remain immersed in the past and all its pain.
It may be the most difficult thing you'll ever have to do but it will be the most rewarding for all concerned. You won't risk the chance of losing your family and friends and the person who has contributed to the cause of death will feel an enormous burden being lifted from their shoulders. Even in cases where the death of your child resulted from terrible actions of another, forgiveness is still the key to living a successful and rewarding life, regardless of your system of beliefs.
Dance may be a universal language but so is the art of forgiveness. Everyone who has been forgiven knows how wonderful that particular gift is to receive. Everyone who has forgiven knows the freedom and peace it provides. Just because the parameters change - instead of someone snubbing you they were the vessel responsible for the death of your child - it doesn't mean the principles of forgiveness change.
Yes, it may seem like a bitter pill to swallow but, truly, you have to forgive so you can begin to heal.
Photo credit: QuotesPic.
A Child's Prayer
Celebrating a Life
I don't cry each time I look at Joshua's picture now. I can let my imagination run wild and bring myself to hysteria if I let myself but I know it's not the answer. I'm at peace, even though I never thought this day would come; I thought I would cry myself to sleep every night.
Will I think of Joshua and cry sometimes as the future unveils itself? I definitely will. I truly feel like he was a part of me and I miss him. However, God is changing me from the inside; He's doing something spectacular.
I still feel Joshua's presence but it brings a smile now. I celebrate the life he lived. He's a little boy whom I've grown to love very deeply and I've finally given him over to God. It feels right but I will never forget the smile that lit up the room - not to mention the hearts and souls of those he encountered.
Photo used by permission.
I know this lens must have been painful for you to read, especially if you have lost a child or sibling of your own, or to whom you were really close.
It doesn't really matter what your connection was, I suppose, because grief is grief and people experience it in varying degrees. The one common denominator is that the death of a child certainly wakes a person up as to how frail life really is - and how tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
If you have any words to share with Joshua's family, or others who have lost a child who was - and remains - close to their heart, please feel free to share them below.