Phantom Cries

When Emily’s four-month-old baby boy died unexpectedly, Linda, an ICU baby nurse, told her, “You’ll hear him crying at night.” Although the words sounded harsh, Linda wanted to prepare the grief stricken mom for that possibility.

In the tiny casket, surrounded by small toys and teddy bears, Shane looked like a doll dressed in little boy clothes.The bears were a gift from a local group, Infants Remembered in Silence (IRIS), that supports grieving parents. An IRIS representative met the frantic, grieving couple at the emergency room and stayed with them while the doctors worked to resuscitate their baby.

IRIS practices the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT): “He [God] is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” Someone who has experienced a similar loss can relate in a way others cannot. They are the only ones who can say, “I understand your pain.”

The young pastor who led the funeral service read many comforting Scriptures reminding us of Jesus’ compassion and special love for children. We sang, “Jesus Loves Me” and “Children of the Heavenly Father.”

Friends transported the small casket to the hearse and then to the gravesite. Shane was buried next to his great grandparents, a comfort to his grandma, Lois. It was a beautiful spring day and the birds sang, almost as if they were welcoming Shane to their peaceful home.

As a believer, I’m reassured by the promise of Christ’s love and a home for us in Heaven with him. Lois envisioned her husband, the baby’s grandpa who is already a resident there, reaching out to take little Shane in his arms to welcome him home.

Emily’s sister, Amanda, stood behind her and Eric at the gravesite with a hand on each shoulder—a gesture which said, “We’re here for you; your family will walk this journey with you.”

It’s been said that losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare; their world is  changed forever. Phantom cries will invade their dreams, and the loss of baby Shane, will always be with them.

“Comfort them, Jesus, in their grief; draw them close to you for strength and healing in the days and months ahead. Help me to remember them in my prayers.”

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