17 Years Ago I Said Good-Bye to My Son

On September 3, 17 years ago, I said good-bye to my son. He passed away in the wee hours of the morning on September 4. So I’m thinking of my baby boy today!

My husband and I were talking recently about how his death impacted us. It’s a very hard road back from something like that to trusting God again. As we were leaving our oldest daughter at her new university last weekend, we had to put her in God’s hands. And as my husband said, that’s really tough. If you lent some tool that you loved to a neighbour, and they returned it broken and scratched up, you wouldn’t be so ready to lend to that neighbour again. And when a baby dies, it’s easy to feel that way about God.

It is hard to trust again.

And yet Christopher is not broken and all scratched up. He is alive and he is thriving with God.

Christopher, I’m so glad you’re able to run and jump and laugh and do all the things you would have found challenging here on this earth.

And I’m glad that each day that I spend here is not one more day that I’m away from you; it’s one more day that I’m closer to being reunited with you. I’m still your Mommy.

On this day, to honour him, I thought I wouldn’t write a new post. I’d just link to other things that I’ve said about my precious boy.

Remembering…here’s my recollection of our last day together, and how God helped me to let go.

How Big Is Your UmbrellaHeaven is For Real…how a glimpse of heaven last year helped me to get through the anniversary of his death. We all need a little glimpse of heaven!

And for those of you who have also lost babies, here’s  A Prayer Through Tears, a column I wrote as a prayer for all of us walking through this.

I talk a lot about Christopher when I do women’s retreats, and about how having him helped me to be able to truly say that God is enough. And I learned how to trust God in new ways. I’ve written a book about it, How Big Is Your Umbrella–just a short book to help people walk through the things we often yell at God when life is tough, and the things that God whispers back. You can see it here.

Or, if you’re interested, here’s an audio download when I tell my story, but also weave in other illustrations of finally being able to fully trust God.

And now we’re going to have a family day where we celebrate those we have to hold here, and those we are waiting to hold in heaven.


  1. Sheila, am sorry the loss of your son was something you and your husband (and family) have had to walk through. :(

  2. Thinking of you as you think of him today.

  3. Many hugs and prayers to you as you mark the anniversary of this loss.

  4. Remembering with you today, Sheila.
    Lindsey Bell recently posted…When You No Longer Trust God (A Giveaway)My Profile

  5. A friend shared your blog with me today. I lost my infant daughter this past November 2012. She was with us for four hours before going home to Jesus. It comforts me to know that your son still means so much to you 17 years later. Thank you for sharing. Celebrating him with you today …
    Sarah recently posted…More Than I DeserveMy Profile

  6. My son was stillborn 8-15-13, and we are still in shock. Praying that things get better, and keeping you in my prayers as well.

  7. Sheila,

    We are so sorry for your loss. May Christopher’s impact on this earth continue to minister to other families dealing with child loss and the fact that he has joy in Heaven and you will see him again continue to bring you and your family peace.
    Michelle recently posted…Aug 29, Welcome to Marriage Guy and GalMy Profile

  8. Thank you for this and the accompanying blog entries. It allows me to relive my own experience with my stillborn son many years ago (coincidentally 4 Sep as well). So many bitter sweet memories. Even though some of it is painful, I still like to remember the painful parts — maybe it helps me know that I’m still human and that I still love him and have not forgotten him.

    I also appreciate your conviction that you will see and know him in heaven. I, too, find great comfort in knowing that Christ conquered death. I find comfort in believing that I will know and love my son in heaven. I recall a funeral where someone asked the deceased before he died who he most looked forward to meeting in heaven, and his response was that he most looked forward to meeting his stillborn daughter. I know there are some Christians/denominations who teach that we will not be able to recognize our family members in heaven or that we will be so wrapped up God’s/Christ’s love that we won’t care whether or not we recognize our family members. For this father, though, I prefer to believe that I will know my son (and wife and daughters) as I know them in this life, only perfected.

  9. Sheila; Thanks for this blog entry. Our stories are pretty similar. We lost a 12 yr old daughter 6 years ago to a freak accident. And just last week we put our college aged daughter on a plane to Thailand for a semester abroad. It was very difficult to let her go. Trusting is still hard. Thanks for always sharing from your heart.

  10. I read this blog on Thursday and ,our need along with others for the losses they felt. I had a miscarriage of my own two years ago. I was only 8 weeks along and while it was difficult, I don’t think it can compare to some of the other ladies stories, including yours Sheila. So, I tried to think what I would do, how I would react or feel if I found myself in the same situation. I hoped I would be strong and continue to trust God. I hoped I would not lose faith and that it would draw me closer to Him.

    Fast forward two days, Thursday I went to a regularly scheduled OB appt for my 17 weeks check up. I had spot a little in the morning so I let my doc know. He wasn’t overly concerned but suggested an ultrasound. I was excited for the change of plans, hoping I could sweet talk the tech in to revealing my baby’s gender. While my two girls (ages 3 and 20 months) climbed around me, the tech refused to give me the gender and didn’t really comment at all, except to say the bleeding seemed inconsequential. Heart rate and cervix looked good.

    I returned to my exam room and moments later my OB entered and told me they saw signs of concern. My babies head was measuring 3weeks smaller than it should and often times that is a red flag for genetic disorders. I cried, but tried hard to hold it together in front of my children. He scheduled an appt with a specialist for the afternoon.

    In between appointments I went home to rest and give my girls a nap. I opened my bible asking God where to read. He told me Psalms 46. (That doesnt happen very often, but i felt it on my spirit that was where to look.) There the first and second verse says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear though the earth be removed and the mountains fall into the midst if the sea.” Later in the chapter it says “Be still and know that I am God.” I thought ok, no problem. God has this. It’s probably just a mistake and everything will be fine. Then I felt in my spirit Him saying it may not be, but I will still be your strength. I continued to think of all the genetic disorders I knew and started praying it was one I thought I could handle.

    That afternoon my husband and I sat in another room with another ultrasound. After a quick check, the specialist entered and told us that our baby had a condition called anencephaly (my husband says there are scary pictures online so be careful if you feel led to look it up. I can’t look.) anencephaly has various stages. Our baby, a son we learned, had never developed a brain or a skull. Because of this I was keeping my baby alive and he would never have a chance to live outside of my womb, with us, I would never hold him in my arms, rock him to sleep, introduce him to his sisters. He was going to die. Words can’t describe the devastation I feel at this news.

    I am now in the process of losing my son. I am scheduled to be induced for labor Monday afternoon. They said it could take up to 48 hours. I will experience labor and leave th hospital with empty arms.

    These last two days I have gotten to see how I would handle a tragedy. I’m so thankful to say that Psalms 46 is so incredibly true. God has been my refuge and strength. I can feel the prayers of friends and family and feel that indeed Gods arms are wrapped snugly around me. I dread the delivery process, and while eager to start the healing process, I am scared too of really saying goodbye to my son, Levi. I’m thankful I will see him once again, along with his sister, Taylor who is waiting for him in heaven, but I’m sad for me and my family and all we are missing out on by experiencing his presence in our daily life.

    I’ve not shared the whole story with anyone except my mom, but the anonymity of the internet is a bit therapeutic. Please pray for my husband and I on Monday as we say goodbye to our son. Pray that it is a quick process, and that we continue to rely on God to be our strength. Because we can’t do it alone. Thank you.

    • Danielle, I’m so very sorry to hear this. It’s been three weeks since I gave birth to our son at 23 1/2 weeks. Somethings that have been a comfort to me were the fact that I got his hand and foot prints. If up close pictures are not desired for any reason, consider taking a few of you and your husband holding him where you can only see you and the blanket. Those pictures are the ones I look at. Programs like “Now I lay me down to sleep” send professional photographers to take pictures for free (bring your own camera as well). I’m sure Sheila would send you may email address, if you want it, if you have any questions at all, or just want to vent. I will keep you in my prayers!

      • Yes, certainly, I can send her your email address! I’m so, so sorry for your loss, too, Sharon. But you will always be his Mommy. I treasure his footprints and handprints, too.

    • Oh, Danielle, I’m so sorry. On Monday I’ll put a note up on the Facebook page and ask people to pray for you. I’m sure they will all uphold you in their hearts and in their prayers.

      That’s so beautiful how God gave you a verse. What a lovely thing to be able to hold on to.

      This is a tragedy, and it always will be, and there will always be sadness. But I pray that you and your husband will be able to draw close to each other, and that God will be a very present help in trouble–that you will feel His arms around you.

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