Grace and peace to you! Today is an important step for Immaculate Hope Ministries. This post marks the beginning of our blog. Our vision for this website and blog is for it to be an essential tool and means for us to support and accompany parents, relatives and friends of the children who have died during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
After the death of our son Caleb, blogs and the online community of bereaved parents were an immense consolation and a beacon of light and hope in what was our darkest moment. Many of those blogs we poured over and sought out like an oasis in a desert were an irreplaceable presence for us. They were personal stories of parents’ experiences with loss and grief, and they documented the raw emotion, struggle and ultimate triumph over grief as each parent found a way through the tangled maze that we all travel after the loss of a child. These personal witnesses are incredibly important testimonies, because grief is unique and individual to each bereaved parent as he or she mourns the loss of the unique and irreplaceable child that had died. It is only through the human person that we can truly know grief, because it is human persons whom we have lost and love.
Having said this, this blog is not to be a personal testimony of our grief, because we have already written that here. Our intent with this blog is to present a theology of grief and pregnancy loss, to give voice and commentary to the many great spiritual resources for the healing journey of grief, and – most importantly – to be a source of faith, hope and love for you and your family during this time of darkness, brokenness, and emptiness after the death of a child.
The death of a child is abnormal. We all expect to die one day – it is the last human absolute in the post-modern world we live in. No one, however, anticipates that their child will die before them. The death of a child is a particular trauma that induces a complex grief. There are many aspects to our person (mind/psyche, body/physiology, spirit/soul).† For the symptoms of mind and body, we can only encourage you to seek professional support (e.g. counseling, doctors, etc.). We have found their wisdom and knowledge to be an irreplaceable aid in our own grief journey. However, the physical and emotional aspects of grief are temporal symptoms of bodily existence. In fact, the body in its current form is destined for death, but the soul is eternal. The eternal soul abhors death. Within the soul is the sense that we are not destined for temporal existence and death, but for eternity and life. Understanding the body-soul distinction is important when considering grief. The symptoms of our grief are just that – symptoms. The eternal, absolute cause of our problem is death itself, and there is only one solution, one remedy, one victory over death – Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead. It is he who our soul longs for, who will rescue us from the inevitability of death, and who is our salvation and hope!
This blog, and our entire ministry, is nothing other than proclaiming the Risen Christ as the only eternal and complete solution to the deaths of our children and the fallout of grief that follows. Like John the Baptist, we are merely a voice crying out in the desert of grief, “Make straight the way of the Lord!” (Jn 1:23) To encounter the Risen Christ during grief is vital. He was, is and always will be present to each of us personally and uniquely throughout our grief journeys. We have in fact died with our children, but each of them and each of us are brought back to life again in the victory of Jesus over death. We are each hidden in Christ our Life, who is our hope and our glory. It is this message which we will proclaim in every way, in the hope that each of you might encounter Jesus Christ who is love, life and resurrection over death.
We pray daily for those who have suffered the death of a child during pregnancy or infancy. We entrust these prayers to Mary, our Mother and Immaculate Hope, who also held the dead body of her only son Jesus, but held him with hope in the promise of life and victory over death. May our Lord and his mother console you, accompany you, and bring you back to life!