The last time I was at a funeral of a child, I was a child.  I am not sure how old I was, but it is one of those moments that has stuck in my mind forever.  The darkness of the chapel, the cross at the front with light streaming from behind it, and the tiny little casket at the back of the room.   A baby had died and my minister father was asked to memorialise a little life that barely got to live.

It has been over 35 years since I have been at a funeral of a child.  And today changed that.  Today I was with one of my sweet friends and her family as they formally said good-bye to their little man, a 6 1/2 year old lover of animals, plants, playing dress-up, soccer, and his family.

My heart literally hurt – as I heard this sweet little boy eulogised.

Elise and his big sister are fast friends.  Elise wanted to come to the funeral with us – to be a support to her lovely friend.  Carl and I were preparing her for what would be an emotional experience, and my very practical 9 year old said, “Mom, sometimes when it hurts really bad inside, it feels better to let it out, so I understand why there are tears.”

She was strong through the entire service, but at one point I looked over at her, and there were silent, huge tears streaming down her cheeks.  Later she told me that it was the poem on the back of the bulletin that made her cry.

The Day God Took You Home

You never said I am leaving
You never said goodbye
You were gone before I knew it,
And only God knew why.


A million times I needed you
A million times I cried
If love alone could have saved you,
You never would have died


In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place
That no one could ever fill


It broke my heart to lose you
But you didn’t go alone
For part of me went with you,
The day God took you home.


And my sweet Elise just silently read those words and wept for her friend’s loss.  Even now I cry.  Thinking of what it would be like to lose one of my children.  My heart can hardly bear to think of it, and yet these dear friends of mine lost their own just 5 days ago.

I have seen children die.  I was a PICU nurse for 7 years and saw too many children leave their parents in death.  Nothing compares to the grief of a parent when they have to leave his bedside for the last time…  the last time to hold his little hand, kiss his little cheeks, pat his little bum, or rub his little back, to run your fingers through his blond locks or feel his fingers entwined with yours.  Dear Lord.  The pain.

But good-byes have to be said.

So good bye sweet boy.  Elise will love on your sister and I will love on your mom.  Your dad is going to get a lot of love, too, because he is most definitely going to feel your loss.  You will be sorely missed by many – forever.  You will not be forgotten.  I have your picture up on my desk to remind me to love tortoises, pick flowers (even if they are weeds) and give them to people, lavish hugs on people, and not let a day go by without telling those I love how much they mean to me.

And someday we won’t have to say good-byes anymore.  God is going to wipe away all these tears.  And I personally can’t wait to see you and your family reunited.

Until then.  We wipe tears.  Feel pain.  Wonder why.  And hold tight to hope.

**written in my journal the afternoon of the funeral.  posting today.  one month later.

2 Responses to Good-byes
  1. Mom Reply

    My heart hurts too! I had forgotten you were at our dear friends’ funeral of their first born.
    Grieving a child is so hard! We are to go before they. Love to you and your dear friend. May she know there is a friend on the other side of the pond loving and grieving with her. Love you Mom

    • Michelle Reply

      Thanks mom. Really appreciate your love and support!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.