Charly sat on the back stoop of her suburban home staring at the sky layered with thick gray clouds as a stiff cool breeze washed over her. How she wished it would rain. For the first time in the three months since Nicholas’s passing, she felt. Warm tears eased down her cheeks. She reached up to them wipe it away, but decided to let them roll.
Hadn’t she been strong for everyone else? Serving coffee after the funeral wearing a plastic smile, accepting hugs and kisses from family and friends. So many scriptures had crossed her hearing; she dare not try to repeat even one. Now alone with God, Charly could be herself. How could a heart shattered into a million pieces recover? “Oh God,” she whispered. “I don’t understand.” She cupped a trembling hand over her mouth. The sound of her own anguished filled voice was frightening. It wasn’t unbelief that made her cry out, no way. Faith had been her oxygen. When death had claimed her mother only 6 months before Nicholas, Charly felt a peace and through tears praised God for her mom’s life. But, this who could bear it?
Nicholas a beautiful baby with a smile so full of sunshine it could melt your heart. He was only six months when his father found him dead in his crib. His little body cold… his skin discolored. SIDS had claimed yet another victim. At the news Charly couldn’t stop screaming. She felt alone in her agony. Nicholas, her Fat-fat was gone. Her arms felt empty. God seemed so far away, so removed from it all, yet deep inside she felt the rumble of His presence. Yes, Jesus wept. David wrapped his arms around his distraught wife. She couldn’t feel him. Her body covered in pain was numb to everything, but the pain. She wanted to, no needed to pray yet there were no words. David, fell to his knees holding her cold hand in his, “Father this is so hard. We don’t understand why our grandson was taken, but Lord we thank you that He’s in your presence. You love him and he’s in your care. We hurt Father, but you don’t make mistakes. Help us to get through this sorrow and turn this tragedy into triumph. All things for your glory and our good. In Jesus’ name. Amen,” he prayed.
Sleep walking is the only way to describe the days following Nicholas’s funeral. The phone calls had slowed to one or two a day and David was back at work. Life had resumed, how was that possible? A piece of her soul had flown away. Someone was here and now he is gone. Before he could say mama or dada he departed. All her plans for first steps, birthday parties, kindergarten and tons of other first had vanished like smoke.
Yet, right there, on her back stoop a stirring began. A song welling up in her soul, “God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So when you don't understand. When don't see his plan, when you can't trace his hand, trust His Heart.” Charly lifted her eyes heavenward as the sky burst into tears. Father I trust you. With those words she heaved the load she’d been struggling under onto the capable shoulders of the Lord. The peace of God that passes all understand flooded her being. That exchange of burdens freed Charly to remember and celebrate Nicholas’s life.
The curtain of gray clouds parted revealing a clear blue sky. Bright sunshine kissed Charly’s rain soaked cheeks dry and warmed her heart with the knowledge that she could trust the Father’s heart. “Goodnight fat-fat,” she whispered. “Grandma will see you in the morning.”
My grandson Nicholas Sebelski died of SIDS April 9, 2004. When writing this piece I couldn’t put my name in it. At the time of this writing it felt as if I watch watching someone else. SIDS is still around and continues to snatch away the lives of little ones. Support your local SIDS organizations as they keep this silent killer in the minds of the politicians and bring comfort to families who have lost a child.
My heart just goes out to you. I can't even imagine what that was like. I have a 15month grandson and he's so precious to me. I know you have made your peace, but your pain is felt through this article. I thank God for those moments he gives us when we're going through. No one can take it away. It's a memorial he gives us when we go through another trial. God bless.