How Can We Understand a Child's Death?

Blogger and former hospice nurse Trudy Harris offers words of hope and comfort for coming to terms with the loss of a child.

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Trudy Harris

How do we begin to understand the death of a child? What words can be offered to comfort a parent when their child dies before them? Scripture tells us in Wisdom 4:14 that “the people saw and did not understand.”

A young man wrote to me today telling me he had read the Affrikaanse edition of Glimpses of Heaven and that it had brought him great comfort. He said he had stopped believing in God and any afterlife. Though now, it seems as if God had a message for him.

Young friends of his had lost their three-year-old daughter to a brain tumor in December 2010. While she was resting, she would tell her dad about seeing Jesus playing with little children in heaven. She named a few she had known, who had been in the hospital with her. When her father checked with the nurses, they told him that, sadly, those children had all died.

Children often share openly about their experiences of dying. They are not jaded by the world’s fears and are more familiar with God than we realize. They understand his love.

In the passage from Wisdom, we are told that, when God takes the young early, it is because he finds their souls pure and beautiful; they have not yet been touched by the world’s evil. They have been made perfect in a very short while and so he takes them home to himself.

I am certain, as this little child said, that Jesus plays with them. Just think about nine-year-old Christy, who died in the Tucson shooting. You know that heaven is a happier place because she is there, “but the people saw and did not understand.”

I would love to hear your stories of receiving comforting messages or signs as or after a loved one passes. You can send them to [email protected]. And also, if you have any questions about end-of-life issues or experiences, please don’t hesitate to send them along as well.

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