Poem for Parents Who Have Lost a Child

Before I was born, my parents lost a son. At six years of age, David was hit by a car, never to regain consciousness. As a child, I was fascinated by the many details…subsequently, all my life, I’ve known that life is precious. Children do die.

With my 7 year old daughter’s various health trials this year, especially her four day fight with fevers above 103 degrees, I’ve found myself dwelling a bit more on the unutterable pain of what it must be to outlive your child. Especially when their suffering is involved, suffering you can do nothing to ease. I realize I’ve encountered nothing new, nothing earth-shattering, compared to some of you who have lost a child, whether to miscarriage or a horrible accident or disease. And I’m not promoting thoughts of doom and gloom, merely suggesting that we appreciate the time we have with these precious ones, and in the meantime, pray God draws us close in the best ways possible to prepare us for whatever our future, and that of our children, holds. Without a flight plan, the turbulence of life could easily toss us into storms that break us to pieces.

I’ll Lend For You

“I’ll lend you, for a little while, a child of mine,”He said

“For you to love while he lives and mourn when he is dead.

It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three, but will you

till I call him back, take care of him for me?

He’ll bring his charms to gladden you and shall his stay be brief,

you’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay, as all from earth return

but there are lessons taught down there that I want this child to learn.

I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true,

and from the throngs that crown life’s lanes, I have selected YOU.

Now will you give him all your love not think the labor vain

nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again.”

I fancied that I heard them say “Dear Lord, Thy will be done.

For all the joys thy child will bring The risk of grief we’ll run.

We will shelter him with tenderness, We’ll love him while we may—

And for the happiness we’ve known Forever grateful stay.

But should the angels call for him Much sooner than we’ve planned,

We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes And try to understand.”

Written By: Edgar A. Guest

Did you read this through tears, as I did? Then go hold your children close and thank God for all your blessings.

Sometimes we take the best things in life for granted.

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44 Responses to Poem for Parents Who Have Lost a Child

  1. Mary's Mom says:

    Someone once said, ‘If you hold your child with open hands, trusting God, it doesn’t hurt as much when God chooses to take them home.’ God can be trusted…oh, can He! We have wonderful memories of our little David even though he lived but 6 years. In a sense, the ‘accident’ was no accident at all. God allowed it and promised grace to get through it…and that grace was unspeakable! Thanks, Mary. Love that poem and your thoughts.

  2. Aunt Ruth says:

    And a week later my only child, a son, was born. It’s been 41 1/2 years ago. The Lord Gives, The Lord Takes Away.

  3. Mary says:

    Mom, you and Dad and how you handled it has been a testimony to sooo many people. I’ve no doubt that it wasn’t an “accident” as you put it. I wish I could have known David, but will look forward to meeting him one day in Heaven.

    Aunt Ruth, I don’t think I ever made that connection, I’m sure mom probably mentioned it at some point, but my recall isn’t what it should be! That has been a long time ago…hard not to think “what if”?

  4. Geri says:

    I read this through tears…luckily just before I logged on here, Kyle was tossing and turning in my bed so I went to get him (just in time…little tyke was sitting in his sleep!)so I was holding him through this.

    Mary and Mary’s Mother-I am so sorry for your loss. Thankfully, the Lord heals and shelters us through the storms of Life.

  5. MInTheGap says:

    It’s never easy to lose someone, regardless of how old or young. Yet it’s comforting to know that even when a sparrow falls we know that He knows.

    Thanks for the poem Mary– for it far outreaches just those that have lost young children (we lost twins only 2 months in-utero), but also covers those that have lost older ones as well.

    MInTheGap’s last blog post..Love Your Body

  6. Mary says:

    Thank you, Geri, I know that came from your heart and it means a lot.

    MIn, I was thinking of you and Virtuous Blond, as well as several other friends when I mentioned miscarriages above. I can only imagine how hard it must be, to wonder why, and all the “what if’s”. I’m glad you’ve drawn closer to the Lord for it.

  7. Lydia says:

    My older brother, Stuart, was hit and killed by a car when he was 13 years old. I was only 3 but remember much of it. My father held Stuart in his arms as he died. My mother always said that she didn’t know how people got through the death of a child without knowing the Lord. She said if it hadn’t have been for her relationship with God, she would have climbed in the casket with him. I can’t imagine losing a child. I have 2 daughters. My youngest daughter, who is almost 7 months old, is getting ready to have surgery this Tuesday. She has a cyst on her bile duct which must be removed. I have to say that I have also faced the same thoughts that you have been facing lately. And, like you, I have a strong example through parents that have been through it and handled it with the utmost grace and faith. I know that my daughter has a good surgeon, and I know that she is in the hands of the Great Physician. I guess it’s always still in the back of my mind though, just as it is yours. My mother has this poem crosstitched in a frame on her wall. It always touches me when I read it. I thank God so much for giving me two beautiful children.

  8. Mary says:

    Oh Lydia, your post brought tears to my eyes…of course you’ve been pondering such thoughts, my 7 year old is getting ready for surgery also, for cysts in her foot. Surgery can seem to be such a scary thing, I’m so thankful for God’s presence and am praying for His wisdom as we try to get our daughter ready for her hospital experience. She’s very afraid.

    My heart goes out to you and your precious 7 month old baby…I promise to be praying for you…please let me know next week how it all went.

    ((Hugs))

  9. Lydia says:

    I’ll let you know how it went, but I am not sure if it will be next week. The doctor said she would probably be in the hospital for 5 to 7 days, so I will be staying with her there. I’ll let you know as soon as we get home though. Thank you for your prayers! I will be praying for you and your daughter as well. ((hugs))

  10. Mary says:

    I understand…will be praying on Tuesday anyway, and thereafter till we hear from you! Thank you for praying for us!

  11. Lydia says:

    Well, as we already know, God is awesome. It’s just wonderful to see Him prove it over and over. We went to the hospital expecting a 5-7 night stay. We got home last night at 11:30. She only had to stay one night. (Imagine how overpacked we were!) lol

    It turns out, the cyst was not where the surgeon thought it was. He thought it was a bulge on the main bile duct, which would have meant removing it and pulling a loop of the small intestine up and connecting it. It turns out, when he got her in surgery, the cyst was just a branch off of the smaller bile duct leading from the main one to the gallbladder. All he had to do was remove this smaller duct. A surgery we were expecting to last 4 hours lasted an hour and a half. This was the best case scenario discussed at the pre-op visit in his office, but he really thought it was the worst case scenario. It’s good it wasn’t because that surgery can lead to complications later down the road. The worst thing about this one is that she is without a gallbladder now, which, with our family history is not such a bad thing for her. She probably would have had to have it removed sooner or later.

    She made it through the surgery just fine, and by last night was back to her old self and using only Motrin and Tylenol for the pain. When she started eating and did fine, he told us to go home. We gladly obliged. :o)

    It was also a blessing to have a Christian surgeon. David ( who is soundly sleeping on the couch right now after a night in uncomfortable hospital recliners) asked the surgeon if we could pray with him before the surgery. The surgeon said absolutely, and that that was going to be his next question to us. He always offers to pray for his patients before surgery. Although, he did say David was the first to ask him. I guess he never operated on a Baptist preacher’s kid before. :o) Anyway, we bowed our head and David was all ready to pray, and the surgeon jumped right in before David had a chance and just started praying. Now, of course, we can’t judge his heart, but judging from his prayer, his demeanor, and the fact that he was willing to offer made us pretty sure we were dealing with a Christian man. That made us feel better about handing our daughter over to him of course. A physician who looks to the Great Physician for guidance is my kind of doctor. :o)

    Anyway, God definitely answered prayers. Kayleah is just fine, better than expected and is back to her old self. She is even flipping over onto her belly, which makes me wince and cringe but doesn’t seem to bother her. lol Thank you for all your prayers and concerns!

  12. Mary says:

    Praise God, Lydia, I was praying for you Tuesday, and again yesterday, wondering how it all went! I share your JOY that it was the least of what it could have been…whew! And how awesome that God put you all in the hands of a caring, Christian surgeon! That is an extra blessing and comfort!
    Thanks for the update!

  13. Carol says:

    My only son was killed in a home accident in July 2008. He was only 22 yrs old. Although it has been horrible, people say I am “handling it well” What is well? I trust in the Lord and have never been angry at anyone for this. It doesn’t change my grief, but you have to trust God with this. Your poem is so touching and true, I am going to copy it and hang it up with his picture. God Bless you.

  14. Mary says:

    Oh Carol. My heart goes out to you…so recent a loss, and your only child. Thank you for sharing that grief is part of the process, even when trusting in God’s sovereignty. We never know what the future holds, do we? Just keep leaning on Him. You’re in my prayers.

    (((hugs)))

    P.S. Have you ever read Don Piper’s book, “Ninety Minutes in Heaven”? A friend just loaned it to me, and though at first I was skeptical about it being “for real”, now I’m just in awe about Heaven and all we have to look forward to. Don Piper said that the Christians in his life that had been his biggest influencers met him at the gates…his grandparents, etc. What a vision of gladness that gives me…to know that if I lost a child, loved ones would be right there to pick up where I had to let go and love them right into Heaven. Here is the link to Don’s book: http://www.90minutesinheaven.com/

  15. Cathy Shover says:

    I too lost my only child,he passed away July 2006 in horrific car accident. I’m reading Don Pipers book right now,also another good book is Embraced by the Light by Betty J. Eadie.

  16. Mary says:

    Thank you for sharing these titles with us, Cathy. I’m very sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the pain you’re going through with this 3 year anniversary just behind you.

  17. amanda walls says:

    i lost a 2yr old i don’t deal well with it please these poemsdo help

  18. Mary says:

    Amanda, I’m so sorry. There is no pain like that of losing a child. I know your loss is deep and far-reaching, especially with the holidays coming up. (((Hugs))) Thank you for taking time to comment that this poem helped.

  19. PAULINE says:

    IT HAS BEEN 15MONTHS SINCE I LOST MY SON , YES I READ THE POEM WITH TEARS IN MY EYES ,BUT THEN THERE ALWAYS ARE.

  20. Mary says:

    My heart goes out to you, Pauline. I’m sure it’s been really tough. Hang in there, and hang onto God to get you through. Thanks for letting me know this poem touched you.

  21. elaine says:

    Thaks for the poem and all of you who have help me just with your words. I have lost a child ten months ago and its so hard for me, sometimes I wonder if I am going to make it.How do Igo on I ask Myself. My son was 21yrs old, he Drown.

  22. Mary says:

    I’m so sorry, Elaine. I pray that God will help you through the grief and heartache of all the loss you’re facing. You go on, one step at a time. Do you have anyone close to you to share the load? Hugs to you and yours.

  23. Maninder says:

    Read a book “A Twinkle, A Tear” written by Swarn Lamba who lost her 24 yrs Pilot son in a car accident. The book is available on Amazon in UK & US

  24. Very beautiful and moving, and thank you all for sharing your thoughts and feelings, as it is very helpful to many who are grieving. Please visit our website, and enjoy our original poem as well.

  25. James says:

    This is very moving for anyone who has lost a loved one especially a child. That is a parent’s worst nightmare to have to watch their children die. No parent should ever have to go through this, although many are forced to do it.

  26. Lydia Garcia at the time says:

    Wow I wondered for a very long time who did this poem. It was given to me when I lost 2 boys to a drowning In Sedona Az 6-7-1981 . It touched me then and it touches me now. I will never forget how comforting it was for me. I thank God for giving this person the right words to say at a very hard time in our life. From us to this person Thank You !
    My boys were 7 & 8 . I know where my boys are and only God can help you on your path . Trust in him with all your heart .
    Lydia

  27. Mary says:

    Lydia, I can’t imagine losing 2 children at once. How devastating. Thank you for sharing this here…your encouragement, having been there, really means a lot. ((hugs))

  28. Maninder says:

    My wife Swarn & myself lost out 24 yrs old son in a car accident 4 yrs ago. I was totally shattered by our son going. Swarn was afraid that we might not forget about him as the years pass. She started writing poems about any thing and every thing she remembered about him. Eventually those poems were published. The book is called “A Twinkle A Tear”. The book is available on Amazon UK. I am not trying to promote the book, We, as a matter of fact, have distributed more books as gifts than sold. We are Indians but live in Tanzania. The profit from the sale of the books is given to an orphanage run by a selfless Irish family in Dae es Salaam.
    I have not read the book as yet as I become imotional.

  29. Luke says:

    My wife and I were very proud parents of two boys only 16 months apart. My oldest 4 years old, and youngest was 2 weeks before his
    3rd birthday when he jump into a pool without his floats on. We were in the yard, right there and didn’t see. This happened 3 months ago. Were doing our best to hold it together for our son and eachother. I can’t tell you it’s easy, or comes natural.
    I’m trying to hear god better. ( I that makes sence to you )
    I’m, glad I found this page. I’m glad to know there are parents out there that have gone through similar losses and have found a way to keep living. Not only keep living, but living a productive life.
    Thank everyone for the comments on this page. I feel like I’m not alone. My heart goes out to all of you.
    And hang in there Amanda, I think it gets … Not as bad.

  30. Mary says:

    To Luke, and your wife…I’m terribly sorry for your loss. It probably gets rougher initially, once the shock wears off. I pray that you both seek God’s strength to handle this burden together and to strengthen your marriage. I know it has to be extra hard with Christmas in just a few days. Luke 4:18 says that Jesus came to heal the broken hearted…I pray that you will find healing in Him. God bless.

  31. caitlyn says:

    my story starts back in 2007, i was only 19. i was a 2nd semester freshman in college. half way through i had gotten raped n that rape resulted in a pregnancy i didnt know for 5 months which is when i went into labor. u see i had been sick for a while and on anitbiodics. told i need to get away from the stress so i was crashin at a friends place being that my roomate n her boyfriend fought all the time i couldnt stay in my dorm n relax. my friend helped me out with classes and all and even gettin my meds from the nurse. one day he was out gettin my meds. when his neighbors throw a party and one of the guys broke in to my friends place n raped me. i was unconcisous, i know i spelled it wrong hope u know what i ment, but any how i was all of 90lbs so the meds tended to knock me out but back to they story when my friend got back the guy was still inside me. my friend called 911 and apprehended him till the police got there i was taken to the hospital and all given the morning after pill. n checked for stds turned oout i had got an std from him. i was given moremeds for that. sooo i sat ponderin how i was gonna tell my bf back home about it so i mentioned to him what would he say about if i was to tell him that i had been raped while i was away at college. his response to that was well that wouldnt be true that i would have cheated on him n tried lyin to him so i thought it best not to say anything to him. every week i took pregnancy test after test all came back neg. so i thought i was in the clear but 5 months exactly to the day i went to the hospital for serve bleedin n cramp only to find out i was prego n that i was in labor but the docs. had not noticed 2 heart beats when they did the ultrasound. needless to say i was told to push so i did i delievered a baby boy 2.5 lbs still born and than a lil girl 3.5 lbs how ever the embillical cord strangled n killed her i still didnt tell my bf about any of it. we continued to stay together n i got prego april of the followin yr 7 months after i lost my twins. i was happy my bf had asked me to b his wife i said yes before i could tell him things went south he snapped n lost controll n tried to kill me. his best friend saved me. needless to say i lost that baby to i got real depressed not havin anybody to talk to bout it i just kept quiet bout it.i got a restrainin order against him n moved on i am now married n my husband n i lost our beautiful baby boy last april i went into premature labor… our son only lived no more than five mins before he passed…i am only 23 now i was 22 than n it still tears me me up…not a moment goes by that i dont think of my kids… i even wander if i will ever havve kids… i am scared to try agian i cant take losin another child…i just hope that god can help me through this difficult time n help me to a brighter future

  32. Ubah says:

    I’m glad I found this page.
    I lost my 9 and half years old daughter for heart disease and I cannot forget her and I cry day and night I cannot get back to my life and care for my other two kids younger to her. I pray everyday just to see her.
    she died on my lap on feb 19 2011 nad still it fresh in my mind.
    please help

  33. Mary says:

    Oh Caitlyn, I am so sorry for all the precious babies you’ve lost in so few years. Your story is heartbreaking. I am praying right now for your physical and emotional healing, for a strong marriage to see you through this, and most of all, for you to find the complete peace and healing that only comes from God, through his son, Jesus, and from reading God’s words to us in the Bible…His words are life and light as we walk through death and darkness. You know that all of your babies are safe in his arms…that death is only the BEGINNING, not the end. God has a plan for you and your husband, hang onto Him, and to hope.

    Here is a verse for you: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

    Feel free to email me privately: Mary[@]homesteepedhope.com (without the brackets) if you need a listening ear, or if I can be of encouragement in any way. (((Hugs)))

  34. Mary says:

    Dear Ubah…as a mother to a ten year old daughter myself, my eyes filled with tears as I read your note, only imagining how fresh and consuming your grief must be…and anger at heart disease striking so young…it is still very early to be able to “get back to your life”, yet you may find very real comfort in just taking those little steps of mothering your other two children who are also grieving with you. Grieving is part of healing, you will never forget your dear little girl, memories of her will eventually bring more comfort than tears. Hang onto God in the meantime and remember that death is only the BEGINNING of eternity for your daughter, for all of us. She is in such good hands now, and she is most likely standing by Jesus, cheering you on to believe in His death on the cross for you, so that you will one day be reunited in Heaven. King David in the Bible, also lost his child…but he had the promise of seeing his son again one day…here is the scripture passage:

    2 Samuel 12:21-23, “Then said his servants unto him, What thing [is] this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, [while it was] alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell [whether] GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

    Ubah, let me know if it is okay to email you…and I will. Or you can reach me at Mary[@]homesteepedhope.com (without the brackets)…my heart goes out to you, and I’m praying…

  35. Leslie says:

    This is beautiful. My best friend and his little sister died in a car accident not even 2 months ago on his 19th birthday. Their mom took it very hard, they were her only 2 children. I was looking around for a nice poem to put inside a card and give it to her for Mother’s Day when I stumbled across this.

  36. Susanna Martin says:

    With faith or without faith, losing a child is hell; a loss that you never really “get over”–but you learn to live with it and that takes a good long while.

  37. Mary says:

    Leslie, I’m so sorry you lost your best friend…what a blessing your thoughtfulness has to be to this mother who has lost her only children. I hope you can continue to be there for her, for each other. That has to be every mom’s worst nightmare, one they never wake up from. I hope the poem blessed your friend’s mom on Mother’s Day. ((Hugs))

    Susanna…you are so right. But I can’t imagine losing my child w/o faith to sustain me, and the hope of seeing her again one day.

  38. Sidney's Mom says:

    This poem touched me so much. It is so true that God only loans his children to us and they are not ours to keep. The good Lord took my daughter Sidney home and 4 1/2 years old this April in a sudden accident. Although that main is more then I could ever come to explain I trust in God’s plan. I know that I will see her again some day when God calls for me. I can not wait to wrap my arms around her again. God does pick the best for his children and I thank him greatly that he chose to give her to me.

  39. I empathize with all of those who have lost a child. I have too, in a way, have lost a child. We all must trust in God during situations like this. It isn’t easy to lose someone you love. Thank you for the poem.

  40. Elliott says:

    I just lost my daughter September 26 to AML(Luekemia). My little angel was only 1 years old. Just 9 months earlier I lost my father to cancer. It’s so hard right now but I’m trying to get through the best I can

  41. Mary says:

    Dear Elliott,
    So much loss, so hard to fathom. I am terribly sorry for your baby girl’s death, and that of your father. Cancer is a nightmare. May God give you the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7) as you go through this tragic time. Prayers going up for you and yours right now.

    Hugs,
    Mary

  42. Brittany P says:

    God bless all of you!!! I have never lost a child but my heart breaks for each and everyone of yous.. When i was 16 i 2 1/2 months was pregnant with twins and had a miscarriage and that hurt and i never seen them held them dont even know if they was a boy or girl.. the father is now my best friend, on September 16,2011 my bestfriend ( Rob) was murdered ( shot) he was 24.. being around for soo long i was close to the family and his mom didnt and isnt doing to good and i try to be strong for her but it is hard and i breakdown too.. but now he gets too meet his babies that never made it to this world.. I have 2 kids now a girl (5yo) n a boy (15months) and they are my everything i just couldnt imagine ( n to everyone who had to experience this you have my upmost respect and i really look up to you for how strong you are)..

  43. connie says:

    November the 9th will be 11yrs since Megan and Christian were killed in a storm when a tree fell on the truck my husband was driving. Yes it is hard but with GOD nothing is impossible and he will never leave or forsake us. I always says it does not get better but different. I always knew I would not get to keep them forever because GOD does entrust us to keep and raise them to love him, and ultimately love and believe in him and his grace. They are on lone. The best thing that happened is my husband came to know Christ as his personal Savior and that does give some consolation. Also some may think it unfair but what is unfair is the fact that we no longer have to worry about where our children are, what they might be getting into in this crazy world, who may hurt them, or lead them astray. I pray for those who still have their children and have to worry about them daily prayng they are well and ok. Our children are in heaven with Jesus and are perfect waiting on us to get there. We will be crossing over Jordon and there will be our Savior and those who have gone on before waiting on us to praise and worship GOD forever and ever. I don’t want others to feel sorry for us, our story is part of GOD’S perfect plan for our life and those we can be a comfort too. HE can use this to draw others to him. GOD knew the plans for us before we were born, we just have to trust him. With that said, I will miss having grandkids I’ve heard they are grand. When things don’t go the way you think they should and seem very wrong don’t run from GOD run to him as fast as you can run.

  44. Mary says:

    Thank you Brittany P and Connie for caring enough to comment and encourage. It really does help to hear from others who have gone through heartbreaks of their own, and have survived. ((hugs to you both))

    Connie, what a blessing to hear your testimony…not only your peace about what happened and your trust in the Lord’s will for you and your children, but also that your husband was saved as a result. Eternal life is really the important thing isn’t it. As painful as death of a loved one is on this earth, it would be even worse if there was no hope of ever reuniting with them in Heaven, and not temporarily, but for eternity! As the famous song says, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun…there’s no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun…” Thanking God you decided to share your story here. Blessings to you and your husband.

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