Praying Following the Death of a Child

This is a moving and honest prayer helpful to anyone who has experienced the loss of a son or daughter of any age.

Grieving the loss of a child is one of the hardest griefs there is to weather.  Parents and family members mourn their loved one with each passing day, holiday without them, or the birthday dinner they will not celebrate.  There are no words to express how one limps along with a death of a child.  Time does not heal.  Time only gives the solace of acceptance.  Time offers a place for gratitude that we ever had our loved one at all.  Time allows space for God to offer healing with a scar.  The Christian has the model and message of Christ.

The following is a prayer poem written for a family grieving the death of a beloved adult son who died saving a friend.

Prayer Following the Death of a Child

O Father,

Of greater works than the birth of generations…. we come.

We come with open hearts; tear stained souls, and seeking solace.

Your blaze of love has been with us, and another remains with us.

In the light of Grace we come seeking for what has lived and lives still.

Those places where human and divine meet Your Divinity and needs no introduction.

Father, Hear our prayer.

We, who come barely living but living still in the ache and awe of remembrances,

Counting days,

number of hairs on a head,

words spoken, unspoken, and moments of loving.

Counting it all joy those days of parenting,

laughing, delighting, and place settings for one more.

Counting the messages,

the cards,

the solace,

the well-meaning, and not well meaning of others.

And in the counting of grief’s tears; we trust….

Trust that our prayers are living still in the healing hands of Your Son,

of clouds of witnesses gone before,

and in new places to dwell in Wisdom’s revealing.

Father, Hear our prayer.

The joy of morning alludes,

a peace that passes understanding remains Mysterious,

Steadfast, sustaining, unraveled, and re-bound again, and again.

In the light of Grace we press on and on and on and on.

Count our steps forward,

backward,

in circles, and ever before You.

They who lived once among us and they live still with You.

Emptying arms ache, and sharing words of a father to child are no more,

and a sibling did not asked to be an only.

There are no answers in the bed of loss.

But We trust You to hear our prayer of faith reaching to Heaven’s realms.

A place where Your own has the hands of a carpenter and gives rest to a living son there.

A place where Son meets son and daughter and others and unfolds eternities Mystery.

Father, Hear our prayer.

We cannot explain this living and living still for either side of eternities aisle.

We trust You to hold what we cannot.

We offer our broken hearts to You over a child.

You know the pain of offering a broken heart over your son.

You were there at a cross,

a road to Emmaus,

the day lilies blooming, and the last supper offered.

You were there at the birth,

The growing years of youth,

The athletics of a confident body,

The smiles of laughter shared, given, and pranks of innocence.

You were there at the choosing,

To live full and well and bold and grateful and counting it all joy.

You were there in the silent seasons of respite from

first loves, first loss, first dates, and first jobs,

first apartments, and first beginnings and final endings.

You are there still in the living places where laughter soars,

delights remain,

and humor offers heaven more light.

Making friends with guides of care,

and welcome to dwelling in hospitality

of a place prepared by a Carpenter’s hand.

Father, Hear our prayer.

Turn our grief to hope, faith, and charity.

Give our living to love, gratitude, and each other.

Offer peace beyond the need of actual knowing.

Allow your Spirit to hold and bond the cracked places of the soul.

Weave our memories into appreciation and not idol making of either child.

Meet us in the silence and solitude that catches the groans that bubble up.

Mark the fragility of life with acceptance, no fear, and no regrets.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Sustain us in our moments of weakness,

pressing on,

being still,

getting real,

living still

and living well.

Father, Hear our prayer.

May it be so.  Amen.

About this Prayer Poem

This poem has been adapted from the original dedicated to Nick Napolitano.  Nick’s parents would want Nick’s death to inspire others to live full and well with Christ.  These parents and a sister are changed forever.  Friends of Nick’s are changed forever.

Here is Nick’s story that forms the backdrop for this prayer.

Born in 1988, Nick came into this world where Ronald Reagan was President.  Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruse, won Best Picture.  Gas cost 91 cents a gallon in 1988 and a movie ticket was $3.50.  There were wars starting and wars ending.  There was a hurricane that no one remembers the name of today.  Inventions and technology had its growing edges and influences.  The masses did not carry endless numbers of cell phones with catchy names. It was not yet a world of laptops, ipods, or ipads.  What a difference twenty-three years makes.  Nick left a different world than the one he entered.  He left too soon.  He was a beloved son to his parents.  He was an older brother and friend to a sister.  He was an athlete, good student, and an excellent financial analyst with a promising future.  His friends and family all remark on his amazing smile, warm heart, and good sense of humor.  On August 7, 2011, he and several friends went to a popular spot at Brenton Point State Park in Newport, RI to swim.  One of his friends jumped into the surf and immediately found himself in trouble.  Nick was a good swimmer and overall athlete.  He could not stand by and watch a friend struggle in the surf.  He jumped in after him and pulled him to safety.  However, a surge upended Nick and slammed him into the rocks.  Another friend jumped in after Nick.  He held Nick for a brief moment and a crashing wave broke them apart and Nick slipped away into a strong undertow.  The head injury from the rocks is the official cause of death.  More can be read about Nicholas Napolitano at nicholasvalnapolitanomemorialfund.org.

His parents and sister remain steadfast in their love for family, faith, and supportive friends.  Grieving the loss of a child is one of the hardest grief’s there is to weather.   His mother and father mourn him with each passing day, holiday without him, or the birthday dinner he will not celebrate.  There are no words to express how one limps along with a death of a child.  Time does not heal.  Time only gives the solace of acceptance.  Time offers a place for gratitude that we ever had our loved one at all.  Time allows space for God to offer healing with a scar.  The Christian has the model and message of Christ.  Nick’s parents would want Nick’s death to inspire others to live full and well with Christ.  These parents and a sister are changed forever.  Friends of Nick’s are changed forever.  What was normal the day before August 7, 2011 is no longer their norm.  The world of technology, prices, motion pictures, politics, and world events continue.  We are here and then we are gone.  While Nick was here on this side of heaven’s realms, he made a difference.  His life challenges us all to take stock of faith, family, and good friends.

This prayer poetry was written for his parents and sister, offered to God, and in honor of this young man.  Prayer is the gift we give to God, to one another, and for ourselves.  It offers hope.  Hope brings us healing and a peace that passes all understanding.

Nicholas: Lived and Lives Still

Copyright Deborah Walters 2012  All rights reserved

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