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A sad day

February 1, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
I'm feeling very blessed today. And troubled. And humbled. And saddened. A 3-week-old baby's name just doesn't seem to belong in the obituaries column.

My heart goes out to the McKenzie family on the death of their Victoria, and to all families who have lost little angels to disease, accident or illness.

A quick Internet search this morning for "hope for grieving families" led me to a Christian organization founded by a grieving mother in Texas. It's called MEND -- Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death -- and was formed by Rebekah Mitchell, whose baby boy Jonathan died soon after he was born.

On the "Our Beginning" page, Rebekah writes:

"There were times that the crook in my right arm literally ached for my baby's little head. At night, I experienced horrible nightmares that my baby was really alive and the hospital had made a terrible mistake. A couple of times I even thought I heard a baby crying the middle of the night.

"Surely no one else had endured such heartache. I longed to talk to another mother who had lost a baby, but I knew of no one. During those dark days of grief, I decided that when I was able, I would seek out other bereaved mommies and try to help them. "

Nearly a year later Rebekah saw an obituary of a stillborn baby in the paper and felt drawn to call the baby's mother. Hesitantly, she made the call, and the two moms became friends. They found others like them, and they now offer a Web site with resources and online discussion forums, plus a bi-monthly newsletter.

It is Rebekah's prayer "that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:4).

In times of grief, it is important to remember you are not alone. Lean hard on your families and friends, harder perhaps on the strangers-cum-friends who are bound to you through shared experiences, but hardest on your Creator, who heals the brokenhearted. "Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).


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