In February 1988, our lives as a family were going well. We had three beautiful children, and I was moving up the ladder in my career with a retail chain.
I have always been an early bird, and my morning routine before leaving for work was to check on our youngest son Jamie, who was 13 months old. On the morning of February 9, I left for work but for some reason that day, I did not check on him. I arrived at work and just after 9am, I received an urgent phone call from a neighbour who said, ‘something has happened to Jamie, you need to come home.’
The details were not clear at that point, so I jumped into the car and drove home like I have never driven before. As I was racing along, the word ‘death’ kept coming into my head, and I screamed out to the Lord, ‘No, Lord… no, this CANNOT be true.’
As I arrived at home, the front door was open, the paramedics were working on Jamie, and I could hear the desperate cries of my wife. I still did not know what was going on, but I learned that our son Richard, who was 10, had found his brother unresponsive in his bed. The paramedics took Jamie to hospital, blue lights and sirens blazing, and my wife and I followed behind in the car. When we arrived at Casualty, we were met by the doctor and were not allowed to see Jamie while they worked on him. Eventually a doctor came out and we could see by the look on his face that it was not good news. Our beautiful son had died at 13 months old from sudden infant death syndrome.
We were numb, confused, angry and had many questions. Jamie had been for a routine check-up just a few weeks earlier and was fine. Had we done something wrong? Could this have been stopped? It felt as though we were trapped in a nightmare and we struggled to understand.
The hospital staff eventually told us that Jamie’s body was in the Chapel of Rest and asked if we wanted to see him. My wife did not feel able to go, so I went to spend some time there on my own. As I stood there, my heart cried and ached, and I said, ‘God, I KNOW you can do this, I know you can bring him back.’ As I prayed, I suddenly felt a strange tap on my shoulder. I immediately looked around, but no one was there. This happened three times, and each time, there was no one behind me. But then very clearly, I felt God speak into my spirit. I cannot say for sure if it was an audible voice, but I know God spoke:
‘He will not come back to you, but you will go to him one day.’
I learned years later that these were words spoken by King David in 2 Samuel 12:23 after he lost his own infant son. Although I did not recognise at the time where the words came from, I knew God was saying there was nothing more we could do. He had taken Jamie home. In one sense, it released me from the burden of praying for God to restore Jamie to us, but that did not stop us from feeling the desperate agony of grief.
In the days ahead, although our lives were shattered, we tried to keep things as normal as we could for our children, Richard and Natalie. Our church family gathered around us, and our pastor, John Mosey, was a wonderful friend, supporting us through the many practical arrangements we had to make. Little did we know that John would face his own terrible family tragedy toward the end of the year, but I will talk more about that in another blog post. The church’s support was incredible, but we still had so many questions. I felt God speak to me clearly one day: Stop asking me why. Ask me what I am going to do through it.
Two weeks later, I had been due to speak at our church. Our pastor said I did not have to do it, but I was able to share a short word on Romans 8:31: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us.’ I asked our church family to pray for us, and I also encouraged them to be as normal as they could with us. We didn’t want people to stay away or think that we did not want to see their children or their babies. We knew this would be an important part of rebuilding our lives.
Throughout all that time, I can say that I felt God was lifting me. I had to grieve, but I also had the responsibility of caring for my wife and children too. My mother gave me a copy of the famous Footprints poem, and I knew that despite our shock and grief, God was carrying us through the darkest time of our lives.
Today as a family, we live and enjoy a good life. It is a different life which will always be scarred by losing Jamie, but we are not broken. We have been through many stages of grief, and up until recently, I was struggling with many private emotions. In a future blog post, I will share more on this and how I feel God has set me free from the burden of guilt which I carried for many years.
If you are facing your own tragedy today, then if you are a believer, you can know that God is with you and will carry you through it. As believers, we are not protected from pain, and we should not con ourselves and think we can go through this life without heartache. But God can hold us together powerfully through the most terrible times of our lives and give us strength to keep going.
After a terrible loss, your life may never be the same again, but with God, it can still be a good life. He is the reason for our hope, and we know that one day we will see Jamie again.
22 thoughts on “When you lose the most precious thing in the world.”
My dear friends David L’Herroux and Jacki L’Herroux. May this message bring hope to many. You are a brave, bold man who loves the Lord. Yes one day because of HIM you and Jamie WILL reunite. Thank God that in the midst of personal tragedy you were able to remain in faith and love Him. That is an incredible testimony. May God indeed continue to bless you and the thousands of lives you are able to reach through UCB.
Thank you David YES wee can have loads of questions for me not why to our Lord but please help me in these times.
He has done countless times in my life and we can trust HIM completely xxchris cub reader since its beginning xxchris
Thank you for sharing this story about your family. I had 3 miscarriages and still miss my babies but I look forward to seeing them again in heaven the same as you look forward to seeing Jamie again. It will be a blessed time indeed. I hope God continues to bless your family.
Thank you for sharing this very personal part of your life. It is inspiring to hear how God gave you the strength back then but is also still releasing healing to you after so many years. Praise God
David we love you guys thank you for your honesty because although you now people go threw these things and your watching on the out side people don’t see all your pain and struggles years on they think you got over it bless you
Truly blessed and encouraged by your story bro., thank you your openness. You are a blessing and an amazing gift to the body of Christ.
My Husband died suddenly from a Heart attack, my Dad died in February. I miss them terribly but without my Faith, my Church and my Family and Friends I could not go on. Thank you David for sharing with us.
Thank you for sharing this powerful testmoniey . I am going through the hardest time in my life . I know God will take me through it . I am broken and shattered . 😢 Only God’s can make the way
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“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Thank you David for sharing this story of great sadness yet absolute hope for the future.
God bless you, Jackie and your family.
Unexpectedly I lost my sister in January 2015. So sudden was the news of her passing away that even now it still makes me well up to talk about it. But all through all the necessary arrangements/inquest I have known that the Lord is with me and will never let me go and All the way my Saviour leads me what have I to ask beside, can I doubt His tender mercy, who through life has been my guide ….. Although I didn’t expect to go through this stage in my life without my sister, I know that the Lord is with me and He has been an amazing presence with me. Heather
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Thanks for sharing your story it means a lot to me… every blessing
Thank you David for sharing this. We have lost 2 children. Our first was still born at full term almost 27 years ago and our beautiful daughter, Ceri, 22 years old, died of a sudden cardiac death on my husband’s birthday in March 2014. We had celebrated the wedding of her dreams in June 2013 and 9 months later she died. Her funeral and celebrations of her life that followed were all about her profound Christian faith and how she loved and prayed for people. We know we will be reunited with her in heaven but the pain and shock we have experienced and still live with is profound. We are learning to rebuild our lives. UCB is a major part of our lives and has been our lifeline especially on some days when it is all we can do to just keep going. When Ceri was young she grew up listening to UCB but she thought it was called ‘Lucy B’ which always made us smile. Her brother, Joel, is still with us and we pray for him and love him and desire to see God shine through his life. Life on earth is very precious and we are so thankful to God for His gift of Jesus and that we have eternal hope, joy and God’s purpose in our lives.
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Dear David & Jackie,you are both a wonderful living testimony to how faithful God is.Many time since that tragic day,when going through my own problems,the Lord has brought you to my mind and your strength has repeatedly humbled and inspired me to get through dark times with His guidance and strength.Richard and Natalie are a credit to you both and they have created many blessings which you all richly deserve.You have touched so many lives and are faithful servants.May God continue to richly Bless you all
Thanks for your encouragement Angela it mean a lot .. every blessing
Lost my wee son 5 years past in May this year . It’s only by the Grace of God and His strength I can live on without my precious boy. He was killed in a horrendous motorbike accident with a tractor . But God is good because He allowed me to get to my wee son and spend the last few minutes of his life with him. If the accident had happened elsewhere I wouldn’t have had that privilege. I miss him so very much every morning and every night I feel his loss. I couldn’t live without God as He is my strength and my all. Thankyou for sharing this David as I have been so blessed . My heart went you to you and your lovely wife. The pain of losing a child no matter what age they are is real agony. The only comfort in this life is knowing that God is in it with us and knowing that some day soon we will see our loved ones again in Heaven. Praise the Lord. Xo
Thank you for sharing, David. We came to truly love you and Jackie during our years at OneHope Praying God’s blessings upon you all now!