On the loss of a baby or child

A message: If you are here because of the death of a child close to you, we offer our sympathy and sincere condolences at this time.

The Child Death Helpline is a national freephone helpline for anyone affected by the death of a child of any age under any circumstances. Calls are heard in confidence and the helpline is staffed by volunteer parents who have experienced the death of their own child. The helpline can provide the opportunity for you to talk to someone sympathetic to your situation. The helpline is open every evening, throughout the year, from 7pm to 10pm and also Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 1pm and Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am until 4pm. The number is: 0800 282986 (Freephone for mobiles: 0808 800 6019)

There is also the Bereaved Parents Network – Tel: 029 2081 0800 – who offer care for the family.

“Even the smallest of feet have the power to leave everlasting footprints upon this world” Lisa Clarke

If I Were Here What Would I Say?
Yes it is true that I never got to see all that this world holds.
The flowers, the trees, grass – or a bright sunny day.
Not even the smiling faces of my loving family.
But in my heart I have seen all of these things, even in my short time.
It is also true that I never got to feel the many things that you take for granted …
The heat on my face on a hot summer’s day,
Finger paints and crayons I will never hold in my hands.
But I did feel the loving arms of my Mummy and Daddy cradling me gently.
I never got to hear all the sounds that make most hearts sing,
The laughter of a loved one, or the sweet song of a bird,
Songs on the radio and the words “I love you” are to me a mystery.
But the soft touch of my Mummy and Daddy’s hands shouts to me all of this and more.
I will never know the joy of running through a field of flowers,
Never will I roll down the side of a hill, too dizzy to stand.
Hide and seek, tag and catching ball I will have missed,
But in my mind I will do all of these things and more.
You all may see it as me missing out on all these things by leaving you so soon,
But where I am going I will do, see and hear everything you do and more.
I will only think of good things – for in my short existence that is all I have known.
So don’t cry for me, I will do all that you have wished for me and more.
One thing I want you to hold on to is that I have not known how to hate, how to feel jealous, or anguish or any of those emotions that can eat away at your soul.
My soul is set free with only one feeling – for in my short time here with you I only knew love.
And that is what I take with me now.
Lorraine Lehman-Jones

Epitaph on a child
Here, freed from pain, secure from misery, lies
A child, the darling of his parents’ eyes:
A gentler Lamb ne’er sported on the plain,
A fairer flower will never bloom again;
Now let him sleep in peace his night of death.

Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

Parent and Child

It’s a special bond that spans the years
Through laughter, worry, smiles and tears,
A sense of trust that can’t be broken,
A depth of love sometimes unspoken,
A lifelong friendship built on sharing,
Hugs and kisses, warmth and caring,
Parent and child, their hearts as one –
A link that can never be undone.

Author: unknown                  

Do not stand at my cot and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush of
Quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my cot and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

In the rising of the sun and in its going down 
we will remember her
            In the beginning of the year and when it ends
            we will remember her

So long as we live, she too shall live
for she is now a part of us
            as we remember her.


A Child Loaned
“I’ll lend you for a little while, a child of Mine,” He said
“For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s 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 should his stay be brief
You’ll always have his memories as a solace in your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked this whole world over in My search for teachers true
And from the throngs that crowd Life’s lanes I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love, not think the labour vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call and take him back again?”
I fancied that I heard them say, “Dear God, Thy will be done.
For all the joy this child will bring the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll 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 planned
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.”
Edward A. Guest





The Unfinished
We cannot judge a biography by its length,
Nor by the number of pages in it.
We must judge it by the richness of its contents
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant. We cannot judge a song by its duration
Nor by the number of its notes
We must judge it by the way it touches and lifts our souls
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful.

And when something has enriched your life
And when its melody lingers on in your heart
Is it unfinished?
Or is it endless?

Don’t think of her as gone away
Her journey’s just begun
This life has many facets
This earth is only one

Just think of her as resting
From the sorrows and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days or years
Think how she must be wishing
That we could know today
Nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away
And think of her as living
In the hearts of those she touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And she was loved so much.

They say memories are golden
Well, maybe that is true.
I never wanted memories,
I only wanted you.
A million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you,
you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly,
in death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place
No one else could fill.

If tears could build
a stairway and heartache make a lane.
I’d walk the path to Heaven and
bring you back again.
Our family chain is broken,
And nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us back one by one,
The chain will link again.



In a baby castle, just beyond your eye,

Your baby plays with angel toys that money cannot buy.
Who are you to wish him back into this world of strife,
No, play on your baby, he’ll have eternal life.
At night when all is silent and sleep forsakes your eyes,
You’ll hear his tiny footsteps come running to your side
His little hands caress you so tenderly and sweet,
You’ll breathe a prayer and close your eyes
and embrace him in your sleep.
Now you have a treasure that you rate above all others
You have known true glory,
You are still his mother.


In a baby castle, just beyond your eye, 
Your baby plays with angel toys that money cannot buy.

Who are you to wish her back into this world of strife,
No, play on your baby, she’ll have eternal life.
At night when all is silent and sleep forsakes your eyes,
You’ll hear her tiny footsteps come running to your side
Her little hands caress you so tenderly and sweet,
You’ll breathe a prayer and close your eyes
and embrace her in your sleep.
Now you have a treasure that you rate above all others
You have known true glory,
You are still her mother.

She was so very, very special
And was so from the start
You held her in your arms
But mainly in your heart
And like a single drop of rain
That on still waters fall,
Her life did ripples make
And touched the lives of all.
She’s gone to play with angels
In heaven up above
So keep your special memories
And treasure. them with love
Although your darling daughter
Was with you just a while
She’ll live on in your heart
With a sweet remembered smile.



Tiny Angel
Tiny Angel, rest your wings
Sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear….
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel, can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren’t here for very long….
Why is it, you couldn’t stay?
Tiny Angel shook his head,
“These things I do not know….
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so.”

The world may never notice
If a snowdrop doesn’t bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.

The little one we longed for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me.
When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes, all filled with tears for me,
While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.
I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me, I know you miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name, and took me by the hand.
And said my place was ready, in heaven, far above,
And that I had to leave behind all those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye,
For my life had not long started, and I didn’t want to die.
I had so much to live for, so much to learn and do,
It seemed almost impossible, that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the times to come, the good one’s and the bad,
I thought of all the love we’d share, it made me feel so sad.
If I could spend just one day, or even a little while,
I’d tell you how I love you, and show you my big smile.
But then I fully realised, that this could never be,
For emptiness and memories would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did, my heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven’s gates, I felt so much at home,
When God looked down and smiled at me, upon his golden throne,
“This is eternity” he said, “and all I’ve promised you,
Today for life on earth is passed, but here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last,
And since each day’s the same day, there’s no longing for the past.
My child, you were so special, I had to set you free,
So won’t you take my loving hand, and share my life with me?”
So when tomorrow starts without me Mummy, don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me, I’m right here, in your heart.


 Too Soon
This was a life that had hardly begun
No time to find your place in the sun
No time to do all you could have done
But we loved you enough for a lifetime

No time to enjoy the world and its wealth
No time to take life down off the shelf
No time to sing the songs of yourself
Though you had enough love for a lifetime

Those who live long endure sadness and tears
But you’ll never suffer the sorrowing years
No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears
Just love – only love – In your lifetime.
Mary Yarnall


Safe in the arms of the angels …
Safe in the arms of the angels
Baby (name) slumbers today,
Not destined for life on this earth
But a home so far away.

Just as far away as heaven
Just as close as the beat of our hearts,
And although we can’t be with you
We will love you wherever you are.

A dream that blessed us with beauty
Is the hope that still shines our way,
That you rest in the arms of the angels
Till we meet again one sweet day.


Dad’s poem
We never had the chance to play, to laugh, to rock, to wiggle
We long to hold you, touch you now, and listen to your giggle.
She’ll always be your mother, and I’ll always be your Dad,
You will always be our child – the child we never had.

But now you’re gone … but yet you’re here. We sense you everywhere;
You are our sorrow and our joy. There’s love in every tear.
Just know our love goes deep and strong, that we’ll forget you never,
The child we had, but never had – and yet will have forever


My Little Angel
You’ve just walked on ahead of me
And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.


No farewell words were spoken,
No time to say goodbye, you were
Gone before we knew it, and only
God knows why.

A Peek Into Heaven
Just one little peek into heaven,
Is all I’m asking for today.
I just want to know how she’s doing,
And heaven seems so far away.
Is she playing on the clouds with angels?
Is she laughing and running today?
Does she miss me?
I guess only she knows.
Oh why does heaven seem so far away?
If you just let me look for a moment,
To catch a glimpse of her sweet smiling face,
I promise I won’t try to take her,
I know, she’s in a better place.
Just one little peek into heaven,
Is all I’m asking for today.
I just want to know how she’s doing,
And heaven seems so far away…
Callie Sanders Thornton

Little Angels
When God calls little children to dwell with Him above,
We mortals sometime question the wisdom of His love.
For no heartache compares with the death of one small child
Who does so much to make our world, seem wonderful and mild
Perhaps God tires of calling the aged to his fold,
So He picks a rosebud, before it can grow old.
God knows how much we need them, and so He takes but few
To make the land of Heaven more beautiful to view.
Believing this is difficult still somehow we must try,
The saddest word mankind knows will always be “Goodbye.”
So when a little child departs, we who are left behind
Must realize God loves children,  Angels are hard to find.

A Mother’s Lament for her Son’s Death
Fate gave the word, the arrow sped,
And pierc’d my darling’s heart;
And with him all the joys are fled
Life can to me impart.
By cruel hands the sapling drops,
In dust dishonour’d laid;
So fell the pride of all my hopes,
My age’s future shade.
The mother-linnet in the brake
Bewails her ravish’d young;
So I, for my lost darling’s sake,
Lament the live-day long.
Death, oft I’ve feared thy fatal blow.
Now, fond, I bare my breast;
O, do thou kindly lay me low
With him I love, at rest!
Robert Burns


Your children are not your children
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet

On The Death Of C. E. An Infant Of Twelve Months
Through airy roads he wings his instant flight
To purer regions of celestial light;
Enlarg’d he sees unnumber’d systems roll,
Beneath him sees the universal whole,
Planets on planets run their destin’d round,
And circling wonders fill the vast profound.
Th’ ethereal now, and now th’ empyreal skies
With growing splendors strike his wond’ring eyes:
The angels view him with delight unknown,
Press his soft hand, and seat him on his throne;
Then smilling thus: “To this divine abode,
“The seat of saints, of seraphs, and of God,
“Thrice welcome thou.” The raptur’d babe replies,
“Thanks to my God, who snatch’d me to the skies,
“E’er vice triumphant had possess’d my heart,
“E’er yet the tempter had beguil d my heart,
“E’er yet on sin’s base actions I was bent,
“E’er yet I knew temptation’s dire intent;
“E’er yet the lash for horrid crimes I felt,
“E’er vanity had led my way to guilt,
“But, soon arriv’d at my celestial goal,
“Full glories rush on my expanding soul.”
Joyful he spoke: exulting cherubs round
Clapt their glad wings, the heav’nly vaults resound.
Say, parents, why this unavailing moan?
Why heave your pensive bosoms with the groan?
To Charles, the happy subject of my song,
A brighter world, and nobler strains belong.
Say would you tear him from the realms above
By thoughtless wishes, and prepost’rous love?
Doth his felicity increase your pain?
Or could you welcome to this world again
The heir of bliss? with a superior air
Methinks he answers with a smile severe,
“Thrones and dominions cannot tempt me there.”
But still you cry, “Can we the sigh forbear,
“And still and still must we not pour the tear?
“Our only hope, more dear than vital breath,
“Twelve moons revolv’d, becomes the prey of death;
“Delightful infant, nightly visions give
“Thee to our arms, and we with joy receive,
“We fain would clasp the Phantom to our breast,
“The Phantom flies, and leaves the soul unblest.”
To yon bright regions let your faith ascend,
Prepare to join your dearest infant friend
In pleasures without measure, without end.
Phillis Wheatley




Just For Today
Just for today I will try to live through the next 24 hours
And not expect to get over my child’s death,
But instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.
Just for today I will remember my child’s life, not just her death,
And bask in the comfort of all those treasured days
And moments we shared.
Just for today I will forgive all the family and friends
Who didn’t help or comfort me the way I needed them to.
They truly did not know how.
Just for today I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside,
For maybe if I smile a little,
My heart will soften and I will begin to heal.
Just for today I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child,
For they are hurting too,
And perhaps we can help each other.
Just for today I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt,
For deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world
I could Have done to save my child from death,
I would have done it.
Just for today I will honour my child’s memory
By doing something with another child
Because I know that would make my own child proud.
Just for today I will offer my hand in friendship
To another bereaved parent
For I do know how they feel.
Just for today when my heart feels like breaking,
I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving
And the only reason I hurt is because
I had the privilege of loving so much
Just for today I will not compare myself with others.
I am fortunate to be who I am
And have had my child for as long as I did.
Just for today I will allow myself to be happy,
For I know that I am not deserting her by living on.
Just for today I will accept that I did not die when my child did,
My life did go on,
And I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile once more.
Vicki Tushingham


Then the child opened its eyes, and looked up into the angel’s beautiful face, which beamed with happiness, and at the same moment they were in heaven, where joy and bliss reigned. The child received wings like the other angel, and they flew about together, hand in hand.
Hans Christian Andersen

Be not so desolate, because thy dreams have flown.
And the hall of the heart is empty and silent as stone,
As age left by children, sad and alone.
Those delicate children, thy dreams still endure,
All pure and lovely things wend to the pure.
Sigh not: unto the fold, their way was sure.
Thy gentle dreams, thy frailest,
Even those that were born and lost in a heart beat,
Shall meet thee there.
They are become immortal in shining air.
The unattainable beauty, the thought of which was pain,
That flickered in eyes and on lips, and vanished again;
That fugitive beauty thou shalt attain.
The lights innumerable, that lead thee on and on,
The masque of time ended, shall glow into one.
It shall be with thee forever, thy travel done.


A Story
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of waterbugs.  They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun.  For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond.
They did not notice that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about with its friends.  Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
‘Look!’ said one of the waterbugs to another. ‘One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk.  Where do you suppose she is going?’ Up, up, up it went slowly.  Even as they watched, the waterbug disappeared from sight.  Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return.
‘That’s funny!’ said one water bug to another. ‘Wasn’t she happy here?’ asked a second waterbug. ‘Where do you suppose she went?’ wondered a third. No one had an answer.  They were greatly puzzled.
Finally one of the waterbugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together.  ‘I have an idea.  The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.’
‘We promise’, they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very waterbug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk.  Up, up, up he went.  Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water, and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.
When he awoke, he looked about with surprise.  He couldn’t believe what he saw.  A startling change had come to his old body.  His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail.  Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings.  The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body.  He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water.
He had become a dragonfly.
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air.  He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere.
By and by, the new dragonfly lighted happily on the lily pad to rest.  Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond.  Why, he was right above his old friends, the waterbugs!  There they were, scurrying about, just as he had been doing some time before.
Then the dragonfly remembered the promise: ‘The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.’
Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down.  Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away.  Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water.
‘I can’t return!’ he said in dismay. ‘At least I tried, but I can’t keep my promise.  Even if I could go back, not one of the waterbugs would know me in my new body.  I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too.  Then they’ll understand what happened to me, and where I went.’
And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.

Doris Stickney