Thursday, 25 August 2016

Heaven, hell and death

Far too many foster children have experienced the death of somebody near to them and I can think of several of my friends who ended up in care because of parental death. If they are like many of us they must wonder sometimes if they will see their parents again or if death is really the end of everything.
Now I am a parent myself the idea of losing a parent isn't as frightening as the thought of losing my own child. Indeed one of the very few sentimental things I have ever heard my "hard as nails" Birth Mother say was her theory on what happens to babies who die.
She has no doubts that they go to Heaven - even if they have not been baptised - and there they are looked after by young mothers who have died until the babies own Mummy and Daddy also come up to heaven. I was so shocked when she came out with this that at first I thought it was a "wind up" but she really does believe it and in a strange sort of way it is reassuring that she does, sometimes, depart from her logical approach to life!
Over the years I have attended church services representing many different denominations and it feels that there are as many alternative views on the death of a baby as there are theologians. For years and years the famous statement by Erickson was the closest to my own view:
"If a child dies before he or she is capable of making genuine moral decisions, there is only innocence, and the child will experience the same type of future existence with the Lord as will those who have reached the age of moral responsibility and had their sins forgiven as a result of accepting the offer of salvation based upon Christ's atoning death."
In 2012 I had my first experience of a baby dying. Cert in a Skirt's baby Rosie died aged 12 weeks. I had known for a while that Rosie had been diagnosed with a minor heart defect but as more and more tests were carried out it became clear to us all that the situation was very serious. The only good thing about this horror story was that they were both with Rosie when she died. She died very peacefully, her heart just stopped beating.  
Ella and I both know “Cert in a Skirt” quite well – she and Ella worked together for 18 months when I was away at university – and while we don't see her that often she is very much one of our circle of  friends. Two of our blog readers (Goodie Two Shoes and Pinkie) went to the funeral to represent all of Cert’s foster care and Children’s Home friends scattered around the UK.  
As I said at the time - "Fly with the angels, darling Rosie."
I do struggle with organised religion but I would like to think that Rosie is being looked after and loved in a way that Ella and I were not when we were children.

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