The Rocking Chair…


For all the world it was an idyllic scene. The mother, in a rocking chair, slowly rocking her 9 month old baby. Cooing to him and singing him lullabies, surrounded by the trappings of the post-Christmas season; Christmas PJ’s, ‘cuddlies’ and toys.

And I sat on the floor, invited there by Parents (as I have been invited to share their story) and marvelled at the scene of the unspeakable love and bond between mother and child.

But, I’m afraid, this was no ordinary room. It was a room in a hospice, and this little baby was severely ill. I had seen him in another place a number of times and, at the parent’s request, had come to see him here as well. I’d been asked to pray for him because now he was close to the end of his life.

As I sat there, it was almost as if I was looking down on this scene from above, and it dawned on me that it was a huge privilege to be invited into this room by the family. To share, in some small measure, something of the journey of this family is an honour that I won’t take for granted. But then I guess that is “chaplaincy” – the invitation into people’s lives in times of crisis.

Then Mom said: “Do you want a cuddle with him?” So it was my turn to sit in the rocking chair, and in amidst all the wires and tubes, to have him stare into my eyes and me look back – wishing things could be different.

We prayed for this little one, and cried, and hugged. And afterwards, in the comfort of my own home that evening, they phoned to say that the baby had passed away.

I don’t know why these things happen. I have no fancy words or explanations. All I know is that being in that place, alongside this family, was where I belonged for a time. Mom and Dad have asked me to take his funeral; and together with them I will do my best to lay him to rest and to honour his contribution to the world. He was loved and, I believe, gave love in return. And now, the rocking chair has stopped rocking; but the picture of love that I saw in that place between mum and baby will stay with me forever.

8 responses to “The Rocking Chair…

  1. David – that made my eyes leak. So beautifully written. It is a blessing that you were able to give some comfort to the baby and his family. RIP little one.

  2. David what a heartbreaking but beautiful story. You told it as no-one else could. Xxxx

  3. Claudia waterhouse

    Awww david that made me cry …your story really touched my heart. We seem to take this beautiful life for granted and as parents we expect to pass before our children.reading your story ,I could feel the love .Thank you for sharing. I will pray for the family in their time of sorrow.You are an incredible man who always make a difference into people s lives ,thank you also for being you x

  4. This is what is important about what we all do , being present.

  5. Beautiful, thank you for sharing and to the family for allowing you to share xx


    Absolutely beautiful Dave….

    I have tried to phone a couple of times, but your phone rings a little while and then cuts out….

    Are you OK?

    God Bless


    Canon Jane Hatton
    Lister Hospital L24

    01438 285519
    07825 790 776

    “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less”. C.S. Lewis

    Please note I no longer work Mondays ☺

  7. Thank you David for your tender ministry to those who search for hope. Praying for you. I wondered uf you could share this on the Heba fb page. Blessings and love Alison

  8. Thank you for sharing that. I took a funeral today of a lady who was very proud of her Welsh origins. During the prayers we played “Suo Gan” sung by a male singer. It is a lullabye. An English translation can be found on the Internet. It might help those who find themselves in a similar place.

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