Finding God in our Darkest Moments (Part 2)

Post Series: Pieta: Peer Ministry for Bereaved Parents

Look for the little light in each moment of the day

Valerie Lim and her husband lost their 16-month-old daughter, Ning, in 1999.

“My personal journey after my daughter’s death has been filled with angels along the way,” says Valerie. “I have learnt to listen more closely to the non-verbal, non-visual and non-obvious messages which guide me along. I believe that after experiencing a child’s death, the innocence of a light and easy parenthood disappears. Our life’s perspectives change and we adjust our ways with more humility and gratefulness. Very quickly I became attuned to how the Spirit moves in me and in those around me.”

Valerie’s family are very open about death. Her sons know about their older sister as she and her husband still talk about her. They also witness how their parents support other bereaved parents through Pieta and believe that this touches them in more ways than they can imagine.

Valerie urges any parent who has lost a child to come forward in their own time: “You are not alone – we are with you, and God is certainly with you although you may feel abandoned.  Keep the faith, share your thoughts with God constantly, and look for the little light in each moment of the day. This is the light of Christ that may not be apparent now, but you can always feel the warmth of His glow.”

Valerie and Gerard's daughter, Eryn Lee Shan Ning (Ning).

“We hope to continue supporting bereaved parents through prayer and friendship for as long as we can at Pieta.  The small plan for me is to grow a network of compassion.  Sometimes it’s not so much the organisational growth that is important, but the growth of a community of hearts.”

Growing a network of compassion

Audrey Kuang and her husband have lost three children: Carys lived for just one day; another child was lost in a miscarriage; and 10-month-old Davey died after heart surgery.

Audrey and San's children - Davey (2nd from left) died at 10 months.

“It was God that called me to help start this ministry. Every little piece fell into place so providentially, from how and when the four of us came together, the calling we felt we had to realise, the way we were supported by people who embraced our ministry, the manner in which we were introduced to the community at the Family Mass – God was leading us and backing us up along the way.

That we are co-missioned already makes the journey a beautiful one. We have individually and collectively deepened our walk with Christ, Man of Sorrows, and our Lady of Sorrows. We have been blessed with a wonderfully loving and wise Spiritual Director in Sister Elizabeth Lim (Good Shepherd), who has patiently guided us.

The Family Mass at the Cathedral where Pieta was commissioned and blessed was the first of many highlights for me. Then there was the inaugural Pieta Memorial Mass in Nov 2017 where God’s love and mercy was palpably felt. I also think that our Pieta retreat for the core members at Oasis with our SD planted seeds in us, and the fruit may take some time to show.

In so many ways, the Holy Spirit has become more real to me along this journey. Where before I depended on myself, I find myself able to submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading. I feel so blessed that I have the Advocate to guide and nudge me along my faith and life journey, and pray that I am able to surrender more areas of my life to God’s leading.

Tealight holders that parents brought for the Memorial Mass and blessed at the end of Mass.

One of my deepest darkest fears is that another child be called to the Lord. The depths of grief were so dark and painful that I couldn’t bear to experience another one. My faith journey, which Pieta has been an important part of, has led me to slowly learn to trust in God’s goodness. My concern is still there of course, but not so debilitating a fear for my three surviving children that they are discouraged from venturing into any situation that worries me. So for them, I think it has been liberating somewhat that they are allowed to lead their own lives more, and that Mummy believes God will, in His mercy and goodness, never let them go.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

What to expect at a Pieta meeting

  • Members of Pieta meet on every fourth Tuesday at Agape Village.
  • Each meeting begins with each parent lighting a candle for their child, saying the child’s name and placing it at the prayer table in the room. This simple gesture of remembrance draws our minds and hearts towards Christ’s light and reminds us of His presence in our families.
  • Those present then read a chosen scripture and reflect on its meaning.
  • If they choose to do so, they also share their thoughts as a means to expressing their sorrow and talking about their faith with others who have also suffered the loss of a child.
  • Every session is closed with a prayer or hymn to bring healing and hope to all who come each month.

Just come

There is no obligation to speak during these walk-in sessions, or even to attend them regularly. Any bereaved parent is welcome, no matter how long ago the loss happened, no matter how old the child was, and no matter what the circumstances were. Pieta also welcomes non-Catholics, as long as they are open to the group’s faith expressions. “Just come” is the team’s personal invitation.

Next Pieta Meeting

When: Every fourth Tuesday of the month, 7.30 pm
Where: Agape Village, 7A Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, S319264

Archdiocesan Commission for the Family

Archdiocesan Commission for the Family