Last night I did the hardest thing I have every done in my some 20 years of ministry – tell a parent (father in this case) that his 8 month old son had died. The flash message came from the Red Cross (what we call an AMCROSS message, or AMCROSS for short) came to the ship’s chaplains; they found out who the sailor belonged to; found me in a brief; and I and his chief petty officer (who was also in the brief) went to find him. I didn’t know the content of the message at this point; my instructions were to take him to the chaplain’s office. We got there, and the chaplain told me to come into the office alone. I knew then it wasn’t good, but was still not prepared for him to tell me about the death of AW1’s child. He then asked me if I wanted to tell him, and I knew in my heart I had to do it. I couldn’t pass the buck on this one. We brought him, his chief, and his buddy into the office, and I pulled my chair up close in front of him and told him. I have never witnessed pure shock before. He kept asking, “My son?”, and I had to keep answering yes. While all this was happening, our administrative chief petty officer (I think) informed the Commodore (our boss) and got the ball rolling on getting him off the ship ASAP. I’m sure our staff helo pilot and liaison with the air wing had a lot to do with it as well. To end this sad story, he will be leaving the ship at 1130 Hawaii time for the LONG flight back home.Please keep this young soldier and his family close in prayer. What a terrible tragedy.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Prayers for the Loss of a Child
I recently asked for prayers on behalf of my brother-in-law Tom who has been deployed to the Persian Gulf. This is from a recent email from him (I've made a couple of minor edits to protect identities):