“Why do babies die, Mom?”

My kids tend to zone in on the morbid. It’s wired into them, somehow … and it can pop into a conversation out of nowhere. I’m just saying.

Driving past an ambulance, the question comes from the back seat: “Why do babies die, Mom?”

That’s a good question. One that isn’t easy to explain even to another adult. But after a few days of thinking about it, I’m not sure I’ll ever come up with a better response than the one I gave off the cuff.

“Honey, each time God sends a child into the world, that baby takes three things with him (or her). She takes special gifts to share with others; and special challenges to make her strong and keep her humble. And she gets a job to do — a job that only SHE can do — for God. When that job is done, God takes her back to heaven to be with Him.

“For most people, that job takes a lifetime to do — most people are very old or very sick when their time comes. God gave me a job to be your mom, for example. But some get a job that doesn’t keep them here very long … The important thing is to share your gifts, work hard to live a life pleasing to God, and trust God with your story … to call you back to heaven when He’s ready for you to come.”

What would you have said?

2 thoughts on ““Why do babies die, Mom?”

  1. I am comforted by your response to your child’s question. I am in the process of planning a Memorial Mass for my son.
    He was 51 yrs old and the second son we had to bury. He was pre-deceased by his younger brother who was killed 3 wks before his 8th b’day. in ’72. Their lives were very different and so were their deaths. Both boys were adopted. I agree with the 3 things you stated about their entrance into this world but I am most focused on the idea that they had a job to do….that only they could do,,, and that their job was done and God took them back to Heaven. I am comforted that both boys were consecrated to Our Lady. I am also caring for my husband of 59 yrs (June 16) who has Alzheimers…and has no idea who I am…except that I take care of him. I can only hope that I am doing my “job” in a way that pleases God.
    Del Cleary


    • Dear Del: Thanks for taking time to write this. I’m so terribly sorry to hear about the grief you are carrying right now. No parent should have to bury a child … let alone two. May the Lord take them gently in hand till you can all be together again.

      My grandfather passed away from Alzheimers. I remember how grandma struggled to tend to his needs — I hope you are tending to your own needs as you look to your husband’s. Caregivers so often give themselves the short end of the stick — but you MUST tend to your own needs, as this is a marathon, not a sprint.

      God bless you as you persevere in the task at hand. Know that your angels are watching over you, and bringing your intentions straight to the heart of God.


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