Rev. E. Anderson
The trauma of burying her still born baby left Hazel Barrett struggling with grief, but a remarkable meeting at the Elim Bible Week helped her find release she needed to move on
I SOBBED AS I HEARD THE SPEAKER, THEN THE HOLY SPIRIT HEALED ME
Anyone who has been through the devastating ordeal of losing a child will be able to identify with Hazel Barrett. Having got married in 1996, she and her husband were delighted to discover that they were expecting a child. But at her 19-week scan, they received the heartbreaking news that there little boy had died in the womb.
Hazel’s testimony is heart-breakingly honest, and at the centre of it is a woman who wouldn’t let life’s circumstances get in the way of her faith in Jesus and a God who is sovereign in all things. Her faith in the face of such suffering is to be commended, and now she helps others deal with the loss of losing a child through her local SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) group.
Speaking of how she felt after losing her baby boy, she says, ‘Yes, I shed silent tears. Yes, I cried out to god, “Where are you in all this As I asked this question of God I got the Scripture of 1 Samuel 17: 3-37, of how David overcame Goliath who was a giant, and I understand that this time in my life was a giant to be dealt with.
After a 15 hour labour, on 22 November 1996, Hazel, a member of Burton Elim, gave birth to her stillborn son who she named Ryan Luke, meaning small king. Going through the motions of burying her son was too much for Hazel, and she drew closer to God.
She says, ‘I felt like I was holding on to God by a fine thread; that I was about to let go and just fall into oblivion. But when you feel like that, God holds on tighter because he never leaves us or forsakes us’. Two years after Ryan’s death and unable to deal with her grief, she decided to attend a local support group.
She says, ‘I started to attend the SANDS support group meetings, which I dif find very helpful, and a safe place where I could share my feelings without feeling guilty’.
In 2000, Hazel was asked to take over the running of her local group. ’I prayed and I approached my pastor and discussed it with him, and prayed even more, and eventually I just felt that this was to be my ministry – to help and comfort those who have had a baby die’, she explains.
‘We started to do an annual service of remembrance in my church and have had many as 180 grieving non-Christians in our church, all sharing that bond – the loss of a baby. We have had some phenomenal services where we have really felt the presence of God.
Over the next two years she and her husband started to move forward in their grief until a letter came in the post that brought everything flooding back. It informed them that the hospital had kept some of Ryan’s organs, but that because of the Alder Hay enquiry, by law they now had to let them know.
She says, ‘We held a second graveside e funeral, officiated at by my pastor. I wrote a poem which I don’t know how I read it out, but I did. By opening up Ryan’s grave, it opened up all the wounds.
It was only when she attended the Elim Bible Week in 2006 that Hazel received healing of the heart which had been broken the day Ryan died. Hazel explains, ‘On the last night of the Conference Pastor John Glass got up and introduced us to a lady called Jan Holt. He explained how God had laid it on his heart that Jan should sing a song she had written in memory of her baby that died.
‘The floodgates just opened in me. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I felt an overwhelming sense of the Holy Spirit surrounding me. I felt completely at peace, and I received healing that night’.
Now Hazel uses her experiences to help others who have lost a baby.
She says, ‘I am still running Burton SANDS, and I really do feel God is in it. There is a need for this ministry. There are probably people in your church that have been through this tragic loss, and you just don’t know about it because it is a subject that is brushed under the carpet.