Sunday’s Obituary – The Death of a Child

As a mother myself, when I hear about the death of a child it brings terror to my heart.  It physically hurts to think about a child dying.  I have been thinking about this alot today because a young girl (15) that we know was killed in an auto accident overnight.  When I saw the news (on Facebook of course) I immediately wanted to check to see where my own teenage daughters were – I wanted to pull them back into my safe arms away from danger.  I think that is probably a typical reaction for a mother to have.

As a history lover I read often about child mortality rates throughout history.  Before vaccinations, sanitary education, and child labor laws mortality rates were much higher.  I read about parents in the middle ages who didn’t even name their children until they made it to the age of two because so many of them died.  And this was one of the reasons families had so many children, because it was probable that at least one of them might not make it out of childhood.  When you read these things you don’t really think about the heart of the mothers in that time.  Sure, it was more commonplace but just because you might know that it was likely that your child might die did that mean a mother cared any less than mothers do today?  Did not naming a child until they were two really spare them any heart break?  I believe every child that dies takes a large chunk of a mother’s heart with him or her.

So today, I think it is appropriate to share the obituary of little Ray Tracy.  Ray was my grandmother Mabel’s older brother.  She was only a baby when the accident happened and he was three.  Following is the obituary published in the York Newspaper, October 5, 1905.

Little Ray

“A sad accident occurred at the home of Wesley Tracey on Thursday evening Mr. Tracey’s little 3 year-old boy was lying asleep on the floor near the cupboard, when the little girl climbed up to the cupboard to get a book.  In some way a bottle of carbolic acid was knocked down and broken, the contents going on the little boy’s head and running into his ears.  The little sufferer lived only fifteen minutes after the accident.  Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.  Little children surely die in the Lord.  Mr. Tracey and family have the sympathy of all in their sad bereavement.”

Ray's tombstone

Every time I read this story I am heart broken for my great grandmother.  How helpless she must have felt.  I have heard that this accident changed my great grandfather’s life.  He went from being a partying man to being a sober, hard working church man.  There is a family picture taken soon after this incident and I imagine I can see a sad look in all of their eyes.

Family Picture


About Rosanna Ward

Rosanna is a devoted mother of four children, two of which are homeschool graduates. She currently homeschools her 11 and 6 year old sons. Rosanna is a homeschool graduate and a graduate of Oral Roberts University: She grew up in Tulsa and has been homeschooling here for the past eleven years. Rosanna has loved family history for as long as she can remember and love genealogy for the stories of her ancestors.
This entry was posted in Rusler, Tracy Family Research and Stories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sunday’s Obituary – The Death of a Child

  1. Reading that obituary as if it was today’s news brought tears to my eyes. I saw the news about your friend’s daughter today on Facebook as well (Elizabeth posted) and like you, it literally hurts inside to hear of someone losing their child. I can only imagine the pain & grief your great grandparents suffered through in the accidental death of Mabel’s older brother Ray. I’m glad you shared how your grandfather turned his life around after that, which is a great testimony of how God draws us closer to Him (if we let Him) in the most difficult of times.

    Being on Facebook can be fun, but it’s also heart-breaking when tragic news comes across the “wire” on a regular basis. Having access to so many people at once means we share in the joy & fun but also in the pain & grief of many people that we might not normally hear from, and honestly it’s something that has been hard for me to deal with lately. As I hear more and more stories of families enduring hardships like major illnesses and yes, even death, I grieve for them and pray that God wipes away their tears and draws them closer to Him. I pray this for your friends who are grieving at this very moment for the loss of their teen daughter today!

    On a personal level, I find myself daily thanking God that I am here another day, and especially that my family is healthy and has been blessed with health & provision for all these years. I realized recently that the dedication service we often do in church for our children is so much more than just a neat way to recognize and thank God for his amazing gift of their presence in our lives, it’s also our moment to say “Heavenly Father, this is YOUR child, a child that you’ve blessed me with but who ultimately belongs to YOU. Take his/her life Lord and use it for your greater glory.” I find myself praying more regularly for my girls, and in prayer reminding myself that they are HIS children. I find some comfort knowing that not only is my life in God’s hands, but theirs too, and He cares for them so much more than I can with my human heart.

  2. Pingback: Mary Sophia Rusler – Surname Saturday | Rosanna's Genealogical Thoughts

  3. Pingback: John Wesley Tracy – Nebraska Pioneer | Rosanna's Genealogical Thoughts

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