I attended a friend’s graduation while I was pregnant with Brody. It was such a happy time in my life. Everything was how I hoped it would be. Jensen and I had made it through some challenging storms, both public and private, but the sea had calmed.
I was really proud of us. I was deeply grateful. I was looking forward to the joy of adding another child to our loving home. And I was slightly terrified that things were just too good.
But I blocked that out. I told myself that the best was yet to come. There was no reason to expect more heartache. God loves to bless His children.
I remember when the Honorary Degree recipient got up to speak. He looked like a truly happy man. I remember thinking that. He sounded like a man who knew peace.
He began by sharing some significant challenges he’d faced in life. “I buried a daughter,” he shared. He continued on “…and life is still sweet.”
I knew I’d never forget that moment. I teared up. I wanted to cry. I was so proud of this stranger for his honesty and his remarkable courage. I’m sure I hugged my belly, my boy. I’m sure I hugged him confidently knowing that he would live a long life.
But he didn’t. And life tastes quite sour right now.
I see good gifts still around me, but I do not experience them as fully as I once did. It is hard to taste anything but the bitter, bitter pain of my Brody’s death. I don’t want to lie to myself ever again like I did when I was pregnant. I don’t want to think that nothing else terrible will happen. I’m afraid of false hope. I’m afraid of impotent faith.
Now, I think about that dad, I think about his words almost daily. He clearly did not allow himself to die with his daughter. He found peace. He created happiness again. He called life sweet.
I don’t know the man who made the speech that day. I don’t even remember his name. I feel fairly certain though, that he did not rise beyond the pain of his great loss by feeding fear. No, I expect he didn’t tell himself that he should never have wanted the best for his child– that hope is a lie. I’m sure he didn’t look back or look forward and decide that despair and pessimism were his best options. If he did, he clearly didn’t stay there.
Hope is not a lie. I say that hoping that it’s true. Sometimes hope looks like a lie and tastes like a lie and breaks your heart like a lie. Sometimes.
But I will keep hope in my heart. I will give hope another chance. I will love life and give her my best even when she is being a total bitch. Even when I feel betrayed. And one day, I hope, she will be sweet again.