Hope. It was the first thing taken from me when my son died and has arguably been the most difficult thing to get back since. Without it, I was lost, cast adrift with no direction and permanently shrouded in darkness. I thought that it would never come back for me but it did and I’ve held onto it for dear life since.
When Benjamin died I didn’t think that I would be able to survive life without him. I thought that losing a child was one of those things that people just didn’t survive. So one of the first things I did was start searching for stories of hope, stories from other people who had survived the impossible. I thought perhaps that in itself would restore hope, even temporarily.
At first, it gave me the reassurance I sought, however, I found myself yearning for more. In a desperate bid to restore hope, I started attributing certain things to it. If I found out a reason for why Benjamin died there could be hope. If I got pregnant again there could be hope. But then there was no reason for his death and getting pregnant again would turn out to be just as difficult as it was the first time around. So what then? Hope, it seemed, was setting me up for a fall.
That’s when the penny dropped. Hope isn’t a tangible thing. It isn’t attached to certain things or certain outcomes; it is so much bigger than that. For me, it is about the future. It is about knowing that no matter what happens I can make it through. It is about having faith in myself and my resilience. It is about knowing that despite hard and desperate times there is light on the other side, you just need to trust in yourself that you can get there.
And you can get there. I am now one of those stories of the impossible. I am surviving, I am loving and I am living. I have hope. It doesn’t have an end picture for me. I don’t know if my life will ever have a living child in it but I know that I can be happy either way and there are strength and reassurance in that for me.
I was speaking with a friend recently. He lost his wife a few years ago at a ridiculously young age. Although his loss is very different to mine we have a shared understanding of what it is to have what is most precious to you ripped away in an instant. He said to me that no matter what I must not give up hope, that it is what will get us through. And so that is what I am doing. I am hanging on to hope and giving life a chance.
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash