Thursday, May 7, 2015


by Alex Hopper

hope / hōp / 1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. 2. an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstance in one’s life.

As humans, we are naturally inclined to hope. From an early age, we are told to hope for the best, hope for the future, and to not lose hope. And many times our hope is realized. We maintain a positive outlook that everything will work out in the end, and it usually does; but what about when it doesn’t? What happens when we remain hopeful, but that for which we hope is lost? In this case, our longed for, prayed for, hoped for, precious child dies. After months or years of preparation, desire, and hoping we are left empty-armed, broken-hearted, and utterly hopeless. In an instant, our world comes to a halt. The sun is blacked out, time stands still, and our lives are shattered. In our shock, we feel that our reality is the truth, and that the world has truly ended.

And yet we quickly realize it hasn’t. The earth still spins, the sun continues to rise and set, the moon appears each night. The world around us races on, the lives of others are seemingly unchanged, and we realize, nothing will ever be the same. We will never be the same. As time passes, the gap grows wider, and the isolation sets in. [Most of] the world is not kind to the hopeless. Our “worst case scenario” reality does not mesh well with the, all too popular, “happily ever after” ideal. Most of the world would rather close the door to the bereaved. Our pain is too difficult to look at. It rips away the veil of delusion, and exposes that tragedies can and DO happen. And not just to other people. As a form of self-preservation, many will turn away, in hopes that denial will protect them from such a tragedy. But it won’t. Death can not be outwitted, nor tragedy skillfully avoided. Try as we may, at some point we all must stare death in the face. Whether it comes vying for our own life, or the life of someone we dearly love. It becomes clear that no amount of hope or optimism can prevent death from striking.

After death strikes, we are left in the dust of grief, struggling to clear our eyes and see a way out. Just as the cloud surrounds us, threatening to bury us alive, and we fear we will never again see the light of day, we see it. A barely visible pinhole ray of light. Something we thought died along with our child: it is HOPE. Because although grief is unrelenting, so is hope. True hope is inextinguishable. Though we know now that children can die, and that tragedy can happen at any moment, we also know the value of life. And though life can be devastating, it is beautiful, and so we choose to hope. We hope for a day that our heart will beat without breaking, for a day when the clouds will part, and the sun will shine on our face again. We hope for a day where the beauty of their life weighs more than the devastation of their death. Grief may be forever our shadow, but hope is the light ahead us, that keeps us walking forward. One step at a time, until we see them again.

hope / hōp / 3. an unrelenting, inextinguishable, providential force that allows us to move forward, one step at a time, even in the face of unimaginable adversity and disillusionment.
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Alex Hopper is a writer in North Carolina. She is married to her beloved, Trent, and mommy to her angel, Cyrus. Cyrus was diagnosis with a fatal birth defect in the womb at 12 weeks. He was carried with love until he was born at 33 weeks on November 25, 2013. He lived for 1 hour and 9 minutes. His life was short, but his legacy lives on.


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