Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Storm

By Alex Hopper

“You've never seen it miss this house and miss that house, then come after you.”

In the movie Twister, Jo screams this as she describes how it felt when an F-5 tornado destroyed her home and killed her father when she was a child. I’ve seen that movie about 100 times and that quote never stood out to me until after my son died. Because I realized, that is EXACTLY how it feels.

Child loss entered our lives like an angry, violent storm, seeking to destroy everything in its path. It swept us up and pummeled us into the ground, doing its best to kill us. It was as if everyone around us was basking in the sun, while we were nearly swept away. But Death doesn’t aim. It is an erratic storm, unbiased in its destruction – a spinning, driving force that only seeks to demolish.

We used to walk in the sun, feeling its warmth upon our face. Then one day we heard the wind howling in the distance, we watched as the skies turned gray. An echo of thunder sent a ghostly shudder down our backs - an eerie sign of what was to come. But it was far enough in the distance for us to believe it would pass us by, to believe that we might be spared. We received a premonition of the future, a fatal diagnosis, but there was nothing that could be done. We searched the skies for hope, seeing only darkness. The once blue skies became as dark as night, as the silhouette of a vast vortex was revealed. We ran and hid. It found us… and descended upon us with a gale force wind, burying us alive. It came straight for us and what we held most dear, our son. Nothing was left untouched - the dust and debris of our lives now strewn across the earth.

We felt targeted -singled out and alone.

But after the storm passed, we emerged from the dark cellar of grief to see others straining their eyes towards the sun. We saw others looking at the scattered remains of their lives - digging through the dirt and ashes trying to find just one piece intact. Our eyes met over our shattered lives, our pain reflected in theirs - and we were united. United as survivors. Walking with one-another, we began to rebuild our lives from the leveled foundation. Knowing that another storm could be just beyond the horizon but continuing on, sharing borrowed hope until we find our own.

~ ~ ~

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.


Unknown said...

Beautiful words. I know the build-up to birthdays and holidays are hardest times of the year, especially when the birthday and holidays overlap. We quietly celebrated my sons 10th birthday yesterday and the next 10 weeks are filled with the memories from our rollercoaster ride of his life in the NICU. During those 10 weeks are Thanksgiving, my daughter's birthday, my birthday, Christmas, New Year's, and he passed the day before my husband's birthday. The holidays are bittersweet, but we celebrate what we have- each other.

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