For Holden

People have asked me why I decided to start writing a blog. The short answer is that I don’t really know. There’s no formula or goal, and I have no idea where it’s supposed to go.  Writing is simply how I make sense of life. It’s how I sort out all of the madness that is this world and try to find some peace with it.

This week  it’s been hard to make peace with anything. On Monday I received devastating news that a family we know lost their 2-year-old little boy. He was born with a congenital heart defect and fought that disease his whole little life. He died waiting for a heart transplant.
I simply do not have the capacity to understand this. Thousands of people encouraged and hoped and prayed for this family. This family shared their story with optimism and grace while they were fighting for their little boy’s life. I never expected it to end this way.

I sit and think about what it must be like to be the parents of this child, and I’m overwhelmed with sadness. I can’t imagine having lived in a hospital for months of my life caring for my child only to walk away empty handed. I can’t imagine watching life fade from my little one’s body. I can’t imagine trying to go on with life after experiencing something like this. Where do you go when you’re a mother and a father without a child?

I expressed these feelings of defeat to a friend yesterday, and what she said changed me. It changed my perspective on this awful, sad, unfair state of things. She said that what I can give to this family, what they need to know is that there is still hope. I pushed back on her assertion. “How is there any hope? How can this be anything other than hopeless?” I said. She said it’s because how the story ends doesn’t define the whole story. Yes, there is incredible pain and sadness in the loss of this little boy. But, there was so much joy in his living. We have all experienced the beauty of his life. There is hope because life is still beautiful even when it’s awful.

There is beauty in seeing the love two parents have for their child, watching them love fiercely, faithfully, giving everything they have for him. There is beauty in the selflessness of loving someone that you cannot keep. There is beauty in knowing that this little one was cared for and comforted every single day of his life on earth. He knew physical pain, but never in his whole life did he experience a day without love. There is beauty and there’s pain, but no matter how great the pain, it  can never take away the beauty. They exist together, side by side.

That’s the only way I can make sense of any of this. I know that right now the heartache this family is experiencing is real and raw and almost unbearable. My hope is that somewhere, somehow the light shines through the darkness and they are able to also see the beautiful masterpiece that their story has painted on each of our hearts.

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