"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." Psalm 56:8 NLT
I can recount every detail of that day, May 25, 2017. I can also remember the details of most days in the 19 months prior.
But that day is the one I can find myself in as soon as I close my eyes.
It is the day our son, our only child, drew his last breath on earth at the age of 32. Leaving a wife, a son, parents, grandparents, and countless family and friends to reckon with the loss of a life gone far too soon.
In the months before his death, through many days of anger, sadness, helplessness, and so many more emotions that I didn't even want to think about, I never lost hope.
Hope for healing, yes, but even more, just the hope of life having meaning. Hope that this would all be redeemed. That none of these days would have been wasted – no matter how the cancer journey may end.
Because of hope, I got out of bed every day. Because of hope, I knew something good would happen every 24 hours, even on the most challenging days. Because of hope, I never felt unseen, God still saw me, even on those days I tried to hide from everyone so it wouldn’t appear that I was falling apart.
Twenty months of fighting, cheering, praying, panicking, learning, and crying, and it would be easy to say it was for nothing in the end. But hope told me something different.
It was just a quick 'change of shifts' at the hospice. I came home to have dinner with our daughter-in-love, grandson and my parents, while my husband went to the hospice to sit with our son. Our daughter-in-love would join him shortly after dinner, and the rest of us planned to go up a bit later. It wasn't more than 15 minutes after our daughter-in-love left the house that my husband called. She had arrived minutes after our son took his last breath. I told him we would be there in five minutes.
I felt the scream come from a place so deep within, I never knew a sound like that existed. At that moment, I felt like all the lights in my world had turned out. I cried tears that I thought would never stop. As I looked at my son's body, I memorized every part of his face, hands, and hair. Just like I had done the day he was born. We sang over him, prayed over him, and answered questions from his little boy and cried.
I didn't know how we would make it through that night. In the weeks and months to come, I would often say, "I don't know how we are supposed to do this." It felt dark, lonely and cold.
But God. He never left us. He never left me. I remember days of not 'feeling' like God was near, yet the hope deeply rooted in my soul – the hope of His love that I knew was there, meant that He was. I knew He would not allow a single moment of lament go to waste.
I knew that He was lamenting with me, that He still laments with me to this day and will until the day I am by His side.
I can't explain it, this Hope of God. It is a mystery, and yet it is something that I don't doubt. He loves me, He aches with me, He cares for me, He collects my tears and ensures not one is lost; they are all recorded. He will continue to do so – my hope is even more resolute in this knowledge because I have seen His presence time and time again, in the best and the worst of life.
The hope of God, who wastes not one single tear.
If you are struggling, I encourage you to retake some small steps toward regaining your hope.
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