Hope has taken on an entirely different meaning since the death of my only child, Logan. Forever 19-years-old.
My life is morphing into two parts – before Logan and after Logan. While I am fundamentally the same person, the way I think has taken a seismic shift.
Before Logan, hope was about the future. I hoped he would overcome his depression and anxiety. I hoped he would beat his eating disorder. I hoped he would reach the goals he set for himself, such as getting into college and running cross country, serving the military and finding that special person to love. I hoped he would survive his tumultuous years while the CEO part of his brain was under development. My hope was tied to Logan. If he survived and thrived, then my hopes and prayers were answered.
Every day since Logan was an infant, my prayer to God was, “Keep my child safe, healthy and happy.” No matter how challenging life got, my last straw was always hope.
Grasping onto hope
Even the night of Logan’s truck crash, even when I saw him unconscious and on life support at ICU, my immediate reaction was – hope. I whispered in his ear over and over again, “We’ll get through this together.”
I grasped onto hope even when the surgeon said Logan wouldn’t make it through the morning. I didn’t believe her. She didn’t understand the power of Logan’s spirit and relentless resolve – the comeback kid.
As much as I believed in hope and God answering my prayers, all pleas for Logan’s life fell on deaf ears.
Hope was not part of the plan that hot summer morning. Not for Logan and me.
When his heart took its final beat, so did my hope. The hope was extinguished by despair. Despair morphed into traumatic Grief. It’s called traumatic because of the sudden and tragic loss of a child.
Traumatic Grief may sound like a form of depression or mental illness that can be treated. But such Grief is not an illness. It’s part of life for those of us who lost our children. As long as we love our deceased children, Grief will be with us.
How can hope possibly have a chance?
It’s been nearly 20 months since Logan died. My Grief is still young. It has taken me on a long blinding journey. Surprisingly, there are brief moments of light. The light pierces through the darkness in unexpected ways. Flowers suddenly become more colorful, the snow covered evergreens more fragrant and a friend’s laughter more contagious. The light doesn’t linger for long, but long enough of for me to realize there are hints of light around my heavy cloak of sadness.
Knowing I can pause long enough to sense the light brings me hope. The feeling of hope does not last long. It is there, but in a much different way since Logan died.
Hope is no longer about praying for a positive outcome so everything will be ok and work out the way I want it to. All I can hope for is to have the strength to keep on going so I can be present enough to see and feel the light when its rays lighten my path. I can hope to be thankful for what I use to take for granted – like my health and and general well being. I can be thankful that I have survived the worst. Even my own mortality pales in comparison to the death of my child.
While it felt like my hope died wth Logan, my hope is there, but in a different way.
I hope to:
- honor my son’s presence by being with him in Grief
- work with the pain and transform it in a purposeful way
- be present in those rare moments when joy comes by for a visit
- continue to forgive myself
- stop the “what if’s” and live fully in the “what is”
- have a positive and meaningful impact on other souls during my fleeting time here
- love and enjoy my family and friends in this life
- be at peace with God
While Logan’s life was short, I hope his love, hugs and big smile will be felt forever.
I hope, in the next life, to feel Logan’s warm embrace and hear his enthusiastic, “Mom! Hey Mom?! You know what Mom? I have good news!!!.” Forever, Logan’s Mom
6 thoughts on “What does hope look like after your child dies?”
Logan was an amazing individual, I ran with him during cross-country and track and if there was one trait that I knew him for, it was his resilience. That finish line was his, and he always gave it his all. I can know see where he got it from. Hang onto those moments of happiness, they are his ways of showing you he’s up there watching over you. You are never alone.
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Savannah, this means so much to me. I miss Logan so much. He left such a void with me but at the same time he gave so much … just being undeniably “Logan”
I can tell you that I can feel Logan’s love and his smile and his warm embrace. That boy’s face–his smile, his big heart, his shoes (!) , his determination, his absolute being–I see it all in his mother’s face and heart–in you. I am so thankful to know him through you. I sent this message just yesterday to a friend who herself is facing death, about hope: “Dear —- you are so beautiful. I’m not sure how you might take this but I hope you will take it with the love I send with it, I myself found an awful lot of freedom in living just hope-free. I know our situations are different and absolutely none of us know how we will find ourselves at the moment death shows up to escort us elsewhere- but I do think the practice of being hope free can be very useful for being fully in the moment. And this isn’t the same as “hopeless” and all the connotations of that. Sometimes just seeing hope as the thing (with feathers) that gets us through the next breath is a good thing. Hoping for something other than what culture says we *should* hope for helps us be free of hope that may be an impossibility. Not that yours is, but at some point, hope for continuation of life, for any and all of us will be an impossible thing. Hope that our practice will sustain us is a hope that can lead to peace. We hope. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.. I am praying and chanting for you.” 💜🙏🏻
—-I think this also applies here with us grieving parents–we are where we are in our love, our legacy for them, our pain. It is all One. I love you and your boy.
Thank you for this.
My son died aged 11 days old, last year.
I am so sorry that your lovely son died, and thank you for sharing your grief and glimmers of hope.
Alex, it’s my deep honor to respond to another bereaved mom and I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Thank you for reading my blog. It means a lot to me and helps greatly with my grief pain. The grief is a part of me as Logan was and always will be.
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You are welcome. Sending a hug.