I believe that once we as people lose hope we are doomed to an even more bitter existence. The loss of hope means one has settled for the situation at hand. Sees no way out, no other direction or path just despair at the end of the line. I have been on the verge of losing hope in a variety of situations. It could be bills entering my home faster than income can arrive. The loss of a dream, loved one, or the ability to just cope and hang on for just one more day. However, whenever I see the distinct possibility of hope leaving me, I look at the one person in my life that exhibits it each day. My 5 year old son is that beacon I need when the dark curtain of lost hope begins to close me out from the light. He is inspiration because he was born into the world with a heart that was dying from his first struggled breath. Watching my wife touch her young son thru an incubator for the first time was heartbreaking. She didn’t enjoy the happiness all mother’s feel from that first contact with their child. We have two other children, but no matter how many kids a woman has that first touch is the bonding moment for mother and child. I wept on the inside for my wife that night. I held her hand as she said good bye to our little guy who went to the life supporting NICU.
We had hope for our little man even in the face of the possibility he may not live to run thru our home. However, I remember the day we received the call that his heart was failing fast and that lifesaving surgery was our only chance at keeping our gift from God. Our hope waned thru tears and murmurs of why us. We cast our eyes to our God and prayed for restored faith and hope. I believe faith and hope go hand in hand. Twins really. How can you have faith with no hope or vice versa? Just the words “I have faith things will get better” is a testament to that little four letter word named hope. Well we picked ourselves up and went on to Chicago to listen to the Dr’s tell us about the emergency surgery and how sure they were this would clear up the heart issue. He would be the strong little guy God meant him to be. He had already proven his toughness by kicking every tube that was attached to him including the oxygen machine that did a lot of his breathing. I can see him now at four weeks breathing fast but making it. He was pulling the air in his lungs like a champ. Struggling yes, but if a four week old could fight, so could we.
My wife and I was sitting at breakfast that hot July morning waiting for the surgeon to call with the news that all went well. He will be ready to go home in a week or two was what we were poised to hear when the phone rang…….. “Hello”……….
“The surgery was not successful his heart issue is possibly more serious. We will have to wait a week and see if he needs a transplant.” “Whaaaaat” Okay, my wife and I looked at each other. We witnessed hope drain from our eyes like water from a leaking faucet. What does that mean? “Wait a week” All we could do was wait and see and try not to let all our hope bleed away. Finally the news we dreaded was dropped on us. Words I can still hear clearly in my ears. “He will need a heart transplant” My wife’s eyes exploded into tears and I just looked at the cardiologist like she was an alien about to eat both of us. I was angry and sad at the same time. Angry about the initial hope they gave us before the first surgery. Sad we were about to embark on a journey in which we didn’t know the end. We were told it could be weeks or months before a heart small enough and compatible could be found. All the terrible scenarios were told to us including the possibility of death. However, we held hope because of how strong our son was. He was fighting and we were not giving up. There were countless other little scares along the way, but not once did his little heart give up. My wife and I would switch off and sleep at the Ronald McDonald house while one of us stayed at the hospital to watch over him.
We waited diligently praying and holding on to the hope he would be okay. Then the phone rang. It was the hospital. What has happened? IS HE OKAY? “First let me say all is well and we have a heart.” We could have kissed the Dr whom spoke those words on that early August morning. Our son had only been on the list for two weeks. Hope had won out. We arrived at the hospital happier than we had been in a long time. The surgery was hours of angonizing waiting but at least this time game had a greater possibility of ending well. One of the best surgeons in the country was at the wheels of our son’s fragile existence. When it was all done the surgeon came out and sat with us for a brief moment. He said things went well and that our son should be fine. However, he said one curious thing, which we still speak of. He said that our Son’s heart muscle was mostly white and appeared to be dying. After he said that he got up and left. My wife and I looked at each other with an expression of wonder. He had fought for three long months to stay with us. He had at least a month’s stay in the hospital ahead of him but this time it was all upside.
As I said in the beginning when one loses hope it can lead to a bitter existence. We tasted losing hope several times along our journey with our little guy but faith in something bigger than us pushed us thru. We have been tested several times since then due to other illnesses coming to fruition but each time he pulls thru. Truthfully he is pulling us with him towards hope each time he makes it thru a new challenge. This is by far not the end of this story or all of it but I wanted to share with you what hope can do for a human being when that is all you have.