I first met Hannah at the Post Residency Program introduction. She straight up refused to take a nap and kept her poor mom away from the program events. Hannah was only a couple of months younger than our daughter and I was feeling confident in my mommy shoes so I went to see if I could pitch in and take over some of the walking, rocking and shoosing that she’d kept her mom doing for the last hour or so. While Hannah and I walked we had a chat and I told her she really shouldn’t treat her mommy that way and should be nicer to her, because she only wanted her to take a nap. Hannah smiled a sleepy smile up at me, as if to say, she knew she shouldn’t treat her mom that way, but she just couldn’t resist the extra cuddle time being fussy afforded. I smiled back at her and we shared a moment she and I, not to mention an awesome name. She eventually drifted off to sleep and napped her way through the afternoon, leaving her mom and dad free to be at the rest of the conference. I liked Hannah and we liked her mom and dad too, they were fun, easy to be around and seemed to have perpetual smiles.
Hannah, her three older brothers and her mom and dad, packed up their lives in America and moved overseas to work in international healthcare. The same as us! Except that, unbeknownst to anyone, Hannah had a brain tumor and left this earth Wednesday night.
I am so so very sad. I’m heartbroken for the family of perpetual smiles, who are being so very brave and strong and faithful. And I am frustrated at the unfairness, and angry at the injustice, which unfortunately is too often my go-to emotion for pretty much everything.
When I was in highschool a friend of mine was killed in a car accident. I had never known anyone to die so young and I cried for days. I shut myself in my room and listen to mournful celtic laments. It was the worst feeling ever. But now I am older, and I’m someone’s mom and I’ve never known a child that has died. I’ve never held a baby who has died and I can’t stop crying and listening to sorrowful Nepali flute music. This truly has got to be the worst feeling ever.
It seems to me that older that I get, the darker, and more unjust the world becomes. I find out more and more what a horrible and unfair place this is and I’m shocked each and every time that there is a new ‘the worst thing ever’. The older I get, the worse this place gets, and the more beautiful “being sure of what we hope for and certain of things unseen,”(Heb 11:1) becomes. I know Hannah’s parents believe that one day we will see and hold that precious girl again. I don’t mean that as a trite or insincere thought. As if it doesn’t hurt that she is gone or that her mom and dad won’t daily feel the pain of her loss. I mean that this is the exact place where we do have pain and should feel and express our hurt. Crying is a good thing my therapist once told me. This dark world is where it makes the most sense to feel all the hurt and the pain and the unfair. But when we are done with the dark world and our crying and pain, there is a place where there won’t be a next ‘the worst thing’. I don’t know all the details, or how the whole thing works out, but right now I’m guessing it is going to be one of the best feelings ever.