Friday, September 11, 2009

Hope's Homework Assignment

Hope’s first homework assignment as a Second Grader was to learn about her name. Who picked it, what it means and why it was chosen for her. She then had to present her findings to her class.

When I read over the questions we needed to answer, my heart sank.

I wasn’t concerned that the assignment would be too difficult for her.

I was concerned that the assignment would be difficult for me…

The story of how Hope got her name is kind of a heavy story – and I’ve never really sat down and told her about it. I’ve told her parts of it – but none of it was presented to her in a way that would enable her to talk about it with a room full of second graders.

See, Hope’s name came from a time of great sadness and fear in our family.

I was four months pregnant. It was my third pregnancy – my first two had ended in miscarriage, so I was pretty nervous about losing this baby too.

The call came on Thursday night before Memorial Day weekend.

It was 7:30.

My mom hadn’t been feeling well for quite a while and had undergone several tests – the most recent being a colonoscopy.

The colonoscopy showed a bowel obstruction. Surgery was required.

The diagnosis was grim.

Colon Cancer. Stage 4.

The call that I got was from my dad. Through his sobs, he choked out the words, "The doctor said 6 weeks."

My world stopped.

I didn’t need to do the math to realize that my mom was going to die before my child was born.

How could this happen?

My mom didn’t care how it could happen – she was going to make sure that it didn’t happen.

Her response to the doctor was, “You’re wrong. I’m going to be here to see my grandbaby and that’s that.”

It was a time of fear.



There was such a sense of finality to every conversation that took place.

6 weeks came and went – mom was still here.

Could it be that the doctor was wrong?

We received a new diagnosis.

It wasn’t Colon Cancer, it was Ovarian Cancer; still Stage 4. The doctor assured us that this was good news. “Ovarian Cancer responds better to chemotherapy” he said.

It was a time of optimism.




Hope that my mom would live.

Hope that my baby would live to be born.

Hope that I would see my mom hold my child.


In July, we had the "big" ultrasound.

I remember hearing the words: Healthy… Baby... Girl…

I called my mom to tell her.

We cried together.

Hope Noel was born on October 25, 2001.

My mom came and held her in the hospital.

It was a time of victory.



The doctor gave us 6 weeks.

God gave us 16 months.

It was a time of family healing.




Mom went home to be with Jesus on September 21, 2002 – just a month before Hope’s first birthday.

This was the last picture of them taken together.
It was a time of incredible loss.




Hope that comes from knowing, that because of Christ's love and His sacrifice, I will see her again. That my baby Hope will see her again.

It was - and still is - a time of hope....


Brazenlilly said...

I am commenting through my tears & sobs. Thank you for sharing that extremely personal, heart-wrenchingly sad, but still hopeful and redeeming story, which is obviously a huge part of you. I pray God will continue to bless you with a loving, healthy family so you can pass on your mom's legacy.

johnsonandjohnson said...

I"m glad you shared your story...

Cindy said...

I have no words . . . so well written . . . I remember that time . . . for you there will always be Hope.

StephanieJ said...

Crying again....the pictures make me miss your mom...and I hardly knew her. I'm sure Hope will treasure her name all the more knowing the full story of her name and it's relation to her Grandma.
Each of our children have names that were chosen because of our belief in God's miracles, His power, and our overwhelming gratitude for His gift of each of them. I know that the day I share with each of them the full meaning of their names will probably be a happy/sad tears and laughter kind of event as well.

Diane Davis said...

also sitting here looking at a fuzzy screen through all of my tears. you are both strong and vulnerable here. thanks so much for sharing... i loved reading this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Heidi, That was precious!
Love, Jane VR

Lisa's rants and raves said...

This brought me to tears-- of sorrow that your mom is gone and yet grateful your mom was able to hold Hope and be able to see her grow even though it was such a short time. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. It was so good to see pictures of your mom again too.