Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. -Job 13:15

It’s been six weeks since the birth, life and death of my daughter London. I had to include life because when a person is born and dies on the same day it is hard to remember that they even existed in the first place.

That is where I have found myself over the last few weeks. I struggle to remember and find ways to cope when I remember too much.

This is the moment when I realized she was gone.
The days leading up to Father’s Day were the most difficult since the week London died. I tried to ignore it; I tried to skip Father’s Day altogether. For a day or two, I did pretty well at forgetting that this day celebrating me was actually a thing. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I could not even bring myself to wish my dad a Happy Father’s day – the words were too painful to speak.

Your life is supposed to change when you have a child. You are supposed become less selfish; you are supposed to sacrifice. Married couples are two independent beings that learn to dance through life together. You learn to give and take – to join your life as one flesh. But a baby is not a dance partner. An infant’s parent is more like a gardener entrusted to grow the most delicate flower. A baby is a jewel to protect and precious cargo to handle with care. They are completely dependant.
So when you first find out you are to become a father, you prepare to become the caretaker of this gift. You begin to leave your old life behind. Every day and every event is the end of the beginning.
I started off saying, “this will be the last time we get to do this for a while without kids.” Then, “next time we come here, we will have a baby.” Finally, “I cannot wait until London is old enough for us to bring her here.”
Now I find myself navigating this strange no man’s land of childless fatherhood. Humans are used to cause/effect and if/then scenarios. Everything we do creates something. Even in the mundane day-to-day, we push certain buttons and expect correlating results. But my wife has gone through pregnancy and the results are not what they are supposed to be. She no longer looks pregnant. There is no longer a little life inside of her. I can no longer put my hand on her stomach and feel the movements of my daughter. This is the natural progression; yet, I have no daughter to hold and to sing over.

There are no 3:00 AM feedings, no crying baby and no diapers; our house is too peaceful.

Even with the keepsakes and photographs that we have, sometimes it is hard to remember that this even happened.
My mind wrestles with this daily. It was preparing me to change roles. It had begun mapping out a different course for my life, but instead, I find myself on a path that I didn’t know existed.
Even yesterday, as we were packing to go on a cruise, my mind wandered and thought about the trip we were supposed to be taking. We should be preparing to take London to meet my grandmother in Buffalo. That is the trip I planned. That is the trip I want to be taking. Instead, we are running away. We are trying to escape before April has to go back to reality – back to work.
It is hard and at times unbearable. We are living in fractured time; the world around us has moved on. We are like a driver on the highway who has taken the wrong exit with no-retry ramp. We find ourselves in the middle-of-nowhere. We continue to drive in hope of finding a place to turn-around.
Today I heard someone say that the book of Job in the Bible was not written so that we would understand why. Instead, it lets us know that we may never know why.

We have not lost hope.

London Joy has laid her crown at the feet of Jesus.
My daughter has joined the great cloud of witnesses and she has eyes and a new body that will never fail her. She waits for us. And she waits in joy, as one who has never known anything but love. She waits for the Bridegroom and the Bride to be united. She waits for the Wedding Day.

Even in the midst of that great hope; there is a great grief. As I read somewhere “joy tinged with sorrow.”

Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!    His mercies never cease.
-Lamentations 3:21-22

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