The Message of Hope I Received After Losing My Son
Our 14-year-old son, Noah, passed away in 2014 from a rare childhood cancer called Ewing sarcoma. There is nothing that prepares you as a parent to see your child have a disease that is aggressive and cruel in its silent relentlessness. So many emotions and feelings consumed us during the three years our son lived with cancer. Afterwards, the fear departed, but the desolate despair of grief that took its place was no kinder companion.
As the months passed, my search to find some meaning despite this tragedy consumed my waking moments. I imagine most parents who lose a child struggle with similar questions. How could life be so cruel? What if I had only [insert every possible scenario here]? The ups and downs of recriminations versus acceptance for what cannot be changed interspersed my days, weeks and months.
As the daily recriminations lost their stranglehold, other elusive concepts started to emerge within my consciousness. I’ve always considered myself somewhat spiritual without attaching to any one particular religion. Before my son died, I had never really considered in depth what happens to a person after death, but suddenly this question became all-consuming. I desperately needed to believe that death was not an ending, in a spiritual sense, and that Noah was still with us in essence and always would be.
As my mind grappled with many possibilities, a strange thing happened. In the quiet spaces of reflection, I noticed simple yet profound things that reminded me of my child: a rock shaped like a heart directly in my path, an angel wing in the clouds, rainbows on his birthday and more. They filled me with wonder and a hope I cannot describe. The more I surrendered my senses to accept these golden nuggets of hope without any expectation, the more comfort I found.
Here is a recent experience I’d like to share; I share it in the hope that a kindred grieving soul will read this story and find some comfort along with a measure of hope.
In June of this year, my husband was not well and needed minor surgery. He was feeling discouraged, so I encouraged him to take a walk with our daughter one summer evening, hoping it would lift his spirits. They returned some 20 minutes later with a new spring in their step and something else quite unexpected.
My daughter raced into the house, waving a fresh, green prize in the air with a huge smile on her face. On their way back home, my husband had looked down at our lawn, and there in his line of sight was a four-leaf clover! This in itself was a lovely message; but that’s not all.
First, let me explain that our lawn was devastated in recent years by chinch bug; in an effort to make it green without the use of chemicals, we had decided to seed it with clover. The clover took hold, and the lawn is now green.
Soon after this incident, my daughter plucked something up from our lawn with a huge grin on her face as I heard her say, “I knew I saw this earlier on my way home from school!” Sure enough, she had found a second four-leaf clover.
But that’s not all.
Arriving home another day, my daughter found several four-leaf clovers and…a five-leaf clover. Astonished, I looked up the odds of finding a four- or five-leaf clover. The odds of finding a four-leaf clover are 10,000 to one; the odds of finding a five-leaf clover are 1,000,000 to one.
But that’s not all.
So far in the last five weeks, we have found a total of 21 four-leaf clovers and two five-leaf clovers in our lawn, and the count continues to grow. While pausing to reflect on just how amazing this was, I couldn’t help but think it was a sign. In many ways I feel the lawn is a parable for our family — broken, ravaged by pestilence and disease.
Pondering these events, I had a clear vision of my son’s laughing face. I believe the true meaning of the clover is a message that even though we cannot physically see him, my son continues to guide us in spirit — as do all our loved ones who have flown home before us. So we take great comfort in these simple yet profound signs and feel his magic all around us — his spirit growing luck and hope where once there only seemed to be desolation and loss.
Follow this journey on Noah’s Blue Ribbon Brigade.
The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: What do you wish you had found on Google when you were first diagnosed? Find out how to email us a story submission here.