313 is a story of deepest love. It’s also a story of deepest loss. It’s the telling of how one defines the strength of the other, how deep-seated each become, and how healing isn’t a destination we reach, any more than love is something we ever reach the end of. Ultimately, I hope this is the story of how they intertwine – the love and the loss – and how the meshing of the two becomes the hope we can hold onto.
Why 313? It’s how I remember to seek out hope, to hold on to it, and to let it become the destination where grief would take me. Because 313 is the day my son’s ‘yes’ brought life and hope to a woman who was losing her hold on both.
It was the first in what’s been a beautifully long list of hope-holds God has given me, and it came just days after the Marines knocked at our door, bringing news that redefined our lives in the space of a single breath.
But this isn’t a story of that day.
This is a story of life. Of the incredible life my son lived in the short 22 years his feet were firmly planted here. Of the life we’re learning to live day by day without him, and of the life he willingly gave to another, when simply asked if he would.
313 is 3/13/2012, the day his bone marrow made its way into the hollows of hers, sharing the same strength he was so defined by, immediately multiplying and making itself right at home in the new space it found itself. Within hours, all of the vital numbers they monitor were improving, all of her family was rejoicing, and life was altered in a profound and most beautiful way.
His life blood runs through her. I hold her hand and what’s coursing so strongly beneath the surface …is of him. My son. A physical property from his body to hers, giving LIFE, and filled with his simple, “Yes, I will.”
Her 313 …and now mine too.
My prayer is the same. That a healing kind of hope would run rampant through these pages. The kind that provides space to rest our hearts in God’s promises. The kind that reminds us to seek and hold tight. The kind that compels us to give to others in the ways we’ve been gifted, and give our own ‘yes’ to the opportunities that come.
Our story may be punctuated with loss, but it’s forever engulfed in hope.
Because love endures. Always.