The Brown Eyed Girl, Hope
To Hope, with Love
As I write about our short acquaintance, I almost shutter at the thought of reliving a nightmare through your eyes. When those big, brown, pondering eyes looked at me I felt your intense pain, your anxiety and I longed to inhale your breath until you were bound no more. I don't know where you are, how you are doing but know, that not a day has passed that I didn't say a prayer. You have followed me for twelve years, I could never shake your presence for the words you spoke to me as a child, will forever remain with me for the rest of my life.
The Lady at the Fence
The April 1995 Oaklahoma bombing was something I had just heard on the news. Living in North Carolina you only seen what the media fed you 24 hours a day. It was by mere conicidence that I ended up there, walking down the sidewalk with a 10 foot fence that seem to go on forever. Few things stuck in my mind for I was beside myself with unbelievable grief and the only thing I could whisper was Why?
That question is yet to be answered and probably never will be. It was that day, that moment that the innocence of a child made me realize that all things are possible. No matter what life hands you, embrace it, and be its ruler. Never let life rule you.
As I stood in a surreal state of mind looking at the objects of love and pain that were methodically placed on the fence, I noticed there were hundreds of WWJD bracelets everywhere. It was as if every child or teen that had walked around this fence had taken off their bracelets and attached it to the fence showing, not caring what anybody thought. As unthoughtful kids can be it was overwhelming. My daughters were close by and as I turned to them, they too were removing their bracelets. Just as the first tear began to roll down my face I turned away and saw a little girl that would change my way of thinking for years to come.
She bluntly said, "My name is Hope, but mommy can't call me that anymore so I go by Shung Li." Hope was a beautiful Asian girl with long black messy hair with eyes that would allow you to see her inner soul with a stained tear below her left eye. I stared at her for what seems like hours and then I asked, "Where are your parents"? She looked at me like she was waiting on someone to ask her that question. She held her head up, her small, bony shoulders back and said, " My new daddy and my real little brother died here, my new mommy is over there". She pointed to a beautiful, tall, slim, woman who was down on her knees in front of a shrine. She was sobbing and rocking, like a baby herself, lost in her grief. "Is she O.K. I asked"? "We come here a lot, mommy cries and tells me she is praying for Hope." I was beginning to wonder if it was one of those times where you have to make a decision, that's when the Security Guard came over and explained. Hope was the adopted daughter of the lady that was crying at the fence. They had become two of the many that returned everyday to try to understand or connect with the loved ones they had lost. Her husband and small son. They were in the building when the bomb exploded. Hope was named Hope because she was the child her mother had so wanted but couldn't naturally have. After the adoption was complete she had changed to name to Hope. Since her husbands and new sons death she had lost her hope and couldn't bring herself to call her by that name. Hope told me quickly as she was walking away holding tightly to the guards hand, "Mommy said it stood for "What Will Jesus Do".
Her image was burned into my eyelids....
The security Guard then took Hope to her mother, she was known for talking to anyone she could find drung their visit and he had started to watch out for her. Life for me appeared to go back to normal. Very often and quite frequently I have thought of her more, wondering where she is, what has become of her. My only comfort is that knowing when her mother named her Hope, it was not for what she had given her when she became her daughter, it was what that held her together after.
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