Have You Ever Lost Hope?
“The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Very few of us make it from the delivery room of our birth to the cemetery where we finally rest without having lost hope – completely – once or twice along the way. But there is hope, even though circumstances may cause us to feel hopeless, as long as we carry on.
The first time I lost hope was when my mother died. Though she had been sick for two years, her passing hit me harder than I could have imagined.
I can tell you how I survived. I kept going. It was my stubbornness that saved me in the end. I refused to lose this one.
And I found hope again.
Seven years later when my son Alex died suddenly, the grief was unbearable. There were times when I couldn’t figure out why I was still here and whether or not I wanted to be; I couldn’t imagine that life would ever be good again. The people around me were so frozen in their grief that no one could tell me what I needed to hear: it won’t always hurt this much.
But I had an ace in my pocket this time. I had already traversed the road of hopelessness. I knew how bad it could get and that it would get better, even though I couldn’t imagine how it at the time. I knew I would survive.
I learned how to manage my grief proactively and how to fight my way back during those times when I’d forget.
How do I fight?
- I cry a good loud cry. Did you know the sound of your own crying is considered “sound therapy”? I cry, and I release, release, release.
- I run a hot bath and pamper myself.
- I go easy on myself, sometimes lowering expectations. Grief and fatigue go hand in hand.
- I remind myself that tomorrow will be a better day; that I just need to fight my way through today.
- I find a funny TV show to watch and escape in it.
- I move. Grief is immobilizing; when I move I feel alive and when I feel alive, I know I will somehow be okay.
- I think of something that brings me joy, and I do it.
In taking any one of these actions I carry on and when I do this long enough, I find hope again.
Life’s strange path sometimes passes through thickly forested areas where the light is so dim it doesn’t seem possible to find our way. But if we keep walking, one determined step at a time, we make our way back into the sun.
Have you ever lost hope? How did you find it again?
Photo credit: Forest Wander