Some of us know our cousins well. Some of us have vague recollections of them from childhood. Some of us have never known any of our extended family beyond the knowledge that our parents didn't spring from the ground on their own.
Hope can be like that. Some days you have so much hope in your life and in the future that your chest swells to bursting with it. You can hardly believe life is this good. You can hardly believe how far God has already brought you from where He found you.
Some days you remember what it was like to hope. You know that you used to hope for things. But these days hope feels like a child's birthday wish. Something silly we allow for the innocence of children. Something that never comes through (how many of us got that pony we always wished for?).
And some days. Dark days. Hope is nothing more than the knowledge that you used to hope. The knowledge that such a thing exists, for some people. But on the darkest days of a full-blown depression, hope feels like a court jester mocking you. In the dark of those moments the idea that life could ever be better is ludicrous. In that moment it feels as if life has always felt that way so why should tomorrow be any different?
When you're traveling the road of grief you have to pack hope. There is simply no way around it. Merriam Webster defines hope as:
to expect with confidence or
to desire with expectation of obtainment
When you are grieving you have to expect that someday, eventually, that hurt won't be quite as sharp. Some day that song won't make you break down in the grocery store. Some day you'll be able to celebrate his birthday more like you did when he was here. Because without hope, there is only despair. You are only left with that pain and absence. That wound that will never heal.
If I didn't have hope I'd have long ago lost my apartment, probably my car, most of my furniture and landed back in my parents basement. I've struggled with depression for a long time, I can't comprehend the worst of my bouts with depression still being full-blown while trying to grieve my dad. I just can't. I was barely functioning much of the time as it was, and life was pretty good overall.
Tonite I grieve. In 3 days my dad should have been 61. But he won't be here to celebrate that birthday. My mom and sister and I are going to do our own celebration of the wonderful man we had for 60 years. We will cry I'm sure. We plan to plant bulbs that were sent to us in funeral flower arrangements. We will eat cake. And we will remember what a wonderful man we had in our lives for so long. Yes, he should have gotten to 61. He should have gotten to 81 as far as I'm concerned. But even He said the day of the "official" diagnosis
At least I've had a good life,
I'm not some kid who never got a chance to live.
So, I will go to bed tonite trying to focus on hope. Trying to focus on expecting, with confidence, that someday Oct 5 won't make me weep. In my mind I know that in the long run Hope is stronger than Grief. In the long run I will be able to smile and celebrate and be happy that I had such a wonderful Daddy who modeled for me how much a man should love his wife. Someday I will have more hope than I have grief.