“HOPE” after Loss

What does HOPE look like to you?

How often have you used the word HOPE when life seems hopeless for yourself or someone else? HOPE may be a cry from someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, the HOPE I make it through this minute, hour, day, month or year.

Hope changes as life’s situations change.

HOPE may be a request when talking to “God” or religious figurehead of your belief, a wish sent to the universe, connecting to a deceased loved one, enhanced relationships with family and friends or hope for what you want in your life.

I speak of HOPE and at the same time I know how difficult it is when everything seems hopeless. I have had people say that “this too shall pass” or “it is only a first time once”. In hindsight after having gone through some trying times of loss I believe these comments now, but I was skeptical at the time.

HOPE may be all YOU have. John F. Kennedy quoted, “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.” George Weinberg wrote, “Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.” Fear and abandoning hope is often present when there is little to hold onto, when life and loss hit hard.

BELIEVE in yourself, even if no one else does. You might be thinking how difficult it is to change and be different or create a different life after a loss. The fact is your life will never be the same again; loss has changed you. Now, how are you going to live differently? Perhaps; start to imagine what you hope for in life, picture what your realistic desire would look like.

Did you notice how I underlined “realistic”? Often when loss is in our life we just want it to go back to the way it was, but that is not doable or is not in the cards.

Describe in detail what you want to create in your life. Set a time frame when you may realistically achieve what you hope for, beginning with small steps or ideas at first and being patient with yourself knowing sometimes there are 5 steps forward and 3 steps back.

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” -Thich Nhat Hanh. Barbara J. Saunders is a grief counsellor/thanatologist.

Next week’s article 5 is about “FIGHT OR FLIGHT” response to stress and loss.