It really is interesting the things people say when they learn that you have a serious, inevitably terminal disease. I mean – what can one say?
“So sorry, enjoy your final days” ….. probably not.
“Bummer, glad it’s not me!” ….. probably best thought rather than said.
“My heart is with you during the difficult times ahead.” …… appropriate and appreciated.
“I’m rooting for you buddy.” …… again, right for the occasion – and appreciated.
” Remember, there is always hope.” ……. where does this one fit?
Hope? Hope for what? A miracle cure? That would be a first. A peaceful end? Strength to get through the treatment and all the ravages it will, undoubtedly, put your body through? Hope for a life worth living once all the chemo crap has been endured?
Hope is important. Hope is vital in life, hope is what keeps us all going, whether poor or rich, young or old, healthy or sick, privileged or unfortunate. Without hope there is no light at the end of the tunnel, no way out of the abyss, no end to the misery, nothing to plan for, nothing to strive for, nothing to aspire to.
So when someone says that there is always hope just what are they meaning? What would they be hoping for (for you). What would they think you would be hoping for?
I guess the ‘hope’ has to be personal. I could hope for a cure to be discovered. I could hope for the chemo not to debilitate my life any more, I could hope for ten more years. My situation is complex, despite the doctors seeing it as relatively straightforward (a diagnosis, a treatment plan, an analysis of success or otherwise, a new plan). Doctors fail time and again to understand the emotional side of serious illness, and yet it is the emotional side of the situation that is the really complex one. Hope has nothing to do with cells, tumours, lesions, pain, cancers – it has to do with the mind, the soul, the very essence of life.
So what should I hope for? If I am to keep hope in my life then what shape will it be?
It will have to be realistic – miracles don’t happen. It will have to be achievable one way or another. It will need to be worthwhile. The hopes I nurture in my future will probably evolve as my situation evolves. I just hope that my hopes keep me positive. ( have I just hoped to stay positive?)