Thursday, January 27, 2011
The Sound of Hope
Today at work a very odd thing occurred. I heard the sound of hope.
I have been in a training all week at work. This afternoon the focus was on various disabilities, and how it feels to have different type of disabilities. We had various stations that we would go to, and someone would lead us through an activity. One of these was the experience of being blind. We wore black-out glasses, and were led by another worker through the courtyard. After the exercise we sat and discussed what it was like to maneuver the space without our vision. We talked about how difficult it was for parents of disabled children, and how they managed, given their child's disability.
I shared that my husband Michael had been diagnosed years prior with a brain tumor, and how there were times when we would awake to a completely new disability. Some days he couldn't walk, some days he couldn't talk, and other days he had no awareness of what was going on. As his spouse, and caretaker, I never knew what I was waking up to. I would have to just figure out how to care for him each day based on what abilities he had. It was very difficult, as I was never really prepared for any of this.
Now earlier in the training I mentioned to the group that I was a widower, but people can forget some of the details. Just before this conversation, I had been talking to one of the women, who shared that the tattoo on the base of her head symbolized her being a survivor of cancer. I shared that I had similar tattoos on my back in honor of my husband.
Well, after the discussion about the challenges of being faced with Michael's daily manifestation of his tumor, the woman who survived cancer turned to me, and with so much hope in her voice, asked how my husband was doing now. I paused, and looked into her face, it broke my heart to have to tell her that he had died. My heart didn't break for me, as this is something I have learned to discuss without as much pain. My heart broke for her. I know how fragile a survivor still feels. I know how they so want to always hear stories of survival. I saw it in her eyes. They looked sad, met mine, and she offered her condolence.
I thanked the group, who all joined in saying how sorry they were to hear of my loss. I then quickly moved the subject forward, allowing us to return to the original discussion.
In my drive home tonight, I realized that I was somehow carrying that feeling of hope with me. I was doing this unconsciously since the discussion earlier in the afternoon. It felt so good, and at the same time, it felt so odd. I haven't felt this type of hope in such a long time. The hope I felt was specifically tied to Michael. I was feeling hope for Michael.
So odd, yet so familiar. Even writing, and thinking, about this makes me smile. I remember this feeling. I have it symbolized in Kanji on my back.
What strikes me right now, is how powerful the sound of hope is in the human voice. It has a spirit to it that feels amazing. It is so uplifting. It carries you just slightly off the ground.
What I am recognizing is, that I want to maintain some of that hope. Yes, it sounds strange, but I want to maintain some of my hope for Michael. It was so empowering, and it carried me through such dark and difficult days. I know that in the past, my hope was meant to hold out for the best, for recovery, or for extended time. Perhaps I can tap into that hope again, and allow it, still tied up in Michael, to carry me through my days ahead.
I want to hear the sound of hope.
I want to recognize the sound of hope.
I want to feel the spirit of hope.