Aspects of Grief – HOPE

Hope moves us forward. Hopelessness is paralyzing.

Hope is defined as a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. When our life has been irreversibly changed by the death of someone very dear to us, feeling hopeless about our future is a natural response. We cannot see any positive outcome from this devastating loss. We may feel we have nothing left to live for. Many of our previous plans and goals seem hopeless or irrelevant. It is important that our hope is restored so that we can move forward in our lives. It is important that we find new purpose in our lives.

How can we find hope amidst our suffering?

When we experience intense suffering we gain an awareness of a whole new aspect of life and the world around us. We begin to realize that there are many people in this world who are suffering. We may discover that a coworker lost a young child to cancer several years ago. Or the school music teacher was widowed recently. Or the woman at the end of the street, who never smiles or waves at us, cares for a severely disabled son.

Life stories were swirling around us unnoticed as we focused on our own busy life. We now see that many people have a “story” and we are not so quick to judge those who suffer misfortune. We see them in a new light and, more importantly, we are getting an inkling of caring about their story and their misfortune. Even in the throes of our own problems.

Our own pain seems impossible to get through. Yet, somehow, we manage to get to the end of each day. Some days are challenging, some days we can barely endure. Still, bit by bit, we are surviving a situation that we never believed we could survive. We are developing endurance. We dig deep to find courage and fortitude within ourselves.

And in our struggle we are compelled to reflect on what is really important in our lives. We may place more value on our relationships, our faith, or what our imprint on the world can be. Our “things” may have less meaning.

As a result, our character is strengthened. Something beneficial has occurred in the aftermath of this hardship. Just possibly, we have become a better person. What a lasting tribute to our precious loved one! We have created a positive outcome from a difficult event. We have created hope.

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