Discovering hope is different when you are coming at it from the other side – from a period of having none. You are coming to it for a second time, or third or more. The meaning of hope has changed for me. Instead of hope for something to happen or for something to be given in the future, it is now an experience of hopefulness in the present moment. Hope in, gratefulness that…life goes on around us, beauty is every day available to us, pain is bearable for us. Hope in our ability to think and reflect and appreciate.
I no longer hope for an after-life, I focus on the present life. I don’t have to create my death in order to join my son; I can create a fantasy of having a conversation with him any time I choose. I don’t have to wait for the moment of death to see him; I can recall his face and look at photos and remember his smile and even hear his giggle. I can imagine hugging him and recall that last time he sat at the desk and I ruffled his hair and kissed his head. It is all available to me in my mind, in my memories.
I have to cling to these memories because depression robs me of them. I have to reclaim them every time I surface out of the darkness and rediscover hope. But that is the good news: depression is cyclical, but so is recovery and healing, and the rediscovery of hope.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Spring 2005; then Katrina hit in
August. But we survived and now the city is thriving again.
I live in a city full of problems that manages nonetheless
to maintain hope, joy, and celebration. A city rich in music,
art, religion, food, and hospitality.
It is a good city, and my son loved it.