I'm not a huge Emily Dickinson fan, but I do like image from "Hope is the Thing with Feathers"--hope brought to life as a bird. Hope is also an action, something we, as humans, can do. Something we should do.
In graduate school, I was fortunate enough to enroll in a course titled "Positive Psychology". The first lesson: most of the historical study of psychology has been focused on finding what's wrong with a person rather than what is right. Positive psychology turns the focus to what is right with a person--protective factors and strengths one might possess, just as a physically healthy person might be able to run several miles or compete at a high level in a given sport. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses--positive psychology attempts to recognize strengths. Hope is one of those strengths.
Research studies have shown hope can help you lead a healthy, fulfilled life. Hopeful college
students are more likely to obtain degrees. Hopeful public school
students are more likely to score high marks and graduate at the top of
their classes. I didn't need a class to explain what I knew at the core of my being--hope can pull you through some hard times.
Hope consists of agency and pathways, the willpower and the waypower to make something happen. Hopeful people have the energy--agency--and can find ways--pathways--to make their dreams real.
Aimee's death has knocked me down, hard. Once, I hoped for a family and a long, happy life with the vibrant young woman I met in front of the post office. When Aimee was sick, that same hope pulled me through, helped me do what I could to take care of her. She lived life with hope--hope for me, for the boys, for her friends and family. I'd like to think she never gave up hope. I proud of the way we fought together, and no illness can tarnish my cherished memories.
I'm slowly building hope again--hope for my boys, our future, our family, my future... Things I never imagined putting together without Aimee. I also have hope for her legacy and memory. She spread so much hope and love, it can't help but continue.
Hope is a special kind of inoculation; it can't take away Aimee's death or her illness, but it can help with the way forward. I know Aimee would want us all to continue with as much hope as we can muster.