I have been watching the world this week, and despair has begun to creep in. I remember this feeling, when Wendy was super sick, this feeling that it was all so overwhelming, that I didn’t know what to do, or where to begin. It is a feeling of paralysis, like an elephant is sitting on your chest. It is not knowing where to begin, and fearing you never will.
But the one thing I have learned in the ten years of being the mom of a chronically ill kid, it’s that the only thing you can’t lose is hope.
What is hope?
Hope is looking at the situation for what it is, but realizing that there is still room to make it better. Hope is taking stock of reality and moving forward. Hope is keeping the belief alive in your heart that there is still possibility.
Like love, hope is a noun and a verb, which makes it special. You hope things will improve. You hold hope in your heart. You get the idea.
When Wendy was in the PICU, hope was that she would go to the floor. When she was on the floor, hope was that she would get released. When we were home, hope was that she would improve. When she improved, hope was that she thrived.
I did not lose hope. It was always in a special place in my heart. It’s still there.
The events of Charlottesville were a shock. To see such hatred opened a dark space in our national consciousness, one we previously wished to not see. There are other demonstrations across the nation tomorrow, and it is possible that they will end in violence. People I had previously thought to be good and decent have taken the side of hatred, have rationalized it, have tried to shrug it off. I stand in disbelief that we continue to have the problems of racism, antisemitism, sexism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia in 2017. It’s like I’m waking up to a nightmare every day to see citizens of the United States openly fly the Nazi flag from their front porches.
I have thought about taking my girls to a rally tomorrow, because I want them to see that it’s important, to stand up to hatred. But the Boston police have just issued warnings, to wear helmets and goggles, to bring masks. That’s not peaceful protest, that’s preparing for war. And I’m scared that I won’t be able to protect them if things go wrong.
But I still hold hope, and I have learned that hope can exist in small spaces and small actions.
And so we will make signs and we will post them outside. We will create a flag. We will talk about racism. We will hope for a better tomorrow, a better September, a better 2018.
We cannot lose hope.