People love to talk about epiphanies, about life-changing moments and experiences that teach them to “live in the now,” but few ever talk about how hard change is – and change *is* hard. It’s difficult and painful and quite firmly rooted in the most powerful thing of all: hope. No matter why people say they choose to change, it’s always in the hope to better themselves, others or their situations.
Hope is a tricky and flighty thing. It’s quickly lost and gained and lost again and terribly difficult to hold on to. I was lucky enough to have a sweet and lovely childhood where hope – for simple things like time with friends, birthday presents or family vacations – came easily and left without devastating me. When I was not-quite-twelve years old, one of my best friends, someone I considered a little brother, died. When I was not-quite-twelve years old, everything changed in my world and all hope left me – suddenly, painfully and unexpectedly, at the realization that my best friend was really gone, that it wasn’t a game and that he wasn’t coming back. As cliché as it may sound, I never realized just how much hope meant until, out of the blue, I didn’t have any of it – no hope for the future and no hope for the usual comfort found in the past.
Unfortunately, “life-changing moments” are not necessarily good: I won’t – and can’t – claim to have made all of the right choices in the aftermath of Kodey’s death. Won’t and can’t make recommendations for others who might find themselves in the same situation beyond just this: try, no matter how difficult or impossible it may feel, to find hope again. It might have taken years and it might have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done but learning to hope again is also the best thing I’ve ever done.
Hope for the future helps me move on after the loss of a friend or family member. It allows me to brush off past disappointments. It allows me to forgive and forget. Hope for my friends makes me give them a lending hand even when I don’t expect their hare-brained schemes to actually work. Hope for my family gets me in a front row seat at every soccer game, school concert, graduation, wedding or even funeral. I hope for the best possible lives for them and do whatever I can to make my actions reflect that. Hope lets me believe that, no matter the anguish of the past or the inevitable pains of the future, no matter how old or young I am, the best of life is yet to come.
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