Reflections On Hope
As we neared the end of last year, I was sent this touching guest post by Catherine. To my shame, it got lost in my email in-box until now. Still, I am sure Catherine will agree that hope is something we could all could do with at any time of the year.
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” – Christopher Reeve
In October 2011 my father in law, after a normal 24 hour stomach virus, was admitted to hospital with abdominal pain that he couldn’t seem to quite shake after his ‘bug’. At hospital they did a scan of his abdomen and the results that came back were to shake his world to the core and his family around him. A very large ‘mass’ was discovered on one of his kidneys with smaller masses throughout the abdomen. The word cancer was bounced around by doctors and so began an ordeal of medical tests, for those of you who have been down that road you need no more details as some of your own stories will carry a common thread.
It was just the beginning of November 2011 that doctors gave the news to my father in law that he was looking at the end and perhaps had another 2 weeks to live, the only option he possibly had was to have a massive 15 hour surgery. They told him, that at best, his survival possibility was less than 15% to survive this surgery…
Sounds bleak doesn’t it. Yet it’s at moments such as this that you really see what people are made of and my father in law decided that he was going to Hope, that Hope would see him through this surgery and that he would get to come home again, that he would get to play with his grandson again and that he would live to love, laugh and share happy moments with his family.
And so he gave his ‘nod’ for the surgery and off he went for one of the most complex surgeries that had been seen by this hospital. Then the joyous news when word finally came that he was out of surgery and the few heart stopping moments that we had in the few days to follow.
As each day passed my father in law continued to hope. And each day he renewed his mission to hope. Christmas 2011 was a hand wringing holiday as my father in law remained in hospital, no-one was sure where we would be in a month or six months… but my father in law simply said that ‘this year I’ll go home and next Christmas we’ll have dinner all together’…
And so we hit the beginning of 2012 and my father in law’s hope seem to rub off his family, his wife started to make plans into the future, his daughter made her wedding plans and my husband and I started to make our yearly plans safe in the ‘hope’ that my father in law would be with us for each of those planned moments…
In the beginning of 2012 my father started his Chemo while still at the hospital, then came the most amazing news that he was coming home and could continue his Chemo as an outpatient. Yes there were days that he felt very sick, only those of you who have journeyed this road know that awful feeling, but his hope never waned…
As we journeyed through 2012 our thoughts went to those others who were beginning this road, on this road and, in some cases, having to leave the road too soon. My father in law opened himself to experimental treatment so that others could benefit down the road and for this I admire him greatly.
As we came towards the end of 2012 we started to make our family Christmas plans and an element of excitement seemed to kick around, we would be spending our Christmas as a family, all members present and accounted for… then came the super news just before Christmas that the cancer was stabilized, those words are like sweet music to a families ears. This news came just over the one year mark since he was given the word that he would have only 2 weeks left to live.
As we rang in the New Year we know we had more to be thankful for than so many others. My father in law is an example of how strong we can be in the face of terrible sickness, of how courageous the human soul can be and the power of Hope. My wish is that this story will help to spread some of that hope to those who might need an injection of it.
No-one knows where they will be one year from now, but I for one shall Hope…
What a beautiful story. Hope is a wonderful thing. Although my Dad was too far along when they found his pancreatic cancer, his story is still one of joy. He had kidney cancer 15 years before that they were able to operate and take the cancer with one kidney out. He didn’t need any other treatment after that. For the last 6 months of his life he was tired and thought he had sinus infections, but he lived his life traveling with my mother and taking care of business. Even though he only lived 10 days from diagnosis since his tumors were not operable, it was such a special time. I look back and think in his case it was better that he didn’t know and we made the most of the time we had left with him. when he was very ill those last 10 days. He was so brave and the whole had some incredible quality time with my father in the hospital. Life is precious.
It posted before I finished. I was saying… He was so brave & the whole family had some incredible quality time with my father in the hospital. Life is precious.
What an incredible story. I know I can learn a lot from it as I travel down that road. I intend to make plans for 2013, with Hope as my banner and family and friends as my cheerleaders. Thanks for sharing this uplifting news with us. xox
Profound and touching story, thanks for finding and sharing, Marie!
Hope is our saber when dealing with the darkness of the unknown.
Hope = life.
This is a beautiful and amazing life story on many different levels. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your journey.
Inspiration, hope, love and joy are so well portrayed in this excerpt from this man’s life. How beautiful and inspirational.
This is a lovely portrayal. When you pair it with Susan’s story in the comments, you have an amazing illustration of how hope can enhance life–even when life is very short. This is the real virtue of hope. Thanks for sharing.
so glad you found this wonderful, uplifting story from catherine on hope, and posted it to share with us. hope is such an amazing power – true grace that can enfold us and can also enable healing mind/body connections. also, i think when we “hope” on behalf of others, the compasssion that drives our hope is also a powerful element; it’s good to think that when we have feelings of helplessness about a loved one going through very dark days, offering compassion and reflecting back the hope they hold onto is really a very precious gift.
i love the quote from cristopher reeve, “once you chose to hope, anything is possible.”. and i love that catherine’s father-in-law CHOSE to hope from the very beginning. the ripple effect for his family and friends was obviously profound and inspiring. and now we get to be inspired as well!
to both you, marie, and to catherine thank you for this beautiful story.
Thanks for this. I’m going to pass this post on to a good friend of ours who also live in hope! It will be good for her to read the story of someone else for whom hope has meant so much!!