Hope gets dashed.

One need not be a pessimist to have their hopes dashed. It happens, whether your glass is half-full or half-empty. Now, how to recover…

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart. What we had hoped for did not happen for us. My grandmother called, and reminded me of another similar loss, hopes raised and dashed. “It felt like someone died,” she said. “But no one had died.” The thought was comforting to me, and I felt the dam of emotion begin to swell. It feels like someone died, but no one died. Hope deferred. We had hoped hard this time, so our hearts hurt hard now. And it is tempting to brace myself against any silver lining I might spot. Perhaps the lack of silver lining today is a blessing. I would reject it if I saw it. Maybe tomorrow I will be more open to hoping again. Maybe then is when a silver lining will present itself.

I resent the way that the world spins and life goes on when I am suffering. I remember the week after my cousin’s tragic death. One of the residents on my hall knocked on my door, demanding the know where the vacuum was. I quietly helped her track it down, then went back to my room to hide in my mourning. What I wanted to do was wring her neck and scream, “What the hell does the dirty rug have to do with me when life ends like this?!? Do you think I care about what you care about right now?” The world was spinning under my feet, under my sorrow, under my anger. And that damn vacuum needed to spin along with it, far away from my concern.

But the vacuums and demanding people follow us, requesting our attention at all the wrong times. Laundry piles up, last night’s lasagna turns crusty on its unwashed dish, articles need editing, the checkbook needs balancing, cars honk when the light turns green, deadlines loom, and people cannot understand why you seem to be suspended in some sort of mourning gelatin. This is loss. And the mourning gelatin is part of the process.

I have not adjusted well to the cyclical nature of this loss. Hopes are raised, higher, a little higher, then dashed, then recovered for a moment, hopes are raised, higher, a little higher… One false peak after another false peak. I get Hannah on the temple steps, crying like a drunk. That’s where hope deferred drives us.

For today, I cannot move as fast as the world is spinning. So I move slowly, one foot in front of the other, grateful for the buffer of mourning gelatin. Do one load of laundry, soak the lasagna dish, channel an hour’s energy for editing, do what I can, and let people wonder at my slow-motion recovery. This is where I am at today. Eventually, I’ll catch up in just the right place.


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