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hope and grief choice

Our hopes change and grow with us as we experience life-changing circumstances. Hopes for specific presents at birthdays and holidays become hopes for good grades, making the team, and peer acceptance. Later we hope for meaningful work, financial independence, and loving relationships. But the one thing that remains constant is the hope for the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones.

Hope does not come with any guarantees. Maybe we don’t get the toy we asked for, or we’re not selected for the team, or the person we love does not love us in return. When our hopes are not fulfilled, we can feel sadness, confusion, anger, or disappointment. We experience grief, and that grief is different with each denial. This grief may make us temporarily upset or devastated and despairing.

When we have loved ones who get seriously ill or injured, we put our faith in the tools of modern medicine and the doctors and surgeons trained to use those tools. We may hope – even beyond reason – for remission and recovery. We hope for life…..and when that is taken away, we are left down on our knees, gasping for air, wondering how we can go on.

This is grief.

This is also when our hope must change again, into hope for strength to bear the unbearable, for people who can understand and support us, and that the intense pain won’t last forever.

In her book “Stunned by Grief”, Judy Brizendine writes,

“Grieving is a hopeful and deliberate choice we make because we want to be happy again.” She also states, “When we choose to grieve, we are choosing hope, because we’ve decided to take the necessary steps to move through the pain (over time) and start living again.”

Notice that in both statements the author references the idea of choice. We must choose hope over despair. Perhaps all we hope for initially is that we get through the next hour or minute. Later, for a return to some semblance of normal functioning. Then, we hope to find new meaning in our life, a life that somehow has continued without this person that was so much a part of and essential to it. Again, remember that hope is a choice.

Grieving – hoping for an eventual ‘better’ – takes work.

What are you willing to do to work on the grief? You could try the following:

  • Journaling
  • Seeking a counselor
  • Reaching out for support
  • Giving yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel
  • Being open to something new
  • Treating yourself with kindness and patience

This type of work will eventually help you choose hope and start living again.

If you want to work toward hope in a group or individual setting, reach out to our grief counseling center for help,


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