I remember in the beginning of my husband’s recovery, the doctors and nurses were very bleak in their prognosis. They were cautious to give us any sort of Hope, or “False Hope” as they had stated. “He may never recover,” they said. “You need to start accepting the way things are now,” they said.
It was as if they had moved our entire world under water and expected us to just know how to live there, how to breathe there.
Maybe in their field they had seen too much. Maybe they didn’t see a lot of success stories where brain injury was concerned. Maybe, they themselves had lost Hope.
But I couldn’t lose Hope. I needed it. It was all I had. A brain injury is so unique, so individual; there is no direct path to recovery. There is no set of guidelines you can follow that will offer guaranteed results. So I clung to Hope like a drug, even if it was “False Hope.”
And through this, I learned a very important life secret. There is no such thing as “False Hope.” Hope is Hope, whether it’s real or not. When staring into the unknown, what else do we have but Hope? It’s the only thing telling us “it’s going to be okay.” If strength is the courage to take another step, then Hope is our light through the dark. And brain injury is a dark, dark place.
In the days and weeks after the accident, the best part of my day was always in the morning; and it was immediately followed by the worst part of my day. It was in the two seconds right after I woke up that I would find my best part. For in those two, blissful seconds my mind had forgotten about what happened. Forgotten it was real, forgotten my husband wasn’t lying next to me in bed; forgotten the pain. After those two seconds though, the weight of reality would settle in and I would remember.
It was then that I cried the most. It was then that Hopelessness would creep its way in. But eventually, my Hope would return and my tears would stop.
I had to have Hope that this day would be better than the day before. I had Hope that my husband would wake up and recognize the severity of what happened because we needed him to. I had Hope that if I surrounded him with enough pictures of our life together, he would come back to us. I had Hope that we would be whole again. Even though it was dangerous to have such “High Hopes,” it kept me sane and strong enough to stay positive for my sons.
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