“Totally without hope one cannot live. To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante’s hell is the inscription: “Leave behind all hope, you who enter here.” — Jürgen Moltmann
It seems that optimism surrounds me. As much as I try to avoid it—it just keeps calling to me. I despise this time of the year. I despise welcoming some new year that offers so little to me. I despise it almost as much as Christmas commercialism at its finest. I expect one thing from this new year—to be one year closer to fulfilling a promise I made years ago and one year closer to reuniting with my heart. Grief killed Hope long ago. Hope is no longer pulling at the drawstrings of my mind. I wished upon all the falling stars I could find and I pretended all that one can, prior to completely breaking with reality. Oh, it was a mighty battle when Hope and Grief tangled. Hope had resorted to hiding among the corners of my mind, just prolonging the inevitable. When Grief found him cowering, he struck a mighty blow, but Hope stood strong and fought to the end. I watched as the two battled like worthy knights battling for the love of a woman. I watched as Grief dealt the deathblow that would silence Hope forever. I cried. Hope was the only chance at renewal. Hope is dead.
A resounding “NO” meets every wish I have made during the last few years. The sound reverberates within my mind…No, No, No. How solemn it is to live without Hope. I think knowing him for 44 years makes his absence more devastating. I was an optimist. I always had Hope, even when Hope wanted to go away.
I see the way people look at me now, or rather do not notice me. I suppose that when I had Hope it just did not matter. I was once loved. I was once adored. When you are loved, you perceive a reflection of the person your lover sees. When love goes away and Grief murders Hope, you see an accurate reflection of yourself. When I gaze into a mirror, I see an image so haggard it makes me gasp in disbelief. When Hope is dead, you see only reality. There are no rose-tinted glasses or dreams blocking the accurate view. There is only reality. Reality is lonely.
I found Optimism hiding with all the Others and I asked what it is they are so frightened of and Optimism said they did not want to live in hell anymore.
I was alone at work today and spent a lot of time thinking. I remembered when I began taking college courses. I was so excited and so optimistic that I could not wait to tell him everything about my classes. I did not feel out of place because there were many other non-traditional students pursuing the same goals as me. I will never forget how much it meant to me when my Music instructor told me that I was “a super awesome student.” I beamed with pride. He beamed with pride. One particular exam consisted of about 75 possible terms. I studied so hard for that test because I wanted to make a perfect score. He helped me study every night. He told me that he was learning a lot too. I will never forget his expression when I explained how the Castrati obtained their beautiful voices. We had so much fun studying together. When I told my instructor how my husband was helping me, she said that I should do something special for him. He also endured the heat so that we could attend a fourth of July concert so that I could complete an assignment. He sacrificed so much so that I could concentrate on my studies.
He not only helped me study, he encouraged me to study. When I wrote a 30-page paper for my Biology class, he took care of our three dogs so I could complete the paper. I remember that we withstood a hurricane one night when I had Biology class. He refused to let me drive because the weather was so bad and I refused to miss class, so he drove me to class. He sat out in the truck for almost three hours and never complained.
I miss my husband. Once upon a time, I called him whenever I turned off the highway onto our dirt road. We played a little game in which I would say, “Guess where I am at?” and he would reply, “Are you on Caney?” If our daughter were nearby when we did that, she would roll her eyes and possibly gag. I think of that every time I turn off the highway. I even tried to call him once to let him know I was nearly home but then, reality hit me like a brick. Once upon a time, I called my love to tell him everything. I turn my phone off now. He already knows.
Time stops on Saturday night. The nights are a hundred hours long. The days go by fast, but the nights drag out forever.
I could really use one of his hugs right now. I would tell him what a wonderful husband and father he is. I would tell him how we will grow old together and sit in matching rocking chairs. I would tell him how much I love him. Most of all, I would never let go. Realizing that I will never again feel safe in his arms while on this earth is the loneliest and emptiest feeling ever.