When Hope Turns into Despair

dad and me

Hope and despair are polar opposites of each other. But we can’t have one without the other. Hear me out on this.

I believe hope is born from despair. Sometimes we have to go through some sort of despair in our lives in order to really know what hope is. We have to learn from our miseries in this life to feel the true meaning of hope. We can appreciate hope for what it is: a new beginning, a bright light ahead, a positive attitude. If we let hope in our hearts, we will always make it out ahead. 

The hard part, is truly believing in that hope for ourselves. I feel like our brains are wired to contradict every positive thought that we have (or is that just me?!). We as humans can have so much self-doubt and guilt. Some questions cross through our minds: ‘Am I good enough?’, ‘I don’t deserve to be happy.’, ‘How can I go on with all this grief?’. These are tough questions. But that’s where hope comes in.

We have to have hope in order to survive. 

Life is crazy. It is NOT easy for anyone. Social media has a great way of showing peoples lives as close to perfect. Those are lies! No one has a perfect life. I like to call my life perfectly imperfect. I have my hiccups but its the perfect life for me.

I believe my dad was stuck in his despair. He felt lonely in his thoughts. Ashamed at what he was going through. Nightmares and flashbacks. Thoughts of suicide. He didn’t want us to worry about him. He had peaks of hope that shined through. He told a member of my family, ‘Don’t worry about me and what I said the other day! I feel great!”. Unfortunately, he said that the day before he took his life. Despair won.

Don’t let despair win. So many people care about you, no matter how much negative self talk tells you otherwise.

I miss my dad so much. I wanted to share a few memories that I have of him in order to keep my own hope alive. Hope that I will see him someday and to make great memories with my own family.

My dad used to go for runs after work. I could not keep up with his long Gazelle like legs (as his friend would say!). So I rode my bike next to him while he ran.

My dad caught a tadpole for me and we raised it in the fish tank I had, that he also helped me pick out.

My dad took me to get my first video game set. Super Nintendo! I got Street Fighter and Donkey Kong.

I tease that my dad wished I was a boy. I tagged along with him when he went paint ball shooting. We took karate together. He took me shooting. He taught me how to change the oil in the car. He and I would take the leftover oil to drop off at a local auto shop. He would mumble to himself that no one needed to know his real name and address, so he always used fake names when he had to sign for it (this made me laugh!).

Dad and I

My dad was the one that picked me up from the movie theater (instead of my mom), to tell me the bad news that my grandpa died.

My dad always let me pick a movie from blockbuster every week. It was mostly always a Goofy cartoon, and I loved hearing him laugh like Goofy.

I had to write a thesis paper in high school. My dad helped me with the materials and I wrote the paper on gun control. My teacher left a note saying that her views were changed after reading my paper. Needless to say, I aced the paper. And my dad was so proud, sharing the paper with his many friends at the gun range.

I would cry to my dad when I had a breakup. He would always say there are better fish in the sea. And then at my wedding, he made an impromptu speech saying that none of my other boyfriends stuck around when he showed them his gun collection. My husband did, and he’s a man’s man (we laugh at this too!). He was so nervous at my wedding that he needed to take some calming medicine. We were waiting in the hallway of the church, listening for the wedding march (our queue to walk out). I could tell he was nervous and he was shaking. I said, ‘Dad, you are ok. We’ve got this. Let’s go!’

I loved being my dads little sidekick. No one quite had a relationship like we did. It wasn’t perfect, but it was one of my favorites.

I wish my pep talks helped him. I told dad ‘We’ve got this!’ when he was in deep despair, a few days before he died. Despair sure is one of life’s hardest lessons.

As Dory says, “Just keep swimming!”. Better days are ahead. All you need is hope.

Hugs,

Sarah

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