Extreme hopes are born of extreme misery.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, Unpopular Essays

Hope is something that we really struggle to find on some days.  Our lost loved ones were hopeless in the time before their deaths.  It becomes difficult, sometimes taking moment by moment, finding reasons to stay hopeful.
Being useful is one way I find to stay hopeful.  I think that people remember us more for how we made them feel rather than things we do or things we say.  I have made my mistakes in life, been less than nice, and also been fooled by people taking me in directions I was not meant to go.  It is easy to see because as they say, hindsight is 20/20, and it is true.  But in my less than perfect moments I was still a good person and still proud of myself for what I believe in and what I stand up for.  My love for family and friends is extreme to say the least and I think they all can remember me in some positive ways.
But, that is one of my new driving missions.  What will I be remembered for?
In the past weeks I tried to make amends with a person that I have had a difficult relationship with.  It has not worked out so well but I am proud of myself for trying.  I think relationships in our lives work in two ways, an outlet for our personality/attitude, and a building block for our personality/attitude.  If we have love, we give love.  If we have anger, we give anger.  It is like a “you are what you eat” kind of thing.
When we lose someone we love so dearly we lose direction.  Our lost loved one is still part of us but now there is a complication with it.  We honor them, we love them, and we do not want anyone to forget them.  There is a fine line in this process, I have seen it, and stepped on both sides.  My son is gone but lives within me and within my family.  He is remembered for how he made me feel, loved.  His personality/attitude was infectious, his smile was unbelievable, his shining light was, what I thought was, a “forever hope” that would never go out.
The line is our grief and what we do with it.  Do we succumb to misery living without our loved one?  Do we lose ourselves in the process?  Or, do we grab on tightly and put one hand over the next on the rope…climbing up and out of the hole that we are left with?  I am half way up this rope.  I continue to put each hand over the other, at times slipping down a notch or two, but forging ahead to survive.  There is balance, like a scale, defined as a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends ….  That is me, the beam in the middle with my arms stretched out as pans with weights.  The weight has to be evenly distributed…the grief, the memories, the pain, the questions, on one side;  while the love pours out of the other pan in an effort to fill the voids and find balance.
Hope can be a funny thing.  People warning us: do not put all your hopes in one thing,  hope is deceitful, hope will not pay the bills…..   I choose to stay hopeful, for hope and much more.  Without hope I would be exactly in the same spot my son was, hopeless.  Hope is not a negative thing, hope is what keeps us alive.