Friday 5 March 2021

Hope and what it means to us to be hopeful: BRiC's Collective Voice


“Hope gives us the gift of enjoying life”

A recent Sunday discussion centred around hope and what it meant to us. Hope was felt to be an essential part of life. Without hope, there is despair. One of our members shared the beautiful quote above, written by her father - “Hope gives us the gift of enjoying life”. Hope helps us find the way out of darkness.

Naz introduced the topic by telling us that hope is linked to resilience - hope allowed us to bounce back from difficult times. When we are faced with the diagnosis of cancer, our hope is shattered, especially for those of us told we have secondary breast cancer where cure is no longer possible. Facing such shattering news sometimes made us feel that it was hard to be hopeful. One member described the sensation of needing to “dig deep” to be able to be hopeful for the future. Many of our members told us that it was difficult to hope for long term goals or were worried that by doing so, they would be faced with disappointment. It was almost universal that it was easier to feel hopeful about short term expectations and by living in the moment. Sometimes it was difficult to be hopeful, especially when faced with overwhelming events and mental health difficulties. Naz explained in her introduction that we may need a time of hopelessness to find hope and resilience - one of our members called this as seeing “glimmers of light to sparkle hope”.

Some of our members had experienced taking part in a “Hope Course” through their local cancer service or through a charity - the majority of our members found these unhelpful - they felt that hope is such a personal experience which cannot be taught. Some felt that terminology around hope was difficult. One member heard the term “no-hoper” being used to describe a woman who had died from her cancer. Acronyms such as “HOPE - having only positive experiences” were disliked. More helpful were the kind word and support from family and friends, including those in private groups such as BRiC.

What do we hope for? We hope that our future will be OK and that we stay well. We hope our cancer will not return or that it will not worsen. We hope our families and friends will stay with us when things are hard. We hope for new drugs and new breakthroughs for treatments. We hope our next scan will be good. We hope to see our children achieve their milestones and we hope to see all the seasons again. We also hope that our families remain healthy, that the Covid vaccines work and that life will return to some level of normal again. We hope that the time will come when we can be with our friends and families again. As one of our members told us “We hope to find the joy in every day”.

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