This and That

Musings on Being a Writer and My Life


  • May 21, 2012 3:10 am

Hope is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all

By Emily Dickenson


Be positive. You have to think positive. That advice is offered by well-meaning friends when someone faces a life-threatening illness or tragic situation. The “positive person” is held up as an ideal when someone is battling cancer. He or she is advised to be positive, think positive, and to speak in positive terms. What does that actually mean? A person facing possible death or at the very least a brutal and exhausting treatment plan, should only talk about how they plan to beat “this thing?” Why? So the people around them don’t have to offer comfort or solace when it’s needed? So the people around then don’t have to face their own mortality?

That advice is bogus. It robs people of their ability to share their fears and grief and denies the validity of their feelings. It forces the victim into the role of comforter and supporter.

We are in a battle for survival right now. My husband of almost 40 years has been diagnosed for the second time in 5 years with cancer. He is struggling to recover from surgery and to face his “new normal” which includes 24 hour a day oxygen therapy, debilitated physical condition and yes, an uncertain survival.

The only way I see us making it—surviving—is to cling to hope. Hope that he will eventually heal, hope that the surgery was ultimately a “cure” (if that’s even possible), and hope that the cancer will not reappear.

Hope sustains me when I wake in the morning and think about the rest of our day—filled with the trials that this disease has brought into our lives.

Without hope, all is lost.







  1. Betty Lisec says:

    Nothing I can add to that Kathy!
    Please call me if I can do anything to help you!

    • Donna McCarty says:

      I have read many of your blogs, Mac and I both think of you and Dan often. Hope and faith, we all cling to it.


  2. gail says:

    Hope. As a survivor of “the thing”, hope is a good and yes, it is sometimes all that there is to cling to. But, I see that you have much more than hope: you have an agressive treatment plan and the support of friends and family who although they try to be supportive, reallly just say stupid things because they do NOT know what else to say.

    I am a very good listener. And my ears are always there for you. No judgment. No advise.

  3. Barbara Herman says:

    Your articles always leave food for thought.
    Today’s is no exception.
    When you stated that without hope, all is lost….it took me back.
    I always said Faith, Hope and Love.
    Well, FAITH in God is a no brainer. We’ve got it and call on God in prayer and thanksgiving all the time.
    When you LOVE someone, you do all you can for that person
    But HOPE seems to be the most powerful at this time of our lives.
    FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE still go hand in hand. We can’t seperate them but we can rely on each one more at certain times.

  4. Marilyn says:

    Well said Kathy – we missed you at the SolWriters meeting today – thinking of you.


  5. Bonnie Byrne says:

    Kathy, it is so good that you can express yourself fully and get things off your chest. Yes, being hopeful is critical in all cases, and especially dire ones. Hang in there and know that prayers and loving thoughts are being sent to you and Dan. We feel your pain but share in your hope. God bless……. Bonnie

  6. Marsha says:

    Kathy, you continue to hope and with Gods help and your friends and family all will stand by you. Thought you would like the following quote…..

    Everything will be all right in the end .. if it is not all right …. it is not yet the end.

  7. Eleanor T. Coan says:

    Kathy as you said HOPE is the greatest virtue and I am keeping you and Dan in my Prayers. Remember that LOVE is all around you both.

  8. Linda Young says:

    I share your hope.
    Love to you and Dan.

  9. Lucy says:

    Hope for the best that God has in mind for us. Belief that He will not let us down and will be there to pick us up when needed because He loves us. Faith that our memory never leaves us. As long as our memories are with us, so are our loved ones and the best and worst moments of our lives. Love that comforts us and keeps us going. Kathy, you and Dan are very loved!!

  10. Lynn says:

    Know that God is with you. Hope is a powerful tool. Love is more powerful. I know you have both. You are surrounded by people who love and care for you both.

  11. I love “Hope” by Emily Dickinson. When facing daily health challenges, Hope gives us courage to continue. Also looking for a surprise or bright spot in one’s day eases our fears. A childs’ words of wisdom, a bird singing, a friend’s comforting phone call all add rays of sunshine to the day.
    May God’s Blessings comfort you and Dan.
    Bobbi and Al Mastrangelo

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