As a child, I used to sing myself to sleep. One of my favorite songs was “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. Each note I sang was full of hope that someday I would live somewhere safe where there was no abuse. “There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby…” I fully believed that I would find a place of love and safety, free from harm. Where did I get such faith? I read books and saw movies where children and people were cherished. Life wasn’t scary and filled with predators. As an adult, I set my course to live in such a place. I married with high hopes. But the day after the wedding my husband changed from Prince Charming to a sneering, demeaning brute. Confused, I tried to behave in a way that would please him; but to no avail. That is, until he wanted to have a child and then the one-time prince made a brief appearance. During my pregnancy and the subsequent birth of my lovely son things improved somewhat. I was treated better… till I wasn’t. Then, all smiles and embracing me he said he wanted another child. But, I was not so easily duped again. I told him that I would not be having more children with the likes of him. I had gained some self-respect. And so we divorced. I then made a life and a safe, loving home for my son and I. I still had hope. After several years of rebuilding our lives, I met a kind man and decided to try matrimony again. But, then he became very ill within a year of marrying him. The doctors gave me medicine to inject him with every day. Then they tried infusions. But still, his health deteriorated till he was no longer able to walk or stand or sit up without support. During all this I lost hope that life could feel safe and good. My husband’s illness was very frightening. No doubt, for both of us and my son. He eventually even lost his hearing. Then, he passed away one night. When I found him the next morning he finally looked at peace. But, then I was left alone to pick up the pieces. And, all hope was gone.
Its been over two years since he died. During this time I have received much help from friends and my son as I try to start my life over. Not only did I not have any hope, I even forgot that such a thing as hope existed. Its a terrible way to live. Then, a month or so ago, I caught a scent, a fragrance. It seemed strange, yet familiar. Although, I didn’t recognize it, I welcomed it. I sensed that it was young — something from my youth. Just a week ago, I learned it’s name — it is hope. Somehow it found me. I am more than a bit frightened of it; but, I am now more frightened of living without it. So, I tentatively hold it’s hand and take small steps into my unknown future.