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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

When Ken was first diagnosed with cancer I was 40 years old; our children were 6 and 3. It was a busy, full time in the life of our family. We were scared, yes, but we were full of hope because given the statistics, he was more than likely to survive. That hope stretched out for four years, even when the statistics started looking less and less in his favor as one recurrence then another invaded his body.

How did we express our hope? So many ways. We continued to travel, he invested in his work, we'd set off on our bikes with our little kids, my chemo-bald husband and me. We got a new dog. Ken was a coach for Natalie's soccer team. We envisioned a future still. We lived. We got the best medical care America could offer us and fought for it even when the insurance company tried to deny us.

We got a boat.

Yeah, we got a little aluminum fishing boat with a 15 hp motor. Ok, I'm all for hope, but why did we have to be THAT hopeful. I wasn't meant to have a fishing boat ALONE without my husband. Uh-uh, that was a couple thing. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH A FISHING BOAT!

Yes, it was nice while it lasted, tooling around on Whitewater Lake with our two little kids and our crazy Airedale terrier. Ken tinkered with the motor showing Natalie and Alec how to steer the boat while I pointed my nose into the air, taking in the cool breeze, fully enjoying the ride. I saw parts of the lake that I never got to in our canoe or while swimming. Speeding along with other boaters reminded me of my own adolescence going to cottages with my friends in Ontario on rocky Georgian Bay or Muskoka where we'd spend days (and nights) maneuvering through the shoals, hanging out with boys under the stars, or just kicking back with water below and sky above. A motorboat felt like freedom, felt like fun, felt like good times, felt like youth.

Today that boat we bought with hopes of enjoying it for years to come sits on the dock of a house on a lake, a house that reminds me of better times and happier, carefree days with a sunny future with my husband, who was more than happy to drive me around in a boat. The boat, motor and all, now sits on the dock, on land, no matter what season it is. In the winter it fills with snow and ice. In the spring, it thaws out. In the summer, well, this summer it has grown a nice little coat of moss inside, there are dandelions growing in it as well as a weed that looks a lot like parsley. The seat is covered in black dots of mold. It's a relic of times past. It's a shame.

Sometimes hope becomes nope. That's just the way it is. I'm not telling this story because I feel sorry for myself. I'm telling it because sometimes what you hoped for doesn't happen. Sometimes there is evidence. The evidence tells a story. You might want to tell that story. Why? Because it can help you let it go.


What object or place reminds you of hope that turned to nope? Take 5 minutes to write about it.

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Comment by Jill on September 9, 2011 at 4:29am
I love your resolve to keep using it! I understand what you mean about the kids still being not really able to help, but I'm glad you've got that club. It sounds like there is a big story to tell around this camper and Craig's death. Hope you are doing well Richelle.
Comment by twinsmum on September 9, 2011 at 3:55am

Hi Jill

I have a camper trailer sitting in my garage for the last 16 months.  It took over 3 months to get it with a hugh story behind it and we got it a week before Craig was killed.  Unfortunately that was the thing that killed him in the end (well not quite but the story behind it did).  And so I have used it twice in the last 16 months.  And to use it I have to keep the 4wd as my little car won't pull it.  I am really wanting to use it but the kids are still that little bit too weak to help me.  I am in a 4wd club who are great and the two times we have gone out they have helped me but again its hard.  On the one hand I want to sell it on the other hand I want to keep it as we went through a lot to get it and once its up camping its great.  Its just the effort to get there....Sigh....I still don't know what to do but the good thing is there is a long weekend next month and I plan to use it so that will make 3 times :)


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