Sunday, August 12, 2012

Holding on to Hope

A few months ago, I received a catalog in the mail from a popular clothing company.  Splashed among the first few pages, I found an array of photos showing off their new line of pretty summer dresses. And I suddenly realized that it's been 12 years since I wore a dress.  Such a simple thing, and yet, as silly as it may sound, the thought nearly brought a tear to my eye.  

While I do miss wearing something so bright and feminine, it was what the dresses represented that evoked in me such longing:  the promise of warmer weather ahead, of being outdoors, experiencing adventure, attending social gatherings, taking leisurely strolls and feeling soft breezes or hot sun on your skin. I want to be out in the world, free of all barriers, living life. 

As I continued to flip through the catalog, I saw photos of women modeling various styles of bathing suits as they walked along the shore or lounged in a beach chair to soak up the sun.  And I thought about how it’s been 15 years since I’ve seen the sea.  It’s been 15 years since I smelled salty ocean air or felt hot, sunburned sand on my feet.  To me, there are few things more stunning to behold than a sea-side sunset, nor more soothing to the mind than the sound of ocean waves as they reach for the shore.  

But it was what I saw next that produced in me the most longing.   Further into the catalog, there was a photo of a couple holding the hand of a child in an obvious attempt to portray a family.  And it is that -- a family of my own-- for which I've yearned most in life.  It is a desire so profound that it feels as though it is an integral part of who I am.

And yet, I am reminded that I just recently turned 40.  I turned 40 before I ever had the chance to be 30.  I was young when I got sick.  I am now middle-aged.

As this milestone birthday has come and gone, I realize I may soon need to begin slowly letting go of some of my dreams.  Because no matter how desperately I want it, I am now at an age where I am getting too old to still be considering a future that includes children of my own.

The problem is that I'm not ready to let go. Not yet.  I still want that family.  I still want that leisurely stroll along the beach in my pretty new summer dress.

 For now, I wait. I continue my search for answers. I persevere. And I hold on to hope.

Photo courtesy of
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  1. Sending gentle hugs to you today. Your strength and courage are amazing. I hope for you the fulfillment of all your hopes and dreams.

  2. Giving up dreams is so hard.... hope fades away after many years of illness. What a tough life we lead sometimes. But you will find the strength, new inspiration, and new hope to go on. I wish I could come over, hold your hand and have a chat. You seem such a lovely person. Take care and stay strong!

  3. Hey Laurel :-)

    This was an emotional post to read, and I genuinely felt your sadness, and strong compassion for you both at once. I don't really know what to say... It SUCKS so badly...............

    I hope so very very much that you get to realize some of your dreams! I REALLY do! You deserve it so much.

    I shall be thinking of you and sending lots of hope and wishes your way. xxx :-)

  4. There isn't much I can say here, except <3 Sending you lots of love.

  5. thinking of you & sending warm wishes your way!

  6. Don't let go of all those dreams just yet? You deserve them all and so many more.


  7. Oh yes, tears in my eyes as I read this...another dream I too have be letting go of this long long year. I just turned 42, lost most of my 30s to this stupid disease. I always thought even single I would adopt, but I need help looking after the dog....haven't been well enough to go on a date...maybe make a meal out once a year.

    I'm trying to find ways to "be OK" with not having children but it has been the biggest one to loose I think.

    I hope you improve enough to at least enjoy some of the things you mention though - like seeing the sea.

    I was lucky enough to have the help to get camping this month after being mostly housebound for a year... I am already paying for it but it was such a joy. The simple pleasure of feeling the sun on my skin, the wind, watching the waves and looking at beautiful rocks. I so hope something similar can happen for you again.

    You have a friend here that feels similar losses and is wishing and sending all the most positive thoughts I can for some improvement for you.

  8. Hey laurel, very emotional to read & like you & others here I share the same thoughts re children. I try to push it away to the back of my mind but that loss is much more profound come birthday time, turned 37 in july. Getting sick at 29 it never worried me then as I had no idea that here at 37 I'd still be sick. It's probably just as well. But I am also still holding onto hope & am glad that you are too. You keep holding on & don't let go. Look at our friend gw & shows that miracles do happen! Thinking of you xxx

  9. Sweetheart, I don't think you should ever let your dreams go. Hold tight. Love, hugs, prayers, and best of wishes are sent your way.

  10. You have such a gift of being able to communicate some of the deeper levels of what is involved in living with a complex chronic disease. You soul shines through it all.

    All the recent research - Simarron and Peterson, the CFS initiative, Bond Uni, Newton, Kogelnik and his OMI-MERIT collaboration to fast-track biomarkers and treatment, Montoya, Chia..... I am more hopeful now than I have been in years. I hope you are feeling some of it too. When we get better it will take awhile to get used to the new world - to see how it and we have changed over the decades - and to start to get a feel w=for what will then be possible.

    And I hope that you are doing okay these days. I miss you on your facebook page.

  11. I just found this post. Yes, keep your dreams. Your writing always lifts me up. Thank you again and gentle hugs to you.

  12. Laurel, you articulate so well what it's like, what you have lost, what you long for. I often direct people to your video for a better understanding. Keep writing.


  13. Hi Laurel,
    The hardest part of life is indeed letting go of our dreams. If you're not ready to let go, then don't. When you're ready, and IF you have to, you will let go. In the meantime, hold on to your dream sweetie!

  14. I have no idea how many followers you have (meant to have fewer than 200), but I love your blog and find it incredibly inspirational, so I nominated you for a Liebster Award.


    My questions:

  15. Three weeks ago I bought my first pair of high heals in 6 years...i don't wear them often or for long periods of time...but i know what you mean...just even the desire to look at them brought me hope...sending you hope for a cure. xo heather

  16. Hello, Laurel. I got sick in 1987 and have spent more years in bed that I care to count. If there is one thing I've learned, it's never look back. Even after many years of illness, the body can heal itself. (Mine has done it twice.)There is always hope.