"Stay strong". It's the words we say when we know someone is suffering through an especially difficult time in their lives. When we know no other words will do "Stay strong" seems like a pretty safe alternative to all the stupid, fumbling, things that could pop out of our mouths at any given, panic stricken moment. I say panic stricken because when people hear others stories of difficult adversity the need to say something, anything, is overwhelming, and sometimes what we hear ourselves say is ridiculous. Some people never know that what they just said was completely insensitive, and others realize it the minute it pops out of their mouths; and then the blushing and fumbling just becomes more evident and uncomfortable for both parties.
I admit that I've done it to people. Said something because I felt it was expected and knew the moment it popped out of my mouth it was the wrong thing to say. And recently I've had it happen to me. While telling Puck's story I have had the typical responses of "he'll be fine, don't worry" to things like "it could be worse". But the most generic response seems to be "stay strong". So I started to think about that phrase...that "advice" if you will. And as much as I understand it's intent it just seems kinda...obvious.
What else am I supposed to do? Collapsing into a puddle of tears, while rocking in a fetal position and screaming why at my ceiling isn't truly a viable alternative. This journey isn't about "staying strong", it's about finding hope. It's hope that keeps me going from day to day. It's hope that gets me through to the next hour. My strength hasn't got a damn thing to do with it. I'm no stronger than any other mother in this type of situation. I do what I have to do because I HAVE to do it. But my "apparent strength" through the tough times is truly born from hope, not from experience, and not from sheer will. I have hope. And through the survival of this hope, I have found my own survival, and I will find the strength so many people say I should keep.
"Stay strong" should be amended to "Keep hope". And I will. I am.