When we were told our then-16 week old son had a degenerative brain disorder and was likely to die soon I understood what we were being told, but I couldn’t, wouldn’t quite believe it.
Medical science isn’t infallible, there’s always the possibility of miracles . . . in spite of the fact I knew neither of those were possible this time, I still clung to a tiny bit of hope.
Four weeks later when the doctor told me he had died, my first response was to say “pardon?”
It wasn’t that I didn’t hear him or understand, Tom was in my arms and I could see he wasn’t breathing. I knew in my head that he’d gone, but my heart wouldn’t quite accept it.
That’s hope in the face of hopelessness and it’s not unusual.
Perhaps that’s how the families and friends of the men trapped in the Pike River mine feel. As every day goes past with nothing heard from deep inside the mine the outlook gets bleaker, but still they hope.
The video of the blast showed the severity of the explosion, but still, no-one wants to give up and say it’s a matter of recovery rather than rescue.
Yesterday the tone at the media conferences was more subdued, but still the mine management and rescue teams are trying to do everything possible, just in case.
And still, no matter how grim the outlook, unless there is evidence that it’s absolutely hopeless, people will continue to hope.
How long do you hope?
As long as you can.