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Maybe it’s corny to some, but this one word is absolutely critical for overcoming: Hope.

Overcoming anything, whether it’s surviving an alleged terrorist’s bomb or losing a job — we all need hope.

I’ve had 10 years to think about this, after the bomb.

It began with seeing my sister’s face, then my brother’s, beside my bed when I came out of a coma.

I was so loaded with pain meds, I didn’t stay conscious for long, but I was vaguely aware that I was in hospital, and it had something to do with the military. (After life-saving surgery by American trauma surgeons from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan to Turkey, military surgeons at the remarkable Landsthul Medical Center operated some more to keep me stable enough to be flown home.)

Just waking up was a relief.  But seeing my siblings’ faces was so reassuring, I will never forget the hope that filled my soul.

Sister: check. She’s 18 months younger than me, and we have always flown wherever the other needed whenever she needed it. These flights have taken us across borders, through years of happiness and hurt, so it made sense that she would be there.

Brother: check. He’s a veteran, Canadian Princess Pats. He wasn’t in uniform, but as the eldest son in our family, it made some vague sense everyone would have wanted him at my side.

Post-coma, I didn’t remember what had happened. I didn’t know the day or the year or, frankly, much at all — except that I couldn’t move. This helps explain my next reaction.

“Hadi! “What are you doing here?”

The family still laughs that I was so out of it I didn’t remember Hadi had not left my side through the whole ordeal – except when I was on an operating table in some country we had never visited before. (Uzbekistan?)

Hadi explained. My sister and brother explained. Or at least as much as they could squeeze in before I was taken away for treatment again.

I can not describe how this one moment in life filled with me such hope and love, that I knew, I just knew, that whatever life delivered next would be fine.  (Really — it had to be better than being bombed.)

I was so filled with gratitude — it might have been the meds — that hope transcended every fear or anxiety I had about how my body and, indeed, most of my life, had changed in an instant.

Even when I lost the career I had long believed was all I ever wanted to do, I had hope. I went back to school to become a rehabilitation counselor, so that I could give back to the same military that had saved my life.

Even when … and this is difficult to admit … I believed I would never write again.

And so I found myself researching hope for a Masters of Science degree.  Think about that: hope + science.

Clinical studies show that hope helps many people overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable to others; it helps some terminal patients recover and live longer.

It’s not only faith or spirituality, however anyone defines this. It’s something far more primal that I believe proves we are human.

More lessons, 10 years later, with photos.

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