The most important word in the English language is hope. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Recently I spoke to a couple of mothers whose adult children were diagnosed with hepatitis C. There is no pain like mother-pain, that sharp, visceral ache that reaches back to childbirth and seems as raw as labor. I know it is irrational on my part to suggest a more fearless approach to these mothers. I can recite statistics, and reassure until the cows come home, but recommending a calmer, more detached approach to a mother with an hepatitis C-positive child, is about as helpful as a parachute instructor telling his pupil not to scream when jumping out of an airplane.

That is, until I heard about Gloria Giffords, the mother of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Upon hearing that that her daughter was shot, Gloria Giffords chose courage rather than fear. She stayed at her daughter’s bedside, not to hover, but to encourage. She sang, prayed, laughed, and urged Gabby on. Gloria Giffords lived in the power of the present, under the veil of authentic hope.

When I speak to mothers about their hepatitis C-positive children, I know that I am not in their shoes. If given the choice between having hepatitis C and having a child with it, I would choose the situation I am in. However, if I had to face what these moms do, I hope I would do it bravely, with humor, and with faith.