Thursday, June 25, 2020

Gotta have Hope

In the middle of writing my "School Bells" post last night, I found out that Greg Hope passed away, so the post quickly devolved into chaos. It's fine.

Greg Hope is my dad's cousin's husband, which sounds like a rather distant relation, but he's is an emotionally close relative. My dad's immediate family isn't at all tight-knit, at least not with us. His brothers tormented him when he was younger and he simply didn't end up great friends with any of them in adulthood. My aunt lives in Washington State and we used to visit with her family when we lived in British Columbia, but I haven't really spent time with anyone from her family since I was 8 or 9. My uncles all live in Utah. Some uncles have walked a path riddled with addiction and difficulty and simply live a lifestyle that is so, so foreign from my own. Others are fine people, good people. Still, if I was walking down the street and one of my uncles was walking towards me, I honestly couldn't say that any of them would recognize me. And on the off chance that they did recognize me, there is no way they would be able to guess my name. I mean, I would be shocked if they both recognized me and had my name pop into their head. It would just...like...

We're not close, is what I'm saying.

The Hopes though? They're different. They're family



We had them over for dinner shortly after we moved to Utah. Their youngest, Marisa, is right around Josie's age and those two hit it off immediately. They became such good friends. Their boys were right around Patrick's age (perhaps a bit older and a bit younger) and they also hit things off well. So our families grew to be pretty close. There were many play dates, many sleepovers, many dinners. It was wonderful to get to know someone from my dad's side of the family. 

If I am walking down the sidewalk and am spotted by the Hopes, they call out to me. I know because this has happened! Usually on BYU campus. But still. It's happened. 

Jolene will want a hug, she will want to know how things are going, she is always current on what's going on in my life and asks me about my children (by name) and what they're doing. 

Jolene and Greg are the kind of people who show up for things (and we've similarly shown up for them and their kids; the last time I saw Jolene and Greg was at Jolene's mom's birthday party last summer, just before we moved, and then there was that one time I went to Jordan's percussion recital with baby Alexander in tow and I had to leave because Alexander was so excited by the music that his breathing got all wild and honky (thanks, laryngomalacia) and I was afraid he would ruin the experience for the audience). 

Anyway, Greg got sick toward the end of May so he went in for an appointment to be tested for COVID-19 because his symptoms were such that they thought he could have it (he was so exhausted). Instead they walked away with a diagnosis of acute myelomonocytic leukemia. He immediately started treatments and finished up his first round of chemotherapy just recently. 

His children made a wonderful Father's Day video for him where they revealed they had all shaved their heads for him because his hair had fallen out so severely that he'd decided to go bald (a few years ago the boys began a tradition of all growing mustaches around Father's Day to match (or rival) Greg's mustache). Even Missy shaved her head (which was revealed at the very end of the video). Some of them had on shirts that said, "You gotta have HOPE." It was so cute; they're such a fun family. 

Unfortunately, Jolene reported yesterday that he developed "an infection/blot clots/bleeding in his lungs which required him to be put on a ventilator. He then suffered what they believe may have been a stroke on Tues[day] morning. The CT scan showed several lesions on his brain and he lost any movement in his right side. They transferred him to IMC to the Neurological Critical Care unit to run more tests. Today his kidneys and liver stopped functioning properly." And around 6:00 in the evening he passed away, very thankfully with his family gathered around him (they hadn't previously been able to visit due to COVID restrictions, but since Greg didn't have the virus I guess they decided they could relax the rules a little).

Anyway, I'm a little bit sad today. I'm sad the world has lost such a good, good person. I'm sad his children have to lose their dad. I'm sad Jolene has lost her best friend. It's just a really hard thing. 

2 comments:

  1. Hugs! I'm sorry about the loss of this good man!

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  2. I am a little bit sad today, too. My eyes keep leaking. What is that? What a blessing the Hope family were to us!! I love them, too.

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