Maintaining hope

Do remember they can’t cancel the Spring by David Hockney 2020

In April 2020 at the beginning of the Pandemic, I wrote about hope, imagining that by the end of 2020 we might be stepping into the light at the end of the tunnel. 

It’s only day 18 of a new year but the need for maintaining hope and positivity feels even more important.

The days are slowly lengthening, in my garden shoots and buds are emerging and Spring is gradually unfurling.  

Last year I shared David Hockey’s iPad drawing, here it is again, to remind us of the importance of connecting with nature, and recognising the hope that Spring represents for the world.

Van Gogh said, “Don’t just look at the Spring, touch it, taste it. Get it inside you.” We should do this again – feel and experience the change of seasons from winter to spring; on a daily walk, at home, through the window, on a phone or computer, and through art.

‘Hope’ can be experienced by looking at a picture, listening to music or by reading a poem. I’ve just listened to Gaylene Gould, Cultural Ambassador for London, talk on Radio 4 about how we respond to art. On many occasions when we look at a picture, hear music or read a poem a physiological response is provoked in our bodies, we experience this as an emotion, we may feel sad, elated, calm, or full of hope. It is this response that causes us to say we have connected with art. This amazing physiological response to art is one of the reasons why art and culture play such an important role in our lives.

The connections we make with patients are part of the therapeutic healing process, helping the patient to feel cared for, and their carers valued.

I hope this poem by Eilidh Urquhart reminds you of the importance of connecting with patients. Maybe it will encourage you to buy the beautiful anthology of poems in which it is published, and read more.


Tears, yours or mine?
I don’t know.
Both of us trying to survive the hospital stay.
Patiently you endure this struggle.

Sleepless nights, fraught with pain,
tinged with hope of recovery.
I fumble seeking for a vein.
Day in day out, nothing seems to change.
Stethoscope hangs limp around my neck,
helpless; but a weight of responsibility.
Doctor and patient, recent comrades,
bound by a hope of a brighter future.
The two of us in the fight for your life.

This poem is published in the anthology ‘These are the Hands’. I hope Eilidh is happy for me to reproduce it here for you to read.

Taking each day minute by minute, hour by hour can stop you feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges and the number and enormity of daily tasks. 

In 2020 the focus was on the light and hope at the end of the tunnel, now it’s even more important to take action to ensure the tunnel is lit and feels a safe place to be while we move towards the light.

Click here for more thoughts about how to maintain health and wellbeing