Commentary: A veteran’s wife renews my ‘hope’

John DeMello, Southington Veterans Committee
John DeMello, Southington Veterans Committee
Phone: (860) 276-6299

“Hope”and “wish” are two similar words with a difference, but very similar meanings. We use them to express our desire for something different from how it is now. “Hope” mainly expresses a desire for what is possible or likely to happen. “Wish” usually expresses a desire that is impossible or unlikely.

We all make wishes for amazing things to happen in our lives, but “hope” is the incredible word. It has so much more meaning. For without hope, what does one have?

I recently had the wife of a deceased veteran come into the office. I spoke to her in the past over the telephone, but seeing her in person showed me an amazing individual with hope, not wishes.

She stated she has a hard time hearing on the telephone and wanted to talk to me in person. You see, this amazing lady has cancer and had to overcome personal downfalls in her life, but she showed me what hope was all about. She spoke about her husband, how things changed for her after his death, and how she had to remortgage her home to pay for his funeral.

She was concerned with some upkeep issues with her home because her husband was her life, and he did everything.

I explained that there are resources out there for veterans in need. I indicated that I am not sure what is available for her particular situation. She looked at me and stated, “I just wanted to talk to you anyways.”

When she looked at me, I could see the pain of her cancer treatments, and I felt terrible and helpless. She just smiled.

With hope in my heart that we might be able to obtain assistance I said, “I will come and see what your home needs.” She smiled again, gave me a hug, and left the office.

As I sat there, I thought about the battle she was fighting, and I hoped that we could help. Later in the day, I went to her home. The first thing I noted was the American flag flying on the flag pole—a flag that her husband so proudly put up as a symbol of the freedom he fought for. Now he is gone, but she carries on the tradition.

Upon entering her home, her smile lit up the living room. She immediately put a knitted hat on her head because the cancer treatments caused her to lose her hair.

She immediately got up from her living room chair to show me the exterior of her home that needs some tender loving care. She pointed out various concerns. As we walked around she continued to smile, and I knew she did not “wish” her home would be improved or that her cancer would go into remission. She “hoped” that everything will work out.

Before I departed, she asked for a hug. She said, “I love you.”

I said, “I love you, too, and I will get a phone for you, so that you can text because of your hearing loss.” Finally, I said, “We will be talking soon.” And I left.

I could feel hope in my heart. We can accomplish this mission.

John DeMello is a member of the Southington Veterans Committee. The committee can be reached at Town Hall, 75 Main St., by phone at (860) 276-6299, or by email at