Last year I celebrated my 70th birthday. I am not quite the same person I was over 10 years ago. Sadness, loss, pain, and the wisdom I gained have changed and shaped me in unexpected and different ways than I ever expected. Ways that have made me appreciate myself and my own strengths. I am intelligent, intuitive, wise, loving and a good woman, mother, grandmother, and friend.
My husband had had complications for many years from uncontrolled diabetes causing first mini-strokes, a large stroke (which he recovered from), and finally heart failure. After his death my brother helped me make my home truly mine. He moved things where I wanted them and made each room distinctly mine. Over three to four years I started selling or donating my husband’s laser discs, beta tapes, and boxes and boxes of books on every topic imaginable. My oldest son helped me clear a spot in our, (NO!) MY garage, so I could park my Beetle inside for the first time in 7 years! WOW!
It seemed that as I reclaimed my home, I reclaimed more of myself. I was making decisions with much less fear of making mistakes or throwing myself into some terrible situation. I did not have the anxiety, fearing the mistakes I might make. I was smarter than I had thought I was!
One day while driving home through the town I lived in, I wasn’t paying attention and was caught speeding unintentionally. A policeman pulled me over; I apologized and told him I had never had a speeding ticket before. He came back from checking and confirmed my statement. I knew he had to give me a ticket. As I pulled away I reallized I didn’t need to be anxious about telling my husband about getting a ticket. I laughed with relief!
The next fall after his death I was diagnosed with two bulging discs in my lower back and was given orders not to lift over 20 pounds. When I gave the restrictions to my employer, I was told that I could not work in the hospital safely. So I was placed on Long Term Disability for two years, which my husband had recommended that I subscribe to just a year before his death. I am grateful to him for his suggestion.
I continued to be as active as I could be and finally my back stabilized enough to where I volunteered at the local Chamber of Commerce. I decided to start a photography business which would bring in a little extra money. I could work at my own pace and not have to lift anything but my camera and bag. I had many great experiences and I learned a lot about people and myself.
After two years the long term disability was over; I was released as an employee from the hospital where I had worked. While knowing this would happen I had prepared and worked at little jobs I could do with out hurting my back; our local newspaper as a photojournalist; answering phones for a small business sometimes; and my own photography business. With this and my retirement, sick time and vacation time I had enough to retire on plus money from my husband’s estate.
In 2014 I sold my house since I was unable to take care of the yard and did not need a three bedroom house. I bought a condominium in a protected building. I am living my life the way I want to; with peace and love!!
I shared this on Facebook from a CBS Sunday Morning Show.
“Woman attacked by a shark, lost use of her right arm, woman, abused by mother horribly, how did they survive? The qualities that help people survive are a support system, and a positive attitude. When the woman who survived the shark attack was asked if she would erase that event from her life, she said, “No, I realized I am who I am regardless of what happens to my body.”
Positivity helps us survive and accept events in our lives that we can’t change. Hmm, ever think the Prayer of Serenity may have psychological ramifications? The Prayer of Serenity is used by the Christian church and various organizations to help people cope with addictions and other traumas from their lives.
“God grant me the serentiy, to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can change. And the wisdom to know the difference.”
But the truth is I am still learning, growing, developing, and seeing myself more as a stronger woman than I ever believed I could become. I am who I am because of my family, my friends, and my God. I am thankful for each one of them.