Discovering Resilience in the Midst of Adversity
Have you ever felt like you don't have the strength to overcome the challenges life has thrown your way? I know a lot of us have felt this way this past year as COVID has turned many of our worlds upside down. This year brought some additional challenges that tested my resolve but I was reminded that adversity doesn't have to break us.
When I developed Georgette's Coping Cards several years ago I had no idea what lie ahead of me. In the years 2020 and 2021 I came to recognize the value of reframing negative thoughts in a way I never had before.
Several years ago my husband Bob and I made a life changing decision to make Cambria our permanent home. We were lifelong residents of Fresno, California and leaving our history, friends and family was a major turn off our familiar path. Cambria was our second home for many years and over time it became harder and harder to leave the fresh ocean air and the serenity of the forest.
It didn't take long for us to adjust to our new surroundings. Santa Rosa Catholic Church provided spiritual nourishment and walks along the ocean put new energy into our steps. Bob became an avid pickleball player and made good friends on and off the courts. Coffee after pickleball became a frequent social delight. I started volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce and found it rewarding to greet people from all over the world.
Then one day on one of our walks Bob became very short of breath. A visit to ER and follow ups to our doctor lead to a diagnosis of Pulmonary Lung Fibrosis and Pulmonary Lung Hypertension. At first he used oxygen only at night, and then a portable oxygen unit when he took walks, and eventually he was on oxygen day and night. The COVID pandemic had been an unwelcome veil around us and now even more challenging times lie before us. And day and night I became his caretaker, monitoring his blood pressure, blood sugar and oxygen levels. He was a brave soldier and so I had to wear the brave uniform also. Brief walks in our neighborhood kept me afloat. God's gift of nature was my medicine. When my thoughts turned dark I tried to reframe them with hope and gratitude.
One day I came across this tree branch that had taken a sharp U-turn but was unbroken. I stood in awe of that tree, wondering how it could make such a sharp curve and remain intact. And then I thought about our life this past year, marching through a diagnosis that was relentless. We felt loss, fear, sadness and yet we were not broken. We were in a sea of grief and yet phone calls from family and friends, meals and grocery deliveries, unexpected gifts at our door provided a life raft, an anchor that steadied our storm.
On May 9 of this year Bob succumbed to Pulmonary Lung Fibrosis. He made me laugh and he gave our grandsons a heartfelt message of how to live their best lives. His life lessons and his spirit continue on.