Survival Vs.Resilience

*This is one of the many blog posts I wrote but did not publish over the past years. There has been a lot, and I will share much in time, and I have a book in me screaming to be written. About the past, the present, the future. I hope I can find the strength and way to share those words with you someday. For now, I read this, and something told me to share this... now. 

I was going to write a post about what is happening now, and I will. There is much to share, much to say. 

But for now, for today.... 

There is this.

Please note, It's not been edited.*

Survival Vs. Resilience....

Doesn't always roar. Sometimes, courage is just opening your eyes each morning. 

I've been dealing with a lot of neurological issues. Tremors, memory problems. I am on a lot of different medications, I've been in a terrible flare up, and I have 80 different things on the go. My specialists have been working with me, and aside from the inflammatory bowel disease which is still out of control they believe I have a secondary autoimmune issue such as lupus, and also, Sjogrens, which is a wonderful thing where your immune system attacks your glands and stops your ability to make saliva and tears.

But through the past couple of weeks of hospital visits, various tests, and driving 6 hrs at a time to see specialists... It dawned on me one night, have I even stopped to allow myself the time to accept the amount of stress I am under? My Doctors are all fully aware. I mean I am aware of the stress, but I have to stay alive, stay functioning, and I don't give myself credit for the size of the mountain I am climbing.

In the past year, 6 months, I have completely lost my health. Almost died. Lost my husband traumatically and suddenly, had to rehome my animals, have been in complete financial jeopardy, and will be needing to move from my home.

Because I internalize stress, I'm doing a lot of harm to my already sick and overloaded body. My immune system has been going insane, attacking me. My joints have swollen, the inflammation inside of my body is active, my eyes swelled shut, my neck doubled in size and I couldn't swallow. These are some fun things caused by a mixture of medications, autoimmune diseases flaring, but also.


A lot of people say to me when they don't even know the half of it... "I wouldn't even be able to get out of bed."

A lot of days I can't because I'm sick. But even some times I am amazed at my resilience. I don't say this to pat myself on my back. I say this because I am getting out of bed, and mentally although I wish every single day this was not happening to me, I am working through it and I remain hopeful somehow.

I say this because it's a great reminder that our spirits and hearts are stronger and more resilient than we ever expect them to be.

I stood in the sun porch amidst the debris of the fall. The air was warm on my skin, and I could hear the Red Winged Blackbirds singing, the ducks calling in the pond. When I had help here in the fall, in the rush of grief and trying to be helpful while I had people here to do it, all of my summer porch things got pushed inside the sun room, along with other things that were just in the way in the house. It's kind of a jumble around me now. 

But I turn my back to it and look at the pond. I see movement by the edge of it, along the yard. It's a Muskrat. 


I named all the animals around the house, Marvin the Muskrat. Bob the beaver. Greg the Groundhog. Chester the chipmunk. Kevin took to calling all of these animals by those names, so if he saw a Muskrat he'd say "there's a Marvin." The Muskrat is working on his house, bringing in weeds and spring cleaning, which is exactly what I have the urge to do in this warm weather. 

But instead, I find myself crying. It's surreal to be standing in this spot, in my home, looking at the pond, at Marvin... alone. I never once imagined myself having the occasion to do so and for that I am grateful, because it's awful. The pain is one that I know only time will help ease the burden of. And I tell myself, "sit with this pain, don't just wish it away." I have been trying to be much stronger than I feel, and it's worked very well for me in some ways, but in others it's done me plenty of harm. And in a lot of ways I feel like I am just starting to grieve and that is because I have just started to allow to seep in the reality of his absence. I've had so much distraction. It's been stress and chaos and some distraction that I created purely for myself so that I would survive this long. 

Now this sadness washes over me. And I tell myself, let it. I have spent much time refusing to let myself cry, wallow, or sit with my grief. I'm too strong for that, I had too much to do. 

The real reason is I was afraid it would kill me if I let it take too much of me. But I realize now not allowing oneself to feel their emotions fully is no answer. And as painful as this grief, this feeling of loss, loneliness, emptiness, that can never, ever, be filled, is... I know I suffer this great pain because of great love. 

And even in my pain, I realize how beautiful that is. 

How fortunate I am to suffer because I loved so much, and someone loved me so much in return. 

That is a gift. 

And in my suffering I remember him. I know he doesn't want me crying, or in pain, but it cannot be helped. We live on in the memories of those who loved us - that's always our legacy. Be it our children, our friends, strangers who remember us for something we did for them, or said. We live on in a million tiny little ways.

The memories don't hurt, but the absence does. I would never have made it at all without my animals, but especially the dogs who are with me every minute of the day, who go everywhere with me, who curl up with me to sleep, and who wake me every morning. Without them I would have never gotten out of bed any morning let alone every single one. 

And life remains beautiful. Spring is beautiful. Bringing with her renewal, music, new growth.

A chance for new life.

For new love.

New dreams.

New memories.

New moments.


It finds a way. 


Jenn DeVille said…
Praying for you from a small town in Texas!
Ian H said…
Donna, this was a shock to read! I hope that you are doing a LOT better now. Just remember, you are a great person and deserve a lot better.
O'Quilts said…
OMG She is one tough cookie...I am a quilting blogger...I do not follow other blogs...but somehow I found you...a brave one from the beginning..and amazing with the animals..etc...I was there when you married and when he died. It is 2 years and 2 months since my dear man died of ALS...Just now can I see the light..It was the worst of many many other things happening at the same time.. I wanted to be strong, but knew I was weak...and then....I started to become strong again, just like you...I am so glad you are very glad. xxxooo
Dee said…
I lost my wonderful husband and best friend of 51 years June 1, 2017 very suddenly and without warning. I also have Crohns and UC and I have been trying very hard to keep a flare down. I am alone, no family here and wondering how I can go on but I will go on. I have a beautiful faithful dog that I am thankful for - she keeps me going. I think I can uderstand your pain.


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