Monday 23rd September 2019

Women Of Courage Series. #12 Megan Daley. 84/2019.

Women Of Courage Series. #12 Megan Daley. 84/2019.

Some stories here need a trigger warning: this one is for: sudden death.

 

Women of Courage is a series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Welcome to Megan’s story.  She is 43. I have connected with Megan via social media initially through her #childrensbooksdaily and being both a teacher AND librarian I knew she was someone I would like to meet. Whilst we have not yet done that, her story is one that is such a BIG hug would be in order if we did meet but I hear Megan may not be a hugger. 

Here’s her story.

  

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

Those of you who know my blog and website Children’s Books Daily will be well aware that I have experienced overwhelming grief. My brother, my favourite aunt and my beloved husband all died in the space of a few short years, all very unexpectedly, and a number of very dear friends also died in this same period. I feel like my family have been utterly battered by life and death over the last few years and sometimes we do not know which way is up and which way is down. In the very early days of grief if took courage to merely face each day…and not consume all of the chocolate and carbs in the world. Having just passed the second anniversary of my husbands death, courage now looks different. Now it takes courage (and oh so much emotional and physical energy) to solo parent our beautiful daughters and to accept help in doing this and it also takes courage to walk my own path without Dan by my side – in my career and in my personal life.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

The biggest change that I have had to make is to learn to accept help. I grew up with a beautiful community of family friends and we all helped each other and worked tirelessly in the community (technically I watched my parents and their friends work tirelessly in the community  – #samesame). As a young adult I threw myself into volunteer work in the children’s literature community and I’ve always baked for friends or causes in the community such as ‘Baked Relief’ and been ‘that parent’ who ends up on the committees at kindy and school. I absolutely love being with others and being the one to ‘do’. But grief and the realities of solo parenting – the lack of second income and the relentless nature of parenting (I adore parenting but let’s face it, it can be relentless at times!) have meant I have had to accept help, something I have struggled with and continue to wrestle with. I have lost so much sleep over having to accept help – it turns my brain inside out and to mush like nothing else – and I still often just say ‘thank you so much but I’m okay, I’ve got it!’ rather than ‘actually you know what? That would be just so wonderful right now’.

The girls and I have been surrounded by love, care and immense kindness since Dan’s death but, as it should, life does need to return to normal for all involved. There are a few key friends, neighbours and family members who have absolutely not stopped TELLING ME that they are going to do A, B and C for me and they will not take no for an answer – I cannot believe the love they have shown us (without hugging me – I really don’t like hugs). I am really well supported, and yet, some days (many days) life is still incredibly overwhelming. I continue to think that ‘soon I’ll have it together’ and yet I still seem to need so much help just to keep our family unit going. It’s taken courage to accept help…and ‘asking for help’ is a work in progress!

One of changes I did not expect was just how motivated I would be about ensuring that the girls and I still have a great life. Dan’s death and the death of my brother, aunt and close friends has been life altering but I am determined that my grief (which is ever present and will be with me always) will not define me, my children or my family. I just said to my mother last weekend at a family lunch that I am so proud of our extended family. Despite all the loss and sadness we have experienced, we still laugh a lot, are incredibly close and genuinely enjoy each others company. We know that even though we may disagree (even fight – siblings never really grow up!), we are all deeply loved. I am also really fortunate to have good friends. I am very comfortable with being single and enjoying the company of my friends and, in many cases, my relationships with my friends are far richer and deeper.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

This is such a hard question to answer as each persons journey is unique to them. A dear friend lost her husband (a great mate of Dan’s) a year after I lost Dan and I remember feeling at a complete loss as to how to help her and what to say to her. I don’t feel courageous at all. I feel like all I do is put one foot in front of the other, and yet I have become aware that other people use words like ‘resilient’ and ‘courageous’ about me. I feel like I have to summon courage but I don’t feel like I am courageous. I do however, feel like I’ve picked up some ‘Helpful Tips and Tricks for Surviving Grief’ (tips for baking the perfect sponge cake would have been better) and as a teacher librarian, I have spent my career curating information for others, which I think is part of the reason I have blogged about grief so often. I did a post recently about ‘what I have learnt’ and I hope that this is something I can use in the future when people ask me ‘how do I cope with such loss’. You can find it here https://childrensbooksdaily.com/two-years-is-such-a-very-short-time/

 

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Another hard question! You do not know what you can face until you face it. When my brother died I felt that this would be the very worst time I would ever experience…fast forward to two more family deaths and I know now that courage just takes over your being and pulls you through the hottest of flames. Courage for the big things in life is not really something I want to draw upon anytime soon; quite frankly, I worry my lifetime quota of courage may be running low! I would like to now live a really non-eventful life and I would dearly love to know what it is like to feel bored, even just for a short time. I hope to feel courage in the everyday things – like trying something new, breaking a bad habits sampling a new reading genre or learning how one parents tweens and teens (oh my glory).

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

I’m not going to tell you to ‘take care of yourself’ or ‘find time for you’ because I’ve wanted the punch in the noses of people who have said this to me. My message is a little more realistic, in my mind anyway!

As much as possible, steer your own path and be in control of decision making and navigating the journey from tough times to ‘being okay’ times. Sometimes life takes over and all you can do is carefully and consciously walk the tightrope through the darkness. But I promise you, that in darkness there are always moments of light – even if they only start out as tiny pinpricks of light.

 

Thank you Megan. I am in awe of your strength to carry on even though I know many times, that IS the last thing you want to do.

Denyse.

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

 

 

 

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Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

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Comments

  1. What strength Megan has shown and oh my how do you just keep going after all these knocks. I am in awe too at Megan’s courageousness and honesty in telling her story. Thank you both for sharing this truly courageous woman. Hugs xx #mlstl

    • Megan was one of the first people I approached to share her story. I knew how busy she was ‘just’ doing all she does in her life as a now sole parent and teacher librarian with a huge role on-line and she is an author.

      Megan took the chance to share straight away and now, from the messages I have had from her during the day, know how pleased she is that she did share.

      So many of us have stories. Of all kinds. Having a way to share with others is why I like blogging so much.

      Thank you Deb for visiting and commenting!

      Denyse x

    • Thanks so much for your comment Debbie! X

  2. Thank you for sharing . It was insightful and I’m inspired by your honesty and truths.

  3. Megan your courage is immense. I can’t even begin to imagine losing my husband – and then to add in other loved family members and friends would be beyond heartbreaking. To have to continue to parent and support your girls as well is another layer of grace and courage. I wish you all the very best as you continue to navigate through all that life has dealt you, and I hope that lots more light appears in your darkness in the months and years ahead.

    Denyse thanks for sharing Megan’s story with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • I knew when I asked Megan to consider sharing her story it would be hard to write and for others to read but it is all part of life…’her’ life in particular and so important we do share.

      Thanks for your lovely words Leanne.

      Denyse x

  4. Dorothy Allison says:

    Megan thank you for the raw honest words about your overwhelming grief – courage is what others see in you, that capacity to put one foot in front of the other. Thank you again.

  5. Megan you are such a strong and beautiful woman and thank you for sharing your personal story. Thanks Denyse for sharing such courageous women with us who inspire us to be better. Great to have you at #MLSTL and have a beautiful week. x

    • Megan is a wonderful woman…and I admire her greatly for her courage – even though we often do not feel or see our own.

      Thank you Sue.

      Denyse x

  6. Such an honest and raw story – thank you for sharing it. It’s so tough to know what to say in the face of another’s grief and how to act and your story is a reminder that there is no one right way – just as there’s no one right way to get through it. Pinpricks of light.

    • It sure is hard. I will never forget reading Megan’s first posts about losing Dan. It just felt really tough and so unfair. Yet it happened.

      She tells a powerful story and I feel somewhat ‘protective’ of her even though we have never met. She is a very strong woman who is not always feeling it.

      Thanks Jo.

      Denyse x

  7. Thank you Denyse for inviting Megan to participate in this series. I do know her (she doesn’t know me) and follow her on Instagram. Megan I remember I first became aware of you via your friendship with Eden Riley and you both coming together over the grief of losing your brothers. When I read that you had lost your husband, my heart broke for you. I was not aware of all the other losses you had also endured. I hope and pray and cross all my fingers and toes that your life gets more boring now and you can use your courage for other things like trying new things and stuff like you mentioned. I’m so glad you have such wonderfullly supportive family and friends. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. #TeamLovinLife

    • So interesting isn’t it when we “know” the back stores from social media. Yes, I too connected via Eden as well.

      Life just throws some very rotten challenges along its path and Megan seemed to have been given far too many.

      Thank you for your kind words, I know Megan will read them and be comforted.

      Denyse x

  8. Ladies this is a beautiful post and is well worth sharing with those we know are struggling. The courage you both display everyday is amazing – sending virtual hugs to both Megan and you Denyse!!

    • Thank you Sally for coming over here to read and comment. Sharing our stories is so important isn’t it?
      Megan is an amazing human being.

      Denyse x

  9. Oh courage IS the ability to put one foot after the other and just do the normal things after the hard things. Such beautiful advice at the end Megan, I have taken much comfort from it x #openslather

  10. “Sometimes life takes over and all you can do is carefully and consciously walk the tightrope through the darkness.” Such raw honesty and strength in every word. Thank you so much for sharing insights into your world. I’m touched so deeply.

    Much love, Sandra

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