Wednesday 13th November 2019

Women of Courage Series. #9. Min. 78/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #9. Min. 78/2019.

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 Min’s story.  She is 55. I have connected with Min via blogging and on social media. Min has been a long-time supporter of this blog and I thank her for that! Here’s her story.

 

 

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

I think there are many people who have faced far more challenging adversities in their lives than me but there have been a few occasions during my life where I have had to be courageous.  The most courageous I have ever had to be though was with the recent loss of my father and so that is what comes to mind straight away when asked on this occasion when I’ve had to be courageous.

I was with him at 1:15am on 2 December 2017 when he passed from this life to wherever it is that we go to next.  He was hospitalised for six weeks before he passed away.  In the beginning there was lots of hope that he would improve and get home again.  Then there was hope for him to stabilise and be transferred to a care facility.  Then there was the realisation that his time on earth was coming to an end and so with that came the need for me to brace and prepare myself for when that time came.

 

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

I had to face one of my lifelong fears – the death of a parent.  It has changed me immensely.  I’ve learnt how the flip side to love feels – incredibly deep and raw pain, a huge hole of loss.  I’ve felt the depth and breadth of the love I have for my Dad, and he is worth every bit of the corresponding depth and breadth of pain I feel now.  It’s brought home the fact that none of us are immune.  All of us have to face this loss one day, and none of us get out of here alive.  We all will die one day.  It’s intensified my understanding of how precious our time is and how we should be spending our lives exactly how we want to and in a way that makes us happy.  It’s highlighted what’s important in life and what is not.

 

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

I’ve learned that we are capable of more than we think we are.  I’ve always feared the loss of a parent and I never thought I would be able to cope with it or even survive it.  However, here I am – coping and surviving.  There is something within us that protects us and helps us through.  You still cry and grieve and hurt, but there is some kind of primal preservation ability within us that comes out to help us when we need it.  I can’t explain it but I can say that it surprised me, it’s real, and I welcomed it.

 

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

To be honest, I’m not sure.  I think each situation that calls for courage is a new one, with different components, and therefore a completely new experience. The difference now is that I know that there is this primal preservation ability (PPA) within us that will help us when we need it and that does provide some reassurance.

 

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

I guess I would firstly like to wrap my arms around them and let them know that I care and I wish them strength and love and support.  Then I’d like to remind them that though it might seem impossible to believe at first, and very little comfort, the truth of life is that from adversity strength is born and lessons are learned, so these hard times are in fact a part of our growth as humans, and life’s learning process.  I’d also say – just do it your way, not how you think it ‘should’ be done, and trust that you will be helped along by that PPA within you that I’ve spoken of.

 

Do add anything else that you think would help others who read your post.

I think it’s important to realise that some things that happen to us are with us for life. I lost my Dad. I don’t think I will ever ‘recover’ from that, nor will my grief ‘end’.  These things will be a part of me for the rest of my life, but as I’ve heard and read from others that have been through this, I believe that with time they will soften, becoming less of the deep wrenching pain.

I believe the most courageous thing we can do in the face of adversity (and after) is to look after ourselves.  After losing my Dad, in addition to grieving, I was actually suffering ‘shock’ and displayed many of those symptoms, particularly weakness, fatigue, and concentration & memory issues.  It’s important to realise that we’ve been through a trauma and to take care of ourselves.

“True courage is being able to smile in the face of adversity while embracing one’s own vulnerability.” ~ author unknown

 

Thank you Min for sharing your story and one that will resonate with many. Denyse.

Social Media: Follow Min here:

Blog/Website:  https://www.writeofthemiddle.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/riteofthemiddle

 Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/writeofthemiddle/

 Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/writeofthemiddle/

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.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. You’ve said this so beautifully, Min, I can almost hear you speaking it. I also like your closing statement – how the most courageous thing that you can do in times of adversity is look after yourself.

    • Thanks Jo! Yes we often forget to look after ourselves at times like this. It had been one long, stressful and traumatic time, and then there was the grief to learn to live with. The physical symptoms along with the grief meant it was necessary to be very kind and gentle with myself for a while (as was the case also for others in my family). xo

    • Love what I am learning through these posts too Jo.

      Denyse x

  2. Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of your wonderful series Denyse! xo

  3. Hi Min and Denyse, I find the Women of Courage Series very inspirational. As Min says, everyone has had occasions in life where they have required some courage. My sincere condolences to Min and your loved ones. We have just returned home from a Celebration of Life. My Husband’s sister passed away last month. It is truly a reminder of all that is important in our life. The death of a parent forever changes you. This post touched my heart, Min. Interesting observation on the “primal preservation ability.” I do believe grief will not end, just change. A beautiful, poignant post. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself:)

    • It is indeed a brave post because for many years and many people, death and grief have been hidden and now, with people like Min sharing ‘as it is’ we can continue having valuable conversations.

      Thank you Erica/Erika for your insightful words.

      Denyse x

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment Erica/Erika. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s sister. Believe it or not – I’m off to a funeral in the morning. It’s for the younger sister of my mother-in-law (deceased) – the last of that generation now gone. I agree with you that grief never ends – just changes. xo

  4. Thanks Min for sharing your story of losing your dad. I lost my father just afterwards and remember your posts and grieving and could share your feelings of shock. It amazed me at the time how our bodies react to shock and sometimes it’s not until much later. Grief never ends it just changes as you say. I feel for you and wish you well.#mlstl

    • The grief that is now talked about so much more helps us I believe in sharing the very real feelings and what occurs at the beginning, and onward.

      I am ‘glad’ these conversations and posts can be shared with frankness instead of hiding behind words that are far less meaningful.

      Thank you both.

      Denyse x

    • Hi Deb – yes I remember you lost your Dad soon after I lost mine. You knew how I was feeling as you were going through the same thing. It was a surprise to me too the shock I went into and my body’s reaction. It wasn’t until after the funeral that I was aware. Prior to that I was running on adrenalin and auto pilot in order to do what needed to be done. Thanks for your lovely comment. I hope you’re doing and I wish you well also. xo

  5. I felt like I didn’t have a story of courage to share either Min – but it’s interesting how we each face obstacles and overcome them in a way that proves we’re braver than we think. Although I’m really sad for you losing your Dad, I’m also a little bit envious that you had a Dad who you loved so much – it shows he invested in you and was a wonderful father. My dad passed a few years ago and there was no real sadness, maybe a bit of relief, but no relationship to mourn (even though he’d always been a part of my life). I’d love to have had a father/daughter relationship like you had – even if it makes their passing so much sadder xxx
    Denyse – thanks for linking this post up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Interesting words there Leanne about your father. I am not close to mine nor was I to Mum but it was still quite a blow when Mum died. Now that Dad is 95 and looking like living ‘forever’ he will be missed by me (eventually he will die) because he will be the final link to my past and family connections. I relish conversations I can still have with him but when some of his old judgy behaviours emerge, he loses me for a bit!!

      Thanks Leanne for sharing too.

      Denyse x

    • I’m so sad for you Leanne that you didn’t have a father/daughter relationship as I did. My Dad was a very quiet, gentle man. He was a wonderful loving father and I loved (still do) him very much. xo

  6. Dorothy Allison says:

    Min, your grief experience resonates with me – I still have my parents at 97 and 96. I know that I am preparing myself for that phone call that tells me of a death. The older we get, the more value our parents. Great grief is an expression of great love and in the case of a parent connectsvuscwith our origin. Thank you for sharing.
    Dorothy

    • You’re so blessed to still have your parents at 97 and 96 Dorothy! I know though that it will not make it any easier for you when they go. My Dad turned 87 when he was in the hospital. I’m thankful that I had him that long but it didn’t lessen the pain of losing him. Though it will be hard when the time comes for you, know that you will cope and you will survive. xo

    • I have “that” phone call alert too. Dad is 95 and very well but you just never know do you? Your parents are amazing!

      Denyse x

  7. I remember losing my father as one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. All four of my grandparents had died by the time I was 2, so I never had a relationship like that to lose. I was in my 30’s when my father died, had a young son who adored his grandfather too. It was incredibly hard and took me a long time to move through that pain and get to the other side. But it set me up for future losses. In the last six years, I’ve lost a brother, a sister (she was my second mother) and my mother. Each loss was difficult in its own right, but because of that first loss of my father, I think I was able to weather the next three a little bit better.

    • You’ve lost so many close to you Jennifer. It’s not easy. Losing my Dad has been the hardest thing I’ve faced in my life ever. I never met my Grandfather’s – both had passed before I was born. Both my Grandmother’s passed away when I was a teenager. I dread the losses ahead but your comment gives me hope that the loss of Dad will set me up to better manage the losses ahead. Thank you! xo

    • Oh Jennifer, that is such a tale of loss but it does seem that you have rallied each time, despite how hard that must be.

      Sending love

      Denyse

  8. Hi Min – Thank you for sharing a part of yourself. Emotional pain may be invisible to human eyes but they hurt and can lead to physical symptoms. I’m glad you recognized the need for self-care and took actions. Thanks, Denyse, for sharing Min’s poignant post.

  9. Hi Denyse I’m enjoying your Women of Courage series very much and it was lovely to see Min included. Thank you for sharing the series with us at #MLSTL I know where you are coming from Min as by the time I was 29 both of my parents had died from cancer, I’ve also lost my brother 3 years ago to cancer as well so it can be difficult to adjust to losing loved ones. I think the quote at the end is something we really need to remember especially during trying times. I’m visiting again from #lovinlifelinky

    • You certainly have had a rough hand dealt to you Sue. I cannot imagine how traumatic it must have been to lose your parents so close together and when they and you were so young. Then to lose your brother also. I’m sure these losses have changed you and helped shape you into the strong woman you are today. xo

    • Thanks so much Sue. I too am enjoying the stories and admire the women for much for sharing.

      Denyse x

  10. It’s hard to lose a parent and my dad was unwell those last few weeks (also in hospital for 6wks before he passed, well 4wks in hospital and 2wks in palliative care) so in some ways it’s a blessing for them that they’ve moved on. But knowing they’re not there anymore is quite shocking. My dad and I were also closer when I was young, but I’m lucky I’m close to mum as well and that’s increased as I’ve become older. And of course now.

    I think it will be hard when she goes as I’m no longer ‘close’ intimacy-wise with my brother, so – though I have friends – it will be like the only thing tethering me to this world has gone.

  11. I hadn’t thought about shock in connection with grief, but it makes sense.

    Currently have a 90 year old family member waiting for some heart surgery so… while it’s a common procedure and as low risk as you can get for a 90 year old and surgery, you kind of wonder how soon it’s coming.

    • It does make sense. I think too it is absorbed in our senses like any trauma and that can affect us in different ways for a very long time. I hope the family member goes well. Amazing how many people live such a long time now. My dad, 95 and has only had one illness that put him in a rehab place to get his balance better.

      Denyse x

    • I hadn’t really thought about shock in relation to grief either … until I experienced it. All the very best to your relative and for their surgery! xo

  12. Thank you Denyse for this inspirational series and thank you Min for sharing your story of courage. It is so true that we are stronger than we think we are and we can survive things we thought would crush us. I loved your response to the question of what message you have for someone facing a situation that requires courage–the fact that you would first take them in your arms. The world needs more of that. Sending virtual hugs your way!

  13. You are super courageous Min. I dread the day I have to say goodbye forever to one of my parents. #openslather

  14. I don’t think we, as a society, are very knowledgeable concerning the longevity and depth of grief or how it can continue to impact our lives long after the funeral and formal goodbyes have passed. I love your message about being kind to yourself. I hope you continue to be kind to yourself Min. That’s what our loved ones would want I reckon – for as long as it takes. Much love Xx

    • So true Sandra. There is no end to grief, contrary to the misunderstanding of the late Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ intent with the stages. They were never intended to be used that way. I now like the work of Megan Devine who knows what she is talking about from a therapist’s and a personal perspective.

      Denyse x

  15. Megan Devine is the best! So much common sense! Xx

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