Monday 28th September 2020

Women of Courage Series. #32. Sue Loncaric. 23/2020.

Women of Courage Series. #32. Sue Loncaric. 23/2020.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

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.

I have never met Sue Loncaric who is a 62 year old woman now living in Queensland. That does not matter of course when we are bloggers…because fellow bloggers always feel like we have known people from their sharing on the blog, facebook and other social media. I do know Sue is a kind-hearted and helpful person who wants to ensure to care of others in her life. I also know how devoted she is to her family. More than that, I got to experience Sue’s care first hand when she sent me a beautiful journal with inspirational cards when I was first diagnosed with head and neck cancer. I will now send you to read on to see why I asked Sue to consider sharing her story as a Woman of Courage.

 

 

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

Denyse has asked me several times to contribute to her Women of Courage series and I’ve declined each time.  I don’t believe I’ve been courageous in life at all, especially compared to other Women who have featured in her series.

Yet I underestimated Denyse’s inability to accept ‘No’ for an answer.

Denyse’s persistence made me actually stop and look back at my life and revisit times when I had to dig deep for strength.  My courage has been coping with the loss of loved ones, walking way from a marriage, supporting and loving my husband and his parents and later in life pushing myself to achieve my goals.

 

  • I suppose the first time I really needed courage was to face the idea of losing my Mum.  At the age of 53 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and back in the 70s research was still in its infancy so we had no idea what to expect.  I was 18 at the time and I couldn’t imagine a life without my Mum.  Neither could Mum!  She battled on for 10 years, showing courage, determination and never complaining.  Losing my Mum was devastating as she was the most beautiful soul I had ever known and she certainly left a huge gap in my life.

 

  • The next test was losing my Dad when I was 24.  He had just retired and was looking forward to spending time and caring for Mum and her cancer battle.  However, 6 months later he was gone.  Bowel cancer had claimed him.  My strength was tested this time because he died a month before my first child was born.  I remember him wanting to see the baby but he was in so much pain I told him not to hold on and he died that night.

 

  • Walking away from a marriage wasn’t easy but I found the strength to do this.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault but I still feel guilty although I know the decision was right.  This was a time when I also walked away from family and friends so again experienced loss.  Fortunately, I was able to reconnect many years later and cherish those close to me.

 

  • My courage and strength were tested again in 2000 when my husband had a heart attack resulting in emergency triple by-pass surgery.  The doctor had advised me to go to work as they wouldn’t be operating for a few days.  However, a few hours later I was called back as a clot was blocking his artery and a nurse actually told me to ‘prepare myself’. You certainly take for granted that loved ones are always going to be there and fortunately 19 years later my darling is still with me.

 

  • Losing my brother 3 years ago to cancer at the age of 65 was a time that taught me it is never too late to make amends. For some reason we had not spoken for over 30 years and he lived in another country.  I am so grateful that his daughter arranged for us to speak before he died.

 

  • I’ve supported my darling husband through his PTSD issues and likewise he has been my biggest cheerleader.  Together we put our lives on hold to care for his parents.  What was supposed to be short term, became our lives for 11 years. We now have our lives back but I wonder sometimes if there is enough time to do all we want to do together.

 

  • In recent times I’ve needed the courage to achieve my personal goals – running two full marathons at 55 and 61, starting my blog when I retired almost 5 years ago (who would really want to read what I had to say), continuing to try to motivate and aspire others to achieve their goals when I’m not feeling great myself some days.

It can be so easy to give up when the ‘going gets tough’ but pushing through brings satisfaction.  Being a driven person can sometimes be a curse as well as a good quality to have.

 

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

I think that going through all of these experiences has given me resilience to cope with what life throws my way.  I still don’t feel that I’ve done anything more than others would have done in similar situations but perhaps we sometimes downplay the situation.

 

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

We all have an inner strength that we don’t know exists until we are tested. The other learning is that there are always people willing to support you if you are open to accepting their help.

 

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

Yes, I believe I am more courageous mainly because I am older and have experienced many different situations in my life.  Once you prove to yourself you have the strength then you really can cope with anything.

At the time of writing this I am at the crossroads again and need to make some difficult decisions on my future direction.  This will take courage and strength to actually do what I tell others to do and that is letting go of what I don’t want in my life and moving forward without guilt or regret.

 

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

I wondered how to answer this question and then thought about What does it mean to be courageous? I found this quote which I think sums it up perfectly.

“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”
― Emma Donoghue, Room

 

What a story Sue has shared. I was right in pursuing Sue to contribute was I not? Thank you Sue. For sharing and for helping others along the way. I am also grateful to you and fellow blogger Leanne at Cresting the Hill for having a Wednesday weekly Link Up for Midlife Share The Love Bloggers. Today, this post will be shared there by me.

Denyse.

 

Social Media

Your Blog: https://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au

Your facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sizzlingtowards60/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sizzling60

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sizzlingtowards60andbeyond/

 

 

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.

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Comments

  1. Hello Denyse, thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I feel humble to be in the company of so many women who I believe have shown great courage and resilience. I am touched that my small thought sent during a difficult time for you made such a lasting impact on you. Once again thank you for the opportunity and also your lovely introduction and closing. Have a beautiful day and see you at #MLSTL. xx

    • It is entirely my privilege and pleasure to share your story.

      I am glad I did get that ‘yes’ response and can see you are now too.

      We women need to not ‘undersell’ ourselves and our achievements and yet, for many of us that is society viewed us and often how we were raised,

      Yet as you and I know and can provide excellent examples, it is never too late to learn and do more with our lives into our 60s and for me, 70s.

      You are a gracious and generous guest Sue,

      Thank you.
      Denyse.

  2. Hi Denyse and Sue

    Oh, Sue to lose your Dad close to giving birth would’ve been horrendous and then losing your Mum early to breast cancer. These life events all take a precious bit of ourselves that never really goes away. My brother lost his son at a mere few days. It changed him, and I can see him wondering “What if?”.

    I remember asking Mum one day years ago. How on earth did you cope with five kids under 7? I never had time to question it and just got on with it, was her answer how times have changed.

    • Hi Suzanne, yes it was very difficult losing Dad. Mum had battled cancer for over 5 years at that stage and he retired to spend what we thought were her last days together. However, within 6 months he had died from bowel cancer and Mum lived a further 5 years. My daughter kept us going especially Mum during that dark time. As you say, in those days you just got on with it. xx

    • Sue’s story reminds us that life throws us challenges and tragic circumstances that can seem insurmountable and heart-breaking and yet, we can recover (with difficulty) to a stage where we also can find purpose and meaning. Your story and that of your mother sounds so tough too.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Denyse.

  3. I am glad too that you spoke to your brother. Life is complicated for all sorts of reasons. Nice to learn a little of your history too. #MLSTL

  4. Sue in my opinion you definitely are a women of courage, and of resilience as this post says. Thanks for being so open and sharing your experiences. I agree Denyse, Sue is a perfect guest for this series. #MLSTL Sharing

  5. Hi Sue – lovely to see you over here on Denyse’s blog and you certainly qualify as courageous from all the losses you’ve lived through and the fact that you’ve come out the other end with compassion and kindness and a gentleness of soul (when many others become bitter or hyper-aware of their own mortality and stop living life well).
    I’m really interested to see where life takes you in the years ahead because I feel like you’re trailblazing for the rest of us who want to do early retirement well. xx
    Denyse, thanks for linking this up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM

    • Thank you my lovely friend. I suppose when I actually look back and document parts of my life, I forget that there were very tough times, although at the time I didn’t really feel they were more than I could handle. My mother had beautiful qualities such as you mentioned so I’m honoured that you feel I’m that way too – she was a very special lady. Not sure about being a trailblazer the trail seems to have been a bit haphazard lately 🙂 xx

    • They are kind and wise words I too echo Leanne.

      Sue is a very special blogger who spreads her knowledge and skills with a generous heart.

      Denyse.

  6. Sue, it was a privilege to get to know you through this post as well as over the years through your own blog!

    You are an inspiration. I will remember your words when I face similar changes in my life.

    Much love

    SSG xxx

  7. Hi Sue, I had similar challenges in my life to you – losing mum aged 54 to cancer, divorcing my first husband due to his alcoholism and PTSD, losing my sister to epilepsy aged 44, health problems myself, then remarrying. My dad passed away a couple of years ago from cancer too. I envy people who still have their parents at my age. All these challenges have made me stronger but I’m a bit more battle weary these days! Thanks Denyse for this series, it’s inspirational

    • Oh Christina I can understand the weariness. That story is a very challenging one of what you have faced. Thank you for your frankness too.

      Denyse.

  8. Thanks Sue for being you! I think your mum and dad would be very proud of the lovely woman you’ve become, helping others and inspiring so many of us. You are most definitely a woman of courage. I love that last quote too, and it sums it all up beautifully. Thanks Denyse for another fabulous woman of courage and for giving us an uplifting post each week when all around us seems to be doom and gloom at the moment. x

    • It is a bit of an oasis in the desert to come and read other’s stories on blogs isn’t it?

      I am glad that so many women have agreed to share their stories.

      I am also very fortunate that some more I have approached are also going to do so which will take the series to the one year mark. I had no idea back in 2019 how this would go and now am very glad it’s been, for me, a success.

      Thank you for your on-going and caring support.

      Denyse.

  9. Thank you, Sue, for sharing some of your personal experiences. You’re a woman of courage and strength. I know you’ll draw on your strength to decide on what feels right for your future direction. Like you said, there are always people willing to support you if you are open to accepting their help. Thanks, Denyse, for featuring Sue in this series. #lovin’lifelinky

    • That is so true Natalie.

      I appreciate each and every woman who has decided to share her story and know we are all the richer for this.

      Take care,

      Denyse.

  10. Thank you Sue and Denyse. As you ladies know, living this life takes courage. We are certainly all being tested now. I knew many of these things about Sue (though not all); however, reading them all together like this reminds me of how much Sue has been through, and the fact that she is still moving forward in her life, taking on new challenges, and encouraging others is pretty courageous. Love you ladies. Take care of yourselves. XO