The Women That Strength Built

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Out of the Ashes a Heroine Rises June 24, 2011

I have some strong women in my family.  Unfortunately, we seem to have become that way by trial by fire.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s the only way women become strong, or if there’s some other way to forge that strength without difficulty and suffering.

The strongest woman I’ve known was my aunt.  She recently died after her fourth battle with cancer.  During her life, she raised three children by herself while going to school to get her CPA license.  It took her 10 years to accomplish.  During that time, she battled depression, loneliness and financial difficulty.  While her children were young, she suffered her first bout with breast cancer.  When she went into remission, we all celebrated her success.  Unfortunately, the cancer would return one more time as breast cancer, later as stomach cancer, and even later as lung cancer.  The last time around she was given only three years to live.  She made it past that time and was able to see two of her children married and two grandchildren born.  Despite her difficulties, she stayed positive and hopeful.  She was my hero.

Only two months after she died, her son died unexpectedly.  He left behind a wife and two little boys.  He was only 39.  He had been the glue that held together his own family and our extended family.  His death left a huge hole in a lot of people’s lives.  His sister, my cousin, has had to pick up the slack.  She helped with the funeral arrangements for both her mother and brother.  She is helping her sister-in-law with childcare while she tries to pick up the pieces.  And she has stepped into the place her brother occupied as the family anchor.  She has done all this while to trying to deal with her own grief.  She has been amazing.

And lastly there is my cousin’s wife.  I don’t know what the future holds for her and her sons.  I know this wasn’t the life she had planned.  She was a stay-at-home mom who depended on her husband to take care of everything.  Now he’s gone, and she is finding her way along an unforeseen path.  Whether or not she feels strong, she will have to be so for her boys.

But women seem to have an amazing ability to rise from the ashes of daily life.  All humans have a strong will to survive and to rise above their struggles.  But women have so many people depending upon them that they keep going even when they have no desire to do so.  Somehow I think my cousin’s wife will manage to hang on and will eventually succeed.  And as her boys witness her strength and spirit, they will develop a heroine of their own – their mom.

 

Letting Go Makes You Stronger January 27, 2010

Filed under: Tools for Strength — thewomenthatstrengthbuilt @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

 “We need to find the courage to say no to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.” 

 –       Barbara De Angelis

             If you look around your house or apartment, will you find remnants left from past relationships?  Do you have jewelry, books, CDs, furniture that came from your past partner?  Are you still holding on to these because they bring you fond memories?  Do you think you may still get back together and will want the items later?  Do you like to look at them and remember when times were better?  Is this really doing you any good at all?

            When I was younger, the first thing I did after a breakup was to purge anything from my life that reminded me of my ex-boyfriend.  Stuffed animals, pictures, matchbook covers from restaurants, records – everything went immediately.  But somewhere along the way, I started collecting stuff – a few pieces of jewelry here, a picture there, a box of trinkets to look at when I wanted to remember.  This all seemed very innocent until I went through a divorce a few years back.

            While I wasn’t left with much after the divorce, I did keep our wedding album, my wedding rings, and some other small items.  In the time between our separation and divorce, I did manage to give away a few of those items and to discard most of the pictures.  But I kept my wedding rings.  If I was truthful with myself, I thought I should keep them in case we got back together.  Really though, I was keeping them because I couldn’t let go of a dream.

            Dreams die hard.  But the reality is that our marriage died long before our separation.  And the items I kept only served to remind me of the difficult times we shared – not the happy ones.  What about you?  Do the items you have from past relationships really make you happy?  Or do they make you melancholy?  And if they make you melancholy, wouldn’t it be better to get rid of them?  How strong can you be if something is making you sad every time you look at it?  Wouldn’t it be better to turn it into something positive – to let it go and leave the space open for something new?

            I did that today.  I took my rings to the jeweler and sold them.  I only got a fraction of what was paid for them originally, but I needed the money and was satisfied with the amount.  And driving home, I realized I was really happy.  I had let go of something that brought me mostly sad memories.   I no longer had any physical connection left to my past relationship.  And I had opened up some space in my life that could be filled with something new and positive.  That was worth much more than what the jeweler paid me.

            What about you?  Those things that slowly squeeze your heart when you look at them – could you let them go?  Sell them on e-bay?  Donate them to charity?  Can you get rid of what’s not serving you today?  I did.  And I feel stronger, freer and more positive about my life.  I hope by taking a chance and releasing some of your unhappy past, you can do that for yourself.  After all, you deserve to feel strong.  And you definitely deserve to be happy!

 – Kandice