The “Overcoming Adversity” Bloghop
The idea is the brainstorm of fellow blogger Nick Wilford, and he hopes to create a very special anthology to put on sale via Amazon. He intends to take the proceeds and put it towards a college fund for his stepson, Andrew. If you don't know Andrew, he has cerebral palsy and is coming to the end of his time at Stanmore House School in Lanark, a fantastic place that he has attended since joining the nursery class about fifteen years ago. Nick and Andrew have had to overcome mountains of adversity to get where they are today, so Nick would like us to write something in that vein: overcoming adversity for something you believe in. It can either be a flash fiction piece, or an episode from your real life. Poetry is fine too.
Here are the simple rules:
* Sign up on the linky list (where you can also find the other participants.
* Please keep your entry to 500 words
* Please post on either Monday 4th or Tuesday 5th February
* I'd better say, keep it family-friendly! I'm sure it will be anyway.
I have to say, the timing of this bloghop couldn’t have been more appropriate for me. I don’t know if my offering will fill the requirements for Nick’s anthology, but I had to participate none-the-less.
December 21, 2012 was predicted to be the day the world ended. Not many people took the prophecy seriously, so for most people the day came and went like so many other lazy Friday’s. But unfortunately the Mayan’s were correct about something, that circled day on the calendar did change my life forever. It was then that my beautiful wife…my best friend…my true north…my divining rod…was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was the day we were introduced to real adversity…and it spit in our face.
I won’t say that life up until then was a bed of roses, I mean we all deal with a certain amount of strife day in and day out, but I didn’t choose the name of my blog – Cruising Altitude -- for no reason. Me and my wife had endured the turbulent take off and subsequent climb through relationship issues, financial constraints, family growth (loss), and minor medical concerns, to reach a point in our lives where we felt we could remove the seat belts and feel relaxed. There’s nothing quite like a life-threatening illness to put the plane in a nose dive and send us scrambling for an oxygen mask.
I’ve always thought I would be perfectly suited to deal with an adverse situation. When things get really stressful and the wheels seem to be falling off, I tend to focus on the black and white. I remove emotion from the equation and concentrate on the decisions/choices/actions that need to be made in order to deal with the circumstances at hand. It turns out that my greatest strength, was also where I let down my wife the most.
It’s human nature when dealing with adversity, for our feelings to be drawn to the negative…dark thoughts, and my wife is no different. Since December 21st there have been days when trying to remain buoyant in a blustery emotional sea has been impossible, and she has succumbed. I did what I do, tried to get her to see how things weren’t really as bad as her mind tried to convince her. I just needed for her to focus on the black and white, and she would see how irrational her fears were. And that is where I failed her. What I have since realized is that before I can hope to pull her out of the throes of despair, I must first get in there with her. I should hug her so hard she has to fight for breath, and let her know that no matter what she feels…irrational or not…I’m there with her always. She knew she was not alone in this fight, but I still need to show her that I understand the gloom she is experiencing. It’s only after I do that, that I can take her hand and slowly lead her back to the black and white.
We were lucky the cancer was caught early and my wife’s prognosis is very good. As you read this we are most likely attending her pre-op visits in preparation for her surgery next week. I am a naturally optimistic person. My complete faith in her doctors combined with the incredible advancements made in treating this terrible disease, tells me that this is just unexpected turbulence in our long journey together. Our family will be back at our Cruising Altitude in a short time, with a flight plan laid out well into the future. But this passenger will have learned a valuable lesson.