Mary's Story of Resilience
Resilience in the modern world isn’t just a vital skill to develop - for many people all over the country, it’s necessary!
You might have noticed in your daily life there are women up and down the country who are facing challenges and issues close to home everyday. Or, more likely, you struggle yourself with stresses and demands put upon you all the time.
The thing you need to remember is that you are far more powerful than you may give yourself credit for. Something that Mary discovered for herself; let me tell you her story of resilience…
Mary’s a tremendously resilient woman and mother to a strong, beautiful daughter. Her story centers around an experience she had concerning her husband and how she found herself battling a curveball nobody ever expected.
They met at college and were in love, spending more than 20 happy years together.
They were happily married almost 14 of those years as they brought their daughter into the world. Raising her was their focus and joy in life.
However, things would change completely as Mary discovered a secret that would take a huge toll on their family.
You see, Mary found out that her husband, the man who had become such an important part of her life and a crutch for her to lean on, was a an alcoholic and it seemed he had been for quite some time.
The discovery was a massive shock, something she never would have expected to happen and she strived to deal with it as best she could.
“I was trying to help him, to do as much as I could to keep
my family together, but nothing was working!”
It’s only natural that Mary wanted to keep her family strong.
She sought to find her husband the help he so desperately needed, and to ensure that her daughter had the best life possible filled with happy, loving memories of her childhood. Not tainted by the actions of her husband.
For 3 years Mary dealt with the issues caused by this man…
He was abusive, angry and losing control before her very eyes.
“The last 3-4 years were tough… He started getting verbally abusive, and we have a young daughter so I was constantly worried about the effect on her.”
To be able to lead her family through such adversity required Mary to find a strength that she didn’t even know she had. To provide for herself, her daughter and still somehow uncover the best in a man who was once solid as a rock.
Despite her best, though, through these trying years, things were set to take an even greater turn for the worst…
It was just one very normal day when Mary arrived home from work. only to find that her husband had shockingly and unfortunately passed away.
It was a complete shock to her.
“Things were so difficult but I didn’t expect to come home from work that day and find that.
It was awful, and just over the Christmas period.
“I was numb and in shock for quite a while.”
Grief, shock, the guilt that she couldn’t help him… even anger, that perhaps he was to blame for this… and numbness.
It’s hard to understand the effect someone’s passing has on a family in this situation without going through it for yourself. But Mary’s biggest intention is to give her story to you in the hopes that it might do something to help.
“I’d like to share my experience. Even if it only helps one person, it’s worth it.”
Mary’s Process of Healing
Mary was in an incredible amount of pain. She needed to come to terms with her husband’s passing and her own personal feelings, but most importantly, she had to be mindful of how her daughter felt.
Digging deep into her very heart, she discovered a strength there that she didn’t know she had before.
“I’ve got a young daughter. I can’t stop living, for her.
We were a family. I’ve still got her. I just…
I just needed to make life happen for her, so I couldn’t give up.”
Her beautiful daughter, her lifelong inspiration, was the driving force for getting up each and every day.
“She’s truly amazing. She has her own grief and issues, but she wanted to get back into life. Kids are more resilient than we can be. They don’t have the pressures we have. For that reason, I wanted to be a good mum to her. I wanted to try and do it all.”
But thankfully she wasn’t alone...
"Finding faith, and the power of prayer have been really important in my healing. One of my friends, who had been my absolute rock helped me to find faith and showed me how I could open my heart to God. From that moment, I have held onto the belief that I don't have to do this in my own strength. I now depend on God's strength and God will never give me more than I can endure."
Mary’s lucky enough to have a truly strong network of friends too, who, even though they may not understand exactly how she feels, their love and support echoes into her heart each morning.
Everyone needs a reason, a purpose to keep going on... "I just needed to make life happen for her, so I couldn’t give up." Her beautiful daughter, her lifelong inspiration, was the driving force for getting up each and every day.
“There’s not anything people can do, except they underestimate the act of kindness; someone coming to sit with you while you cry, giving you a hug, listening & making a cup of tea – that means so much.
“Just to know someone cares, and you matter to somebody. Without that, you could very easily give up.”
Mary has two main forms of therapy that guide her through her journey of resilience, which anyone can use themselves.
The first is one-to-one counseling, which she says has been a complex process of methodically unpicking the knots and going through the issues one by one.
“She’s allowed me to feel every emotion. You need to feel it, to get over it and deal with it.
Otherwise we suppress them and hide them away, which makes us feel even worse.”
When we’re faced with situations we often put them all in one box in our heads, and it’s hard to unpick the areas you need to give more focus and attention to.
But by getting counselling, finding a trusted member of your community or network, or joining the inspireResilience community, you can begin the same process of unpicking the mental knots that restrict your resilience at these times.
The next resource is by keeping a daily journal. Mary writes and reviews her emotions and her thoughts every single day.
“I find physically writing it with a pen, you feel all the feelings. Happiness, tears, anger…
it’s a way to get the feelings out of you and help you deal with it.”
Daily journaling is a practice everyone can take up starting today, and by giving yourself that opportunity to have some quiet time, switch off and be absorbed with you.
It’s a tool you can turn to, not just in times of adversity, but any time in your daily life. To allow 5 minutes to concentrate on what matters most to you, your family, and giving you that resilience and additional strength each day.
And each day you feel that little bit stronger.
The great thing about journaling for Mary is that she can look back through the pages and see how far she’s come.
“It’s quite uplifting and encouraging. You can see how dark it was and how you’ve come into the light.
Mary’s higher purpose always has been the life of her daughter.
“I think in my head, I just knew I need to survive for me and my daughter.
Before, I tended to hide away. My family was important to me but I thought
I could do it on my own. I guess, it’s changed me in the sense that – I mustn’t be afraid.
“Uncertainty brings possibilities. There are people out there who do care and can help you.
My daughter is my world and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. A mother’s love.”
May’s still recovering and she never rushes herself. Everyday is a battle, but knows that with these tools and the support she has around her, she it’s a battle can win.
She’s returned to work now taking each and every day as it comes, using her techniques of resilience to deal with however she and her daughter feel on that particular day.
“I need to live in the present”, and that’s something we’re all challenged with in
this fast paced society today. Being able to shut-off the distractions and be
present with ourselves gives us a sense of calmness, peace and tranquillity.
“I don’t know if I always do it well. I try. My daughter has a very busy life and
because she has certain routines, I know my daily routine and what I need to achieve.
Taking her to these things and being around people, not shutting yourself away.
“I’ve never been good at asking for help,
but people do want to help and you can reach out to people.”
There’s a message Mary wants to give out to the world, to inspire and encourage you at times of low resilience, when the events in your life seem to test you; it’s this:
“You’re going through a really dark time but you get glimpses of light.
Something nice will happen, and it’s learning to enjoy that.
Not waiting and thinking, ‘I’ve got to wait until I’m 100% better
and then my life will be right again.’
“You might be having a terrible day but then you’ll have a great night.
“Don’t give up. It’s…I know it’s easy to say, but things DO get better.
Everyone – we can all get caught up in wanting the latest phone, a new house, new clothes
– but when you’re feeling really bad, you just want to feel better.
If you just stay strong, dig deep, find the courage…you can make things better.”
Note: The names and images of the people in this story have been changed to protect their identities.
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