What Perseverance Means to Me
I often wonder where strength comes from in people’s lives. Why is it easier for some to battle life’s darkest times and most profound disappointments and harder for others?
When I look back on my life, I know I could have just given up so many times. I never knew my father, and my mother was an alcoholic who walked out of my life one day and never came back.
Instead of following the poor examples set by my parents, I learned from them. I knew I never wanted to be like my mom or my dad.
I bounced around the foster care system and, by the time I was 14 years old, I’d seen much more than I should have. But I kept my head on straight and knew I wanted a life without hurt and sorrow. An impossible goal? Perhaps, but I knew there were others whom I believed had it worse. In befriending them, I found comfort and kept a small light shining in my soul.
I clung to that light. I put myself through school and then later moved to Dallas, where I met and married a wonderful man. Soon, we had two beautiful sons. I had persevered, and the rewards were great. I had a happy marriage, a beautiful family, an incredible career, and very satisfying volunteer work.
The simple ring of a doorbell shattered our lives. Losing a child in a terrible car accident could have destroyed me, but, somehow, I just kept going. It was what our son, Paul, would have wanted.
Later, I thought for sure a diagnosis of stage 3B breast cancer would be the last straw. Yet again, I told myself I could get through it and persevered. I found strength in my determination to show my gratitude to those who had helped me. I survived cancer, but it robbed me of my career as a flight attendant, something which had given me so much joy through the years.
I now find myself coping with my husband in a long-term care facility. I tell myself that, after all the other things, I’ve got this — he and I share a bond.
Life lessons such as these have fueled my passion for the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. When Margie Wright asked me to create a fundraiser for the Center, I gladly accepted the challenge. The Fashion Stars with a Cause fundraiser, now in its twelfth year, brings awareness to the community and helps the Center continue its tireless mission.
I managed to overcome my trials where so many others could not. I have learned not to look so far ahead and to take each day as it comes.
In my second act — and continuing into my third and fourth acts — I hope I, too, can be that light in someone life.