“Every day I found at least three things to be thankful for.”
I lost both my parents by the time I was 30 and found myself as a single mom with no support network. My father was an entrepreneur with an amazing sense of drive and confidence but also struggled with various addictions from alcohol abuse to chronic over-working. My mother was a kind-hearted woman who ingeniously sewed a positive inner voice into my mind before I even knew what an inner voice was. But she also struggled with manic-depression which was actually a blessing compared to numerous siblings of hers who suffered from schizophrenia.
I was able to pull from my upbringing a deep-rooted entrepreneurial drive paired with a loving inner voice to back it up. And thank goodness because I’d soon find myself in a position as a single mother of 2, facing layoffs, with zero support system left due to the death of both parents by the time I was 30.
My father was a CPA and was working late nights cramming to complete his client’s tax filings prior to the cutoff. He had been having chest pains, was popping heartburn meds like candy, and promised all of us he’d go to the doctor on April 15th. Sadly, he dropped dead of a massive heart attack on April 14th. At the time, I was 21 years old and less than one year into my first job out of college. Nine years later, my mother was watching my kids so I could travel to China for a work assignment. One night I called home to check on things and she shared that she had gotten the flu and hadn’t been able to stop throwing in over seven days. After getting home she visited the doctor, which led to an MRI, and then being admitted to the hospital so fast my head was spinning.
She had a tumor the size of a golf ball in her brain, which had been causing vertigo and nausea. Brain surgery revealed cancerous lung tissue in her brain, and a scan there revealed more tumors. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and died nine months later.
My marriage failed so completely I refer to it as a dumpster fire. I had two mouths to feed, was the sole provider in the house, and my job security was basically non-existent as my company laid off hundreds or thousands of people every three years. And the only true support system I ever had evaporated before I could blink. I was shook.
There was a nine-month period where I didn’t leave the house for anything besides work or grocery shopping. My world was so dark at times that the only thing I could bring myself to be thankful for was simple things like “I’m still breathing” or “I was able to feed my children today”. But it was in those darkest nights where I learned to look for the good wherever I could find it. It’s where I started to learn to see the silver lining to those dark moments and ultimately trained my brain to stop seeing challenges and start seeing opportunities. It’s where I found my faith.
Ten years later with daily prayer and an unfailing dedication to finding the positive in every situation and trust God in every step I take, I’m happily married with 2 adult children and a thriving online coaching business that allows me to be my own boss and shape my own destiny. Every day I found at least three things to be thankful for and have created a constant stream of dialogue with God. Our brains are wired to see risks, which can make the world a dark and scary place. However, you can train your brain to see positives instead.
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