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Is Resilience Hereditary?

Stephen and I were talking about resilience, looking for a story to illustrate letting go, acceptance and courage. You might think it normal that my mother came to mind, but it surprised me.

With all the drama in my life, I've earned my share of resilience and courage, but Mom’s life was all about comfort and security. Sheltered from real world problems, all her needs were provided for and important decisions made for her. She was born to have the best, safest life and do what was expected —raise a family. It was normal for her to depend on the men in her life rather than herself. That's just the way it was. Even SHE didn't question it.

So no, resilience and courage have never been words I’d associate with her. In fact, I always felt bad for her, not experiencing the value of earning money, contributing to society, taking ‘risks’. It is after all how we grow.

And yet today, she is my inspiration! At 91 she faces more than discomfort and insecurity, and it’s OK. Until recently, being alone —especially at night, was her greatest fear!

Now with Covid she’s alone more than ever. Except for the caregiver who comes for an hour or two to prepare meals and tidy up, she's pretty much on her own.

Something changed in her. She finally discovered her own power and really likes it! She's more confident to make her own decisions. Her mind is sharp and active, playing bridge on the computer and chatting with family. Just using her computer is an amazing feat for people of her generation. I’m so proud of her.

She only lives in the present moment, proudly acknowledging it. She doesn’t want to waste a second in the past or future. We often see this attitude in older people (but not always), as well as in people with chronic illness or a scary diagnosis. Life is too precious and short to take anything for granted. This is one trait we have in common.

She expresses gratitude for every single day, never complaining about being alone, or relentless excruciating back pain as it literally disintegrates, or her frightening COPD (caused by childhood whooping cough) and other illnesses of the aged. I could learn this from her.

She’d rather laugh, learn and enjoy her 9 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Video chats are a lifesaver. Besides keeping her mind active she follows a daily regimen of exercises to keep her body moving too.

Now I can say without a doubt, that my mother is resilient, courageous—and even mindful. She embraces it all.

Perhaps she has been my role model after all!

On Sat, May 8, 2021, 11:54 AM Caroline Courey dn't question it.


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