Over the weekend, I’ve been reminded of what strength and resilience mean. My grandmother, at the grand old age of 89, is a true inspiration to me. She has been through a lot and is – in her own words – a tough old boot. She had a fall in the small hours of Friday morning and had to be rushed to hospital.
After a hip replacement, she is now on the road to recovery and astounds us all with her perky, chatty self. There will be a lot of shuttling back and forth for us all over the next few months to help her recover and support her, but she reminds me that even in the face of physical and emotional trauma, we can’t let things bring us down or change us for the worse.
I’ve been changed a lot by emotional tsunamis, but perhaps the healing involved has made me more empathetic and kinder towards the pain of other people. Even in the face of her own physical pain, my Gran remains more concerned about the other people on her ward.
Strength, I feel, is the guts to say when we are not okay, and when we need help. It is being able to understand that being vulnerable is a very human and essential trait, because it means we can empathise with others. Resilience is recognising that whilst we are vulnerable, we also have the courage to weather storms and not be shattered by them, that it is possible to rebuild and reshape our shelters.
In my heart, I know that whilst I have made it through things, I also have to take the next step and thrive, to live and do things that make my life and the lives of my friends and family richer. I have weathered the storm; now I need to steel myself and rebuild, to mend the cracks and sweep away the dust.
For now, I’m in a state of planning, of dreaming and thinking. Next will be gathering the materials, clearing my space and starting anew. Then the work can resume, and I will continue to weather the storms with some of the grace and resilience of my 89 years-young grandmother, who is a remarkable woman.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost. – J.R.R. Tolkien.