So much of our journey in the past 23mths has been about strength, Braeden's strength. I've heard countless times people telling me how 'strong' I am. I have to be honest with you, I don't feel 'strong' I feel often overwhelmed and underwater. I often second guess myself and my decisions (with the care of all of my children). I often feel 'bogged down' and unsure, not at all the 'strong' person people make me out to be. But today, that needs to change.
What is strong? What is true strength?
strengthnoun \ˈstreŋ(k)th, ˈstren(t)th\
: the quality or state of being physically strong
: the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force
: the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force
Looking at Webster's definition then yes, I can see how some might view me that way. I can certainly attest to dealing with problems in a determined way but I'm certainly not always effective (or able to remove my emotions from the picture)!
But let me tell you for a moment what the secret to my 'strength' is...my strength is Braeden, it's Torin, it's Rylan and it's most certainly Michael. While I draw and observe so much strength from all of my male loves, Mr.B is strength personified to all of us here at the Lousier-Hicks household. Here is a child who has endured more pain, more testing, more suffering (in less then 2 years of life) then anyone should have to in a life time AND he does it with a smile. He always bounces back, he always forgives and he always loves unconditionally, period. How can one not be inspired and pull some strength from that?
What else is strength to me?
I have a wonderful friend going through a hard time right now coming to terms with the death of her father (it's the anniversary soon) and is reviewing her own existence so to speak. I find this incredibly strong, I find people that can look at themselves and be vulnerable for the world to view so very strong. Being vulnerable to others, not just to ourselves is a picture of strength in and of itself to me.
I had an amazing and incredibly emotional evening last night where I was able to sit down with three other Moms. These are other ACH Moms, other 'warriors' (please note that I think anyone who becomes a parent and advocates for their child is a 'warrior', special needs or not), Mom's with children with immeasurable strength. We all have our own stories and we all have our similarities but what I got most out of our conversation were our differences. I don't mean this in a bad way at all but in celebration. I think (and I'm speaking for all of us here) that we all view each other as 'strong'.
Do I have more strength then my friend who is intensely private and protects herself and her child from the world? Certainly not. I respect her choices and I respect that she is such a fierce advocate for her child.
Am I in any way stronger then the Mom who is just starting out her journey at ACH? Not at all, in fact this Mom's strength and perseverance thus far is amazing to me!
What really hit home for me last night (and by hit home I mean I have cried more tears in the past 12 hours then I have in the past 12 mths) is when our third friend shared her journey that has ended with the death of her child. Her (their) journey is not over, not by a long shot but she has lost her child and yet she came to speak to us. She blessed us with the knowledge of what courage means, what perseverance and drive means and here it is folks, what true strength means:
True strength is never giving up but knowing when it's time to let go.
Now this is an extreme circumstance for this, I realize that but isn't it true in all of our lives? Isn't this true in every decision we might have to make??
How many times in our lives have we had to learn the life lesson of just 'letting go' of something or someone? It is one of the hardest life lessons by far to learn (and we generally have to learn it many, many times).
Am I a stronger person then you because I'm on this crazy journey of my life? No, no I'm not. You are so very strong. You need to look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I'm the strongest person I know". Strength doesn't mean we're perfect, far from it. Inner strength doesn't mean you've got the body you want or maybe even the life you want but guess what folks? You're HERE, you and you alone have survived your own journey thus far. You woke up this morning and you got out of bed (or maybe you're still working on getting out of bed, that's okay too). You, my friend are strength personified in your own individual way.
You might think my life has more complexities then yours, that your 'issues' aren't as big compared to mine but note they are yours. I often hear from people, "Well, I shouldn't complain, you're life is much harder then mine". Our 'problems' in life are relevant in the life we each lead. Our stories all have relevance and let's face it, life can get us down. It doesn't mean that anyone is stronger then you, it just means that you are letting yourself feel and through that hopefully healing even a small amount.
Stop for a minute and consider what you've overcome in this life of yours...not what I've overcome or even Mr.B but YOU. You, your gorgeous, less then perfect self. Isn't it amazing? Aren't YOU amazing? Say it again, "I'm the strongest person I know, look at what I've overcome". Watching others around you and admiring their strength is only part of the puzzle, we all need to admire our own strengths more often (myself included, I realize I'm calling the kettle black here!).
We're all survivors in the thing called Life. We're all strong in our own way and we all have strengths that others may envy or respect. We are who we are.
I'm thrilled that so many people can be inspired by Mr.B and I'm so very happy that people get to see his strength, joy and love that he offers.
True strength is never giving up but it is knowing when it's time let go.
From Our Home (and my never-ending thoughts) To Yours...