I GOT BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
As I shared in my last blog, the year my marriage ended my 19-year old son also passed away. I moved to an apartment and started living alone for the first time in thirty-plus years. I had no furniture as it all had to stay behind while the home was sold. I tried to maintain my ranch, traveling three hours each way on weekends to work alone. I lived frugally in order to make the mortgage payments on both properties. My dog, Boomer, had to stay with the caretaker at the ranch. I was desperately alone most days and nights.
The stress was intense! I had the support of good nutrition and exercise to keep my body strong, but perhaps even more important was the support of my friends and family to soothe my heart and mind. When you are lost and everything you know has been torn away, you have to cling to those who love and accept you. If you try to make it alone, you will succumb to deep depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Friends are able to listen to the deepest longings and regrets, not pass judgement, and allow you to heal. Sometimes they have to listen to the same things over and over, and they will simply say things like: “You are going to be OK. You will get through this. You are strong. I love you. How can I help?”
It made all the difference in the world for me in my time of adversity. Be a friend. If you have a friend or family member who is going through some tough stuff, don’t feel you cannot just call up and say something supportive. Don’t feel you will be imposing or will blow it. Anything you can do to make that person feel loved and appreciated and recognized as a useful member of society will help. They may fall apart and sob uncontrollably. You are strong and you can help them.
Make sure they are eating well and getting outside. Make sure they have some activity to take their mind off of their own troubles. By helping another going through a hard time, you will also get a sense of how good your life is. It will make you grateful and you will be blessing the other person with your presence and goodness. In that time of stress, what helped me was to help those who had health challenges. I would share nutrition with them and see them experience improvements. I would be able to realize that, even with all my troubles, I was at least healthy and strong. It got me out of bed every day, because I would say, “I wonder who I will help today?”
A lot of people share with me about losing their jobs, their homes, their lifestyle. I really try to sympathize, but then I share my year of adversity story and suddenly they realize – “This too shall pass.” Even the people going through a divorce do not usually have to combine it with the loss of a child in the same year. Even those who have lost a child rarely have lost their marriage at the same time. Those who have lost a home still have a loving family. I became a symbol of not just surviving but thriving through adversity. I am happy if I can inspire people to be all that they can be. The founder of the nutrition company that helps me maintain my health has a saying: “Live life to its fullest in happiness and health.” I would add, “Inspire and support others through their times of adversity.”
Be the friend your friends need. We all can get by with a little help from our friends. A big shout-out to the friends and family who helped me weather my adversity: Maria, Regina, Tom, Sandie, Sue my Placerville neighbor, Melanie, Mom, Sis, my bros, my team, all my coaches and therapists. Thanks to them, I am here today to help others stay strong and get through their times of adversity.