Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘survive’

From Under Her Feet

An excerpt from the book Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something! Grief’s Wake Up Call. An interview with Sybil Anderson-Adams.

Adams-AndersonHer life was the picture of success. Her husband was an attorney, they were drawing up plans for their dream home, and she recently quit her teaching job, to spend more time with their three children. Suddenly, the rug was pulled out from under her feet. What started out as a headache in court, turned out to be a leaking aneurysm. In spite of the doctors’ assurances to the contrary, within three weeks Sybil Anderson-Adams husband was dead. Without comprehension or time to have said good-bye, she struggled to survive and make sense of the incomprehensible.

As a result of her desperation and need to find answers, Sybil reached out to her friends, neighbors, doctor and church, and formed a support group for young adults who’s partners had died. The first meeting brought together twenty-five people who’d previously thought they were alone. With her need, and ability to communicate her process and grief to others, she continues to open the door of life for those who thought it had been slammed in their face and locked shut forever.

SYBIL ANDERSON-ADAMS: “When I arrived at the hospital the doctor said, ‘I have some bad news. Your husband stopped breathing.’ I’ll never forget those words. ‘He stopped breathing.’ He finally said, ‘I’m sorry . . . he’s passed away.’ It was then that it hit me . . . like a wosh.  I doubled over . . . just like you see in the movies.

After the shock had subsided, I realized I didn’t know who I was anymore. It was the loss of identity. I was the type of person who always had my entire life planned out. Before Neal died, I’d never really had a traumatic event. I had things all figured and scheduled . . . which, as you know, gives you a sense of control. But I had no control over this one and that was my undoing. I had to decide where I was going; who I was. There was an urgency. I remember going to a counselor and saying, ‘When will I not feel this way? When, when, when?!’ The reality was so strong that I wanted it to be over. I didn’t want to cry anymore.

Then one day, I remember making a decision. it was something one of my kids said. You know, ‘Out of the mouths of babes!’ One of my sons says, ‘If you hadn’t stopped and talked to Dad that one day long ago, you might never had known him or gotten married.’ I said, ‘You know, you’re right.’ And I had this vision where I decided that whatever came up I’d say, ‘Yes!’ That I would do things no matter how hard it was. When my kids had stuff they needed to do . . . cub scouts, swimming . . . I made a decision that no matter what, I wasn’t going to hide at home anymore, I was going to go. And what I found was that doing that made me stronger, even though a lot of the events I attended were absolute disasters! Taking some kind of action made me feel brave. it gave me confidence.

I remember sitting with another friend who was at that same juncture. She said, ‘I hate this. I want to be out of here.’ I felt the same at the time and replied, ‘Yeah, just get me out.’ And that’s one of the reasons I started a support group, and keep it going to this day. I needed those people so bad. They were my reality. If somebody else could make it, so could I.

For awhile I could only live for the day. The future was nonexistent. I’ve met many people throughout the years that say the same thing. They said, ‘Good-bye” in the morning and their spouse was dead by the afternoon. It changed my whole concept of how I look at things. I laugh more often now. We’ve got three teenagers and one in early adolescence. They can make you laugh or cry. If I wasn’t able to laugh once in a while our life would be one miserable hell.

I think all survivors make that decision at some point. You have to decide to live. My kids forced me into it. I’d be in bed with the covers pulled over my head, not wanting to get out, and one of them would come in and say, ‘What’s for breakfast?’ What are you going to do; I couldn’t stay in bed? I had to get up. I was the only one they had left.

We had a saying in our house, ‘Life sucks.’ It was kind of our motto for awhile. The kids would say, ‘Life sucks!’ and I’d look at them and say, ‘Yeah, then what?’ They’d answer, ‘Then you die.’ I’d continue, ‘So, then what are you going to do about it?’ They’d look at me, roll their eyes and say, ‘Come on Mom.’ It’s made them real. They see a different reality then most kids.

Life has become a really interesting place. Neal’s death and where my life has gone since, has added another dimension. God knows I wish it hadn’t happened, but without it I could have lived until I was eighty-five and never discovered this! Life is such a gift, though I’m not thrilled with the way I had to really find this out. I love being in this state of mind. I’m doing things that I never knew I could or would do. There was a point two years after he died when I realized, ‘My God, I can do anything!’ I survived something that at first glance seemed like an endless hole of despair. I didn’t think I’d ever climb out . . . but I did.

More inspiring stories at Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something! Grief’s Wake Up Call

Families Need Food Now!

Families Need Food Now!

In some places, hunger isn’t just something that happens for a few hours, or even a few days. For some, hunger lasts a whole season – and we’re right in the middle of it.

Stores of food from last year’s harvest have run low in Mali, Guatemala, and Lesotho, but next year’s crops aren’t ready to eat or sell. There’s no money left to buy more food. Children are getting more and more hungry. Many parents are desperately trying to make what food they have stretch for just a few more days.

Because if they can’t – if the food won’t last until the crops come in – their children might not survive. These families need food now.

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This is the worst time of year for hungry families. But right now, we have a special opportunity to fight back: from now until August 29, every single dollar you give will be matched, so you can fight back twice as hard against hunger.

Your donation can help CARE provide relief to a hungry child and help eliminate the hungry season for good. Donate today and your gift will be matched – everything you give will be doubled.

To fight hunger right now, CARE is providing immediate nutritional assistance, including bags of corn, sorghum, millet, or rice, and emergency therapeutic foods to treat malnourished children. It costs just $7 to feed a person in crisis for an entire week.

But we don’t believe in temporary solutions to big problems, and I’m sure you feel the same way. That’s why CARE isn’t just fighting the hungry season this year – we’re also working to break the cycle, to prevent a hungry season next year. And every year.

The cycle of hunger is a vicious one: Families sell shares of their upcoming harvest at rock-bottom prices just to get food to eat today, leaving them less to sell at fair prices the following season and reducing the amount they will earn. Worse yet, in moments of desperation, they’ll even eat seeds meant to plant next year’s crop, leaving them with less to grow next year.

To fight hunger in the future, CARE is taking long-term steps. We’re working with communities to improve farming techniques to make fields more productive. We’re also setting up savings and loan groups so families can diversify their sources of income by taking out loans and investing the capital in ventures like sewing or animal husbandry.

We can’t accomplish any of that without the support of people like you.

Your support can feed a child right now, and can help a family stay nourished for all of next year.

Donate now, and help CARE work towards ending the hungry season for hard-working families – this year and forever.

Thank you for all that you do.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

In Order To Survive

Shiva’s Spectacular Gender Divide – Part 6 of 6
by Mira Prabhu. 22 July 2013
From Metaphysical & Mundane Musings of a Maverick Female Scribe

My own emotional reactions to perceived suffering—mine and others—were always so intense that I was often paralyzed into depression. By the time I was a teenager, I already knew that in order to survive, I would have to make peace with the patriarchy.

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Random investigations into the nature of reality proved to me that the foul concept of brawn over brain had distorted the collective psyche; everywhere—among rich and poor, educated and illiterate—I saw perverted masculinity. Instead of cherishing their womenfolk, men seemed to want to triumph over them. And by doing so, they smashed feminine self-esteem to smithereens. It was as if their own sisters, wives and daughters were arch rivals to be diminished and trounced. As a result, sexual union was often reduced to the usurpation of the female body, and marriage, in many cases, to no more than a legal form of rape.

To read entire article and series, go to Mira’s blog.

What “Minimum Wage”?

Dear Gabriel,

Anyone who has ever worked for minimum wage knows you can’t survive – let alone raise a family – on a minimum wage salary, even if you work full time.

The minimum wage is a misnomer – it doesn’t even cover the bare minimum costs needed to survive.

President Obama charged Congress with lifting American families out of poverty by raising the minimum wage, and California Rep. George Miller and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin answered the call. They have introduced the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013,” which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and link it to inflation going forward.

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Tell Congress to pass the Fair and Minimum Wage Act now.

This legislation should be a no brainer – families everywhere are struggling, and the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009. While banks continue to destroy our economy without consequences, working families are drowning in debt.

Support working families. Tell Congress to raise the minimum wage.

Thank you for taking action,

Colleen H.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Working Hand-In-Hand

Dear Gabriel,

What would you do if your income was suddenly gone – and at the same time every single store raised its prices?

In Mauritania, many families’ crops died in the fields; then, because food was scarce, food prices skyrocketed. In Senegal, a poor harvest forced some farmers to eat their seeds simply to survive – leaving them with little left to plant.

It’s a story that repeats across the Sahel region of West Africa and around the world: when crops die, food prices go up. Families are faced with the terrible decision to sell or eat whatever they have simply to survive – even though selling their goats, plows and other resources will make rebuilding or weathering the next crisis even harder.

To make a difference in a disaster like this, we need to be there before it strikes and stay long after other groups leave. That’s what Oxfam supporters make possible – not only helping families access emergency food and water, but also restoring wells, providing veterinary support for livestock, supporting women-run small businesses and more – all to create lasting change.

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Before the year ends, we need compassionate people like you to stand with us and be counted – without you, none of this happens. Can you help now?

Your gift of $50 today will help families build a life free of poverty, hunger and injustice from the Sahel to Haiti and beyond. Please donate now.

As an Oxfam supporter, you understand that a long-term commitment is key to saving lives when the toughest times hit and righting the wrong of hunger and poverty in the first place. You get why we have to be in this fight for the long haul.

You want to fight root causes – not just symptoms. When emergency aid is what’s needed, you’re there to help. But you know that the root causes of hunger are poverty and injustice. Together, we work to empower communities, giving people the information, tools, training and help they need to change their situation – for the next harvest and the next generation.

You know the power of working with local communities. Instead of telling people what to do, we listen to their ideas. Then, together, we provide the resources and work hand-in-hand with local partners to improve their communities together.

You want charities to be careful with your money. We design all our programs to be efficient and effective, and we constantly measure results. In the years since Haiti’s devastating earthquake, as international aid slowed, Oxfam has carefully identified where we can do the most good – and focused on the critical need to boost rice agriculture so farmers can make a living and help the country better feed itself.

img_savinglivesAnd finally, when you know you can make a big difference, you don’t stand on the sidelines. There are families going hungry, mothers struggling to serve their children even flour and water. In a world as rich as ours, we all know this is wrong. And we know that together, we can do what’s right.

We need to raise $2.6 million by midnight on December 31. Can you help?

Your gift will help fight poverty, end hunger, stop injustice and change lives. I hope you’ll make a generous commitment to Oxfam before the end of the year.

Sincerely,

Raymond C. Offenheiser
President
Oxfam America

Show On Oprah Hits Home

The promo for the story that was on Oprah yesterday reads, “In an instant, a car accident shattered their lives. And then, one year later, an absolutely miraculous twist of fate you have to see to believe.” The show highlighted the Cobles, who three and a half years ago had all 3 of their young children (Kyle, Emma and Katie) killed in a car accident and then a year later had triplets (2 girls and a boy). If they had simply talked about the tragedy and then jumped to them having the identical number of kids a year later, it would have been disappointing and misleading, but it wasn’t.

Lori and Chris Coble shared there journey (so far) with honesty, integrity and clarity. They let themselves be raw in the places that are raw and talked about the struggles, thoughts of giving up and most importantly, what they have found works for them to survive such a tragedy. They didn’t tip-toe around any subject. They have not, in any form or fashion, tried to replace their children who died with those now living. They’ve done what many find difficult, which is to keep those who have died in there lives and honor them by living the best they can and nurturing the children now in their care.

Oprah did a good job of compassionate listening and asking them to express themselves without telling them or the audience, what they should or shouldn’t feel or trying to rescue them and put some positive spin on their every word. The only comment that was made which seemed slightly off the mark and which continues to be propagated, was the idea of “stages”, as if you go through one at a time and then at a certain point in time you have “recovered”. It wasn’t portrayed that way strongly, but still somewhat implied.

A lot of what the Cobles have gone through seems so similar to the people I interviewed around the country for Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something! Grief’s Wake Up Call. Over half the people I spoke with had lost children and they had all had to deal with despair, depression, anger, anxiety, terror and frustration. They also all ended up doing something to help others (as a result of there loss).

People aren’t all so altruistic and in many respects, it is quite amazing that anybody can keep living and moving forward when they have experienced the kind of loss that the Cobles have. The ultimate message seems to be that you can survive the worst that can happen and keep walking ahead, even if it’s just one step at a time, getting out of the chair or off the floor.

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