Oh goodness, I can’t begin to tell you how many times as a child I fell, got a little scratch, shed a tear, ok maybe two and waited for a band-aid. Usually, my mom would blow me a kiss and put a bandage on it and somehow the bandage worked miracles. Of course, in those days I was too young to really understand that the scrap was not that bad and bandage or not, all would have been fine in five minutes. If the band-aid was a color or had a character on it, it was even better and I was sure it had magical healing in it.

Unfortunately, as we get older, we learn that magic band-aids will not always work when life gets tougher. We also realize that none of us will make it through this thing we call life without disappointments, loss and in some cases, pain that will remain for a lifetime. How do we handle those tough times? Of course, it depends upon many factors.

Some of us, including yours truly, have been accused of being a “Pollyanna” which is basically an overload of optimism. When I was very young, I was taught to determine the glass was half full- not half empty.  Sometimes however, it was not always that easy and I wanted to tell Pollyanna to jump off the nearest cliff. Not unlike the simple put a bandage on the boo-boo, many times we need the support of others to bounce back and for some, it is the support of a higher being, a spiritual support. Whatever it takes to right our balance we should use it to allow us to enjoy every moment we are given.

Recently, I had a month of what can only be described as a “runaway roller coaster ride.” In the first two week, a life-long goal of travel came true, visiting countries I had always dreamed of seeing. Life was great and the experience left me wanting even more. Returning home, tired but inspired, five days later I received the news that a loved one had passed and twelve hours later another one was near death. My joy of travel evaporated to the reality of life and what I needed to do next. After two weeks of sitting in a hospital trying to be in the moment, to be a comfort, death claimed another loved one. How do I breathe, how do I find my balance again?

For me, I found my place of comfort in helping others around me through the experience. Caring, sharing and listening when needed. I found I needed Pollyanna to push me to encourage others, noting the positive things about both loved ones. Keeping the focus upon the things that made them special and lifting the conversation to good memories instead of them being gone.  One lived a very long life; the other was now released from great pain, although grieving was certainly present, it was also a time to celebrate their lives. 

Sadness was still in my heart of course, but lifting others that needed extra love made my pain easier. Resilience is needed for so many things in our lives, not just death. It can be health issues, job loss, relationship challenges. In life, we will continue to have days of joy and days we shed tears but finding the way to start again is so important. What tools of resilience are in your toolbox? Optimism, caring loved ones and friends, spiritual support, internal strength and determination, whatever you have, identify it and use it!