This year as we prepared for our second Christmas without my father, I started thinking about how far we have come as a family and how it must be a sign of our resiliency. Before my father passed, none of us could have imagined facing Christmas without him. This year, my son turned four and he had a better understanding of this mysterious man we call Santa. He knows that gifts come from Santa and that Christmas time means tons of family under one roof. His daily excitement somehow took me away from that pain and emptiness deep in my gut. Is it resiliency, is it healing, is it distraction? Perhaps it is a combination of all of that, but something about it is familiar. I suspect it is familiar because I’ve seen it. I’ve witnessed people endure horrific tragedies, yet somehow, over a period of time, figure out how to smile again. Aside from my own experiences, my profession takes me into the trenches at times. It reveals a side of humanity that is dark. Those I have had the privilege of working with frequently make it out of that darkness, somehow.
The American Psychological Association reports that resiliency is ordinary, not extraordinary. It certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t feel pain, hurt, sorrow or grief, but we were created to endure hardships and our bodies, minds and hearts know how to heal from them. I remember someone saying one time “if only the world would stop for a little bit, to let us deal with our personal tragedies.” I remember feeling that when Dad died; however, a year and a half later and I am glad that the world didn’t stop. I am glad that my son didn’t stop laughing, playing and seeing the good things in life and I am glad that my staff didn’t stop working to help others and to make this a better community.
We all remember people quoting Mr. Rogers after September 11th, saying “Look for the helpers.” I guess that has somewhat become cliché now, but during my darkest days, this has resonated with me. There is good in the world. The minute that Dad’s soul left this earth, good things were happening. I am thankful that the world didn’t stop that day. I know Dad would be thankful too.