November is a month of reflection for me. Recently, hubby and I took a walk thru the woods. I turned around to see what was behind me, I was surprised by what I saw. It was a whole different view. It occurred to me at that moment, that we shouldn’t be afraid of looking back at what happened in the past. You might be surprised at how far you’ve come. November is the month my boyo collapsed in front of me, I kneeled at his side doing cpr, talking to the 911 operator, praying. I stayed at his side thru ambulances, emergency rooms. He coded that day and survived. I stayed by his side thru a coma, thru years of pain and very little sleep. November is also the month of hope, he came out of the coma, he went into remission. He survived. It was 19 years ago. He has battled valiantly, he fought thru treatment, He fights thru conditions he has now, that were caused by the treatment. He continues to survive.

The important thing about looking back at what’s behind us is not to get stuck that way because then, we’ll never move forward. It’s been a strange year, so many feel stuck and frightened by what’s happening around us. I understand that fear. However, I also know what survival means, it comes from a great struggle. That word though, survivor, survival, survived, whatever the form, it has so much meaning. There is growth, joy and strength that comes from survival, many times there is trauma too.

The picture at the top of this page is special to me, it involves what it takes to survive. The earrings are a symbol of survival and healing. I found them thru @tiny_art1 she made them and explained the meaning behind them. It struck a chord with me. They are wings and a tear drop that have been bound up to heal. Since, it is a month of reflection for me, they hold a very special place in my heart. You see, when my boyo was going thru treatment, it was so very painful for him, I would hold him and his tears would stream down my back. Sometimes it felt as though they were etched forever into my back. And yet, we survived.

Really, it’s survival I’m writing about today. It seems fitting for this month and this year. Survival takes being strong when you think you have no strength. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish. The traumas become part of you. You must survive those too. Childhood trauma is a difficult beast to battle. the damage appears later in life. I look at my boyo now. I am so proud. He lost his joy a few years ago but he never stopped fighting to find it again. He’s been through so much, but he never stops fighting for his survival. It’s true I am an emotional being. I used to apologize for that, I do not anymore. If your child hurts you hurt, it means you are a parent. Isn’t it what we’re meant to do? We love, we guide, we help, we teach, we protect.

I have reflected on the past quite a bit the last few years. Did I do enough to protect him? Why couldn’t I stop the trauma that haunts him now? These are questions any parent would ask, when, they see their grown child in pain from the trauma he endured as a child. It took some time to find the right help, there are some wonderful people who specialize in childhood trauma, who also understand that there is damage done by the treatment itself, like the high dose methatrexate, the radiation to the brain, the coma and lack of oxygen. After much reflection, I know I did everything in my power to do what was best for him. There was so much that could not be stopped. And yet, there was so much I and his dad did stop. We gave him all the protection and love that we had. Survival means scars. Some scars take a long time to heal.

Little by little they are healing. When I paused to look back over the last few years, I saw how far we’ve come. We move in such small steps when we heal, sometimes we don’t realize what progress we’ve made. Scars will remain but they are fading. Survival means hard work, recovering does too. It’s a journey that is worth taking. Joy comes of it, love comes of it, gratitude comes of it. And those things are valuable to have. So, as we battle through this very strange year, let me tell you, survival is a badge of honor. We keep fighting to survive, to find joy in our day, to share love, to share some laughter. We are very grateful for what survival has taught us.

Take a moment and tell your loved ones you love them, you’ll never regret kindness. Don’t be afraid to look behind you once in awhile, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come. Sending love to you all.

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