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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Surviving

   Surviving. That word holds a lot of weight for me now.  I always though it odd to see that word in obituaries..."he/she is survived by....".  I didn't survive anything when B died.  We weren't put in a life threatening situation together where I made it through and he didn't. He just went on without me. Now, my day to day life is a survival.
     Every night when I go to bed I have survived another day of the "new normal".  Every day I wake up I have survived another night of sleeping alone in a big empty bed with nothing but my rambling thoughts to keep me company.  Every day (at least for this month) I have tried to write something about this journey through young widowhood. Then that gets me thinking about all of the other kind of survivors that are out there: Survivors of cancer. Survivors of tragedy. Survivors of the loss of a child. Survivors of the loss of a parent. Survivors of war. Survivors of trauma.

Is their surviving different than mine? Is it better? Is it worse? I wonder what they think of their survival...do they feel like heroes or do they feel cheated? Does the word survivor mean different things to different people?

     I have always thought that the word survivor should be used when one overcomes something horrific.  One doesn't SURVIVE a bad day at work, you just deal with it.  You SURVIVE a car accident that you were injured in. I suppose it is all in the wording, and since I am considered a survivor, I have a tendency to not use the word very lightly. I suppose I can see the confusion surrounding it though.  My mom always told me that just because I don't find something incredibly stressful (having been through all of the crap I have been through in my life), doesn't mean others feel the same way. It is all subjective. On a scale of 1-10, what is a 2 for me could be someone else's 10.  I suppose it is all a matter of perspective.

     Tell me, are there any words you feel can be used in a subjective way? What do you feel about the word SURVIVOR?

3 comments:

  1. I thought about this last night after I read your post and the word "pain" is another subjective word. I know when you go to the doctor and you are in pain, they will ask you to grade it on a scale of 1-10. Subjectively for the same injury, I might rate it as a 3/10; you might 6/10, and like you said, it could be all a matter of perspective.

    I think survivor could be a "feel good" type of word. We want to label our experience and that we have made it through, that we have worked hard at it, struggled with going through it, and I think that's why we use the words survivor or survive. Its an interesting perspective you did mention here; one that I don't think I could do any justice trying to sort it out.

    betty

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    1. Pain is definitely a subjective word! I always think of that when I am asked to give a number on the pain scale...I almost want to ask the nurse what their interpretation is of the number scale before I answer.

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  2. You are truly a survivor. I'm glad to know you're writing and reaching out too.
    I consider myself a survivor. I survived my first husband. And you know what? It was tough. There were days I didn't think I could mentally or physically be a good mom to my kids because I was so wrapped up in my own grief. That grief was so immense, it nearly broke me in the beginning. So, yeah, we're survivors. And, you're right, people don't just survive a rough day at work. They put up with it.

    Betty brings up a good point too. I get migraines and I have an auto immune disease. Pain is a way of life for me right now. So when I hear someone say, "I had the worst migraine the other day." Then talk about taking some aspirin and carrying on…ugh! So frustrating.

    But, what can you do? To each their own and until someone has walked in your shoes, they can't understand your pain or understand how well you've survived. So, I have to let it go. Because, I don't know their pain either.

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