I am writing this post from bed as I am finding it difficult to sleep. My uncle recently passed away. His name was Michael and I called him Mikey. He was a character, a definite one in a million. As I sit and think about the adventures and laughs we had together I can’t help but smile and cry at the same time and feel overcome with sadness and happiness all at once. Although I find it easier these days to recognise and work with my emotions, grief is hard to process.
Mikey taught me so much. He taught me the importance of laughter and of courage – he also taught me plenty of practical things like how to iron a crisp crease in a pair of trousers. The main lesson I learnt from him was how to be strong. When I lost my remaining sight, he bought me a necklace. The necklace is a silver boxing glove. When he gave it to me he said, “Nina, this is a gift to remind you that you are a fighter and when times are hard you can hold onto it and feel what it means, it will keep you strong.” I kept it with me through that first year after the accident. As life move on and seasons changed, I was able to place it safely back in the box. That was until he told me he had Cancer; I never needed that little boxing glove more. I haven’t had it off my neck for the last 5 months. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy he had did not work for him and he was given a terminal diagnosis.
I held on to hope right up until the end. And I returned the strength he shared with me, gifting him his own boxing glove, a stress toy so he could squeeze it every time he needed a boost, just like my necklace had done for me.
All of this has me here thinking about strength, not looking into darkness but looking at the array of Charles Bonnet Syndrome hallucinations before me which have been horrendous lately. I am recalling all the times I have been told I am strong. After every knock down I heard, “You have the strength Nina, you are the strongest woman I know.” You don’t really know the extent of your strength until you are tested. That is when you realise how powerful it is.
My yoga instructor says that for great balance postures you need good core strength; she also added the better your core strength the more it will support you in difficult times.
I believe that strength goes beyond the mental and physical. I think it is part of your soul. It is there deep down waiting to shine when you need it. Some people don’t think it is there and can’t seem to find it. Some people know it is there and choose to ignore it. Some people use it when it is needed and let it surface when it is not required, and some know it is there and care for it by doing the things that help it grow for when it is truly needed. However, it is there in all of us and with the right encouragement and nourishment it will be there for you.
These are just my thoughts as I find my way through this darkness and allow myself to be guided by my light of strength to go beyond, to keep going and to enable me to share the strength with others just like my amazing uncle did.
I dedicate this to you Mikey. I hope to make you proud every day and be the supportive, helpful person you were. Rest in peace and enjoy doing crowd control at the pearly gates as you said you would be.
Love you forever.
Sending love to all,