Welcome to Unwritten's part of the worldwide A-Z Blog Challenge!! Every day in April (except Sundays), we'll have a new post related to the letters of the alphabet from A-Z. Our theme here on Unwritten is "I Will Survive". I hope these stories will inspire and uplift you. Comments are VERY appreciated!
W is for What is a Survivor?
Bree T. Donovan
Firstly, my apology to Mysti for my being such a bad little elf as far as this assignment goes. I had every intention and desire to fully participate, but then LIFE derailed me! But, my own small struggles of late provided me with more food for thought on my chosen topic.
There were so many people I was inspired to write about. Their faces came to me like a beautiful collage; all the people who had taught me invaluable life lessons- showing incredible courage and strength when I would have fallen under the weight of such heavy burdens. These people are, in no particular order: Steve Prefontaine, the young runner from Oregon who accomplished more in his all too short 24 years of life than most do with twice the time. Elie Wiesel, an Auschwitz survivor-escaping death while a mere teenager. As a man, Professor Wiesel writes novels exploring the true nature of love, peace and hope. My mom, who endured several serious surgeries over the years, divorced a cold and unloving husband after thirty-three years of marriage, and came through breast cancer. She is beloved in my hometown and for good reason. My best friend from high school, and sister of the heart who I still can’t believe is a “grown up” with two beautiful daughters. I can honestly say that I have never heard her say a mean word about anyone, no matter how bad times got for her, and as for all of us; times got bad!
I find a common thread connecting these people. They have fought to hold on to life no matter what life threw at them. But, also they survived because death simply wasn’t an option. Ironically enough, I learned this from the suicide support group I counseled years ago. These fragile souls knew all too well what it meant to literally stand on the thin, breakable line that separates life and death. Some where pulled back by a friend, a gracious stranger, or just happened to fall back on the right side of the line. Many times, merely going through the motions to make it through one day is an incredible act of endurance for them.
I look at what appears to be the height of the pendulum’s swing on each side, and I realize the distance is not so vast. My ‘heroes’ that I mentioned did indeed fight valiantly for life. I carry them around with me like a jar of fireflies. But, those who at first glance would seem to be looking to death as some kind of beacon are also fighting for life. They are climbing up from the bottom of the darkest well. They are flailing against the pull of the strongest tide, loneliest silence, biting hunger, sweet temptation of pain, and the weight of substance, body.
What is a survivor? Ultimately, it is for our own selves to answer. For me, a survivor is each one of us who lives encased in this human flesh, tied to this good and delicate earth and still rise each day with the intention to make it through.
Bree has been a ‘Jill of many trades’ over the years. Some she has loved more than others! She has been a music teacher, animal advocate and educator, aspiring author, and is currently working on her MA at Rutgers University. Bree is sure that if she floods the universe with enough positive thoughts, she will get that horse farm and animal sanctuary she has been dreaming of most of her life.