A few weeks ago, I received a message from a friend, asking if I could contribute to a book she was writing about RESILIENT women in Nova Scotia…stories about 2020…and how we’ve all pushed through a difficult year.
After a wee bit of persuasion…I’d agreed to give it a go.
But boy-oh-boy did I struggle!
For one…I’ve not felt like writing much for quite some time (which is pretty odd for me). For two…I so often think of myself as a “blogger” and not a “writer”, and deal with “imposter syndrome” when I try to cross that line. For three…as much as I’ve found this year to be incredibly tough, I didn’t feel my story deserved to be in a book…because quite simply, others have had a much more challenging year than me.
Take Karen Dean for instance…the woman who put this book together and who truly, incredibly…is one of the most RESILIENT women I know!
Karen’s friend Gina Goulet, was killed during April’s mass shooting in Portapique, Nova Scotia. While “devastated” doesn’t come close to describing how Karen felt…she put all of her emotions into something positive and started the “Nova Scotia Strong” fundraiser through her clothing shop, Countryfied Clothing.
Karen and her family began filling orders of sweatshirts and t-shirts for people around the world who wanted to support the families of those who were killed…putting her own life and career on hold…to raise money for others.
She started with a goal of $10,000 and quickly surpassed that as the project grew.
At $96,000, Karen wrote a check and completed her fundraising work just shy of one hundred thousand dollars.
So…why’d she stop?
In the midst of everything else going on in her life…while she was grieving and turning her grief into something positive…this single mom of three faced a brand new challenge.
Her son Hunter, was diagnosed with cancer.
For the next several months, Karen’s Instagram photos and stories showed her sitting in her truck, in the hospital’s parking lot…unable to be inside due to Covid restrictions…while her son was inside receiving his chemo treatments, and her girls were back at the farm, holding down the fort.
AND I’M SUPPOSED TO WRITE A STORY ABOUT MY CHALLENGING YEAR!!!
The thing is…Karen is the EPITOME of RESILIENT…along with so many of the other women she chose to include in her book. And here’s me…over here…with not a whole lot to say!
And yet…while I was asked to write a story for a book called “We are Unbreakable“…I was feeling very, very breakable.
This year has been a challenge for so many of us, for so many reasons…some big like Karen’s and the other contributors in the book…and some a bit smaller…like mine.
2020 is coming to a close and while I can’t say anything huge or traumatic has happened to me…I have felt ALL THE THINGS as one thing after the next seems to keep piling up this year. I have been LONELY…lonelier than I have ever been in my life. I have been scared, bored, worried about my livelihood, my health, and the health of my family and friends. I have grieved the loss of 22 people I didn’t know…felt for every single person who couldn’t be with their loved ones, prayed for seniors in nursing homes, felt so bad for each and every person who had to cancel plans from proms to graduations to weddings, repeatedly felt thankful for front line workers, and was horrified for those who couldn’t be with their loved ones in their final days let alone hold a proper funeral! I felt ALL THE THINGS and have cried more this past year for people I didn’t know…than I thought humanly possible.
It took me FOREVER to write my contribution to the book, We are Unbreakable. I wrote, rewrote…rewrote again while missing every single deadline. I finally slapped together my feelings and sent it to my friend for editing knowing it wasn’t my best piece of work…but it was done.
I’m not sure it belongs in the book and to be honest, I feel a little vulnerable and, for lack of a better word, embarrassed, that it’s even in there. However, Karen has assured me that it belongs.
Because here is the thing…even for those of us who didn’t face the “big stuff” this year…we all still faced a whole whack of challenges and anxieties that came so close to breaking us…but we all pushed through.
I spend a lot of my life comparing my situation with others…thinking that “well it’s not as bad as xyz”…or “abc has it much harder than me”…and in many ways, that comparison helps me to put things in perspective. But perspective or not…it’s still been a hard year. On me…on you…and on so many people around us.
Every single person could write a story for that book…and I’m sure, you’ll see a bit of yourself, in each and every chapter through the stories of remarkable, resilient, women.
We are unbreakable.
“We are Unbreakable” is available now on Amazon. It’s a compilation of stories from 22 women throughout Nova Scotia…and our thoughts on this past year. (Affiliate links.)
Special thanks to Karen…for including me in her book (and I truly hope you edited my story to make sense!)
In honour of the 22 innocent people (plus baby Beaton) that were taken from us so tragically in April, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Society to establish a bursary fund aimed at women in rural Nova Scotia who have overcome adversity and barriers to pursue their education and who demonstrate the qualities of resilience and strength that are captured in the book.
Once again, Colleen, your feelings can be felt, they come to the forefront. Almost everyone who reads this will connect with at least a part of it. Thanks!