By Marlene Tavares
The other day I came across a quote that said, “We are made of flesh and bone but we must live as though we are made of steel.” This quote really resonated with me because I think about this a lot. About how difficult life can be to live sometimes yet no matter how much pain we feel or how many traumatic situations we go through, we are still here and standing.
We all get to a point in our life when our resilience as humanbeings is not only tested, but also strengthened. Times so difficult we think we would be better off dying than to live through the circumstances given to us. For me, that difficult time came 3 years ago when my daughter Leila was diagnosed with Autism. It was one of those moments that just completley turned my world upside down and my whole life changed in a split second. Suddenly, everything was uncertain, scary, and overwhelming. Every day after that consisted of anger, deep sadness, fear, and doubts. The idea of raising a child with special needs was debilitating to me. I spent hours and days researching articles on the internet I never thought I would need to regarding Autism. I also spent days searching for therapy centres, taking Leila to endless appointments and assessments, and attending meetings. I was so overwhelmed. I was also depressed and scared thinking about her future and the fact that I had no idea what life would be like for her. Fast forward 3 years later, Leila is now 5 years old. She is doing IBI therapy full time as well as seeing a speech therapist. Although she is still non verbal she has really come a long way in the past few years.
Looking back now I can’t believe I got through all those sleepless nights and overwhelming days. If someone told me years ago that this would be my life one day I would have never believed them. Eventhough things are still challenging with Leila and as stressful as being a special needs parent can be, I still manage to get through each day standing firm and ready for the next. I have become resilient as a result of this Autism journey I have had to take and I became a stronger individual and mother because of it. I’m still here because my daughter and her future mean everything to me and I cannot afford to give up.
Take a moment to reflect on an exceptionally challenging time in your life. Have you ever been through something so difficult and painful that you thought you would never get past it? But yet you did. And you will again. We are a lot more resilient than we think. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. We must feel pain, anger, sadness, and fear at some point in our life if we are going to become stronger. It is in times of weakness that we find our strength. You were designed to endure even the most difficult situations life throws at you. Don’t underestimate the depth of your resilience in this life, Superman got nothing on you.