FEBRUARY 19, 2019

There is not a day that goes by when I'm not asking myself at least a dozen times how I'm going to make it. A dozen more how have you made it intermittently show up, as well. How have I made it & how will I continue to make it?

The rival to resilience is depression. Each take energy as one is transforming into this belief of themselves, whether it be succumbing to believing you are destined to a life of misfortune or the opposite, believing you are here for a reason & will persevere through anything. Why do certain people become resilient, living a life of fortitude & others get eaten alive by darkness? What kind of event, if any, needs to set a person down either of these paths? Are we inherently prone to either of these paths?

I don't know.

I know I have had 2 traumatic experiences in my life, with a 3rd on its way. There have been other things I would consider as being semi-traumatic, such as being told I could possibly never have my own biological children (thanks to God & science I was able) & having a narcissistic biological father (thanks to God & my mother, I was moved away from him & the kindest soul & best role model took his position).

I fully believe my first traumatic experience was the catalyst to my resilience. Whether I had that resilience prior somewhere hidden is unknown. This experience made me question everything I knew about life, God, & our purpose here as humans.

In my 20's I had the most awesome job, simply because it was with a small, family owned business. My co-workers & I were pretty close; taking ciggie breaks together while solving the worlds problems, going out after work to the local dive, and many, many hours spent after work having office hangouts.

I was in long sleeves & jeans & I vaguely recall snow; must've been winter. I worked in the front office with a couple of other women & the owners. Down the hall & through the door was the warehouse, where around 20 men worked. They ranged in age & background, each with their own stories.

It was the end of the day at work & the girls & I up front were gossiping about something, I'm sure. As I replay this in mind, I remember the warehouse manager suddenly appearing at my desk, in shock. I didn't realize he was in shock at the time but it is so very clear looking back on it now. He could barely get the words out to call 911. I just stared at him & asked what/why a couple of times before it became apparent I really did need to call. Freddy has collapsed in my office & won't wake up. I put paper towels under his head. After some time, that's all I've retained from that exchange, along with I don't know if he's breathing. I picked up the phone & pressed 9-1-1 for the 1st time ever in my life. I was terrified. The operator calmly asked me questions to which most I replied I don't know. Then came a question I did know the answer to; does anyone there know CPR?

I was certified in it. For what felt like an eternity, my conscious had a little debate regarding letting it be known I was the only person who knew CPR in that entire building. I legit considered keeping it to myself but as a child I've always assumed people could read my thoughts (projection) & convinced myself this operator knew I knew my CPR. My conscious & fear of this random operator reading my mind prompted me to drop/hand off the phone & run to the warehouse.

There lay one of my co-workers; an old man that smoked at least 2 packs a day, always a story to tell, & a smile on his face. He had a wife he always talked about, children, & grandchildren. There were at least 10 male warehouse workers just standing around him, not doing anything; helpless & scared, I'm sure. Running into that situation I didn't see those guys as scared & helpless; I saw them as weak & I hate that. I screamed at them, why in the hell are you all just standing here; do something! But, they didn't move. I knelt next to this man, a man I'd worked with for 3 years. I became a robot, methodically doing each step as I'd learned it. I didn't think, I just did.

I became a robot, counting compressions in my head & silently cussing the ambulance that was taking forever. Then I broke his rib. The feeling of that moment physically & mentally stays with me to this day.

Although he wasn't breathing when I started CPR, I thought I'd killed him by breaking his rib with compressions. That rib punctured his heart, I just knew it. Still, I carried on, counting silently in my head, watching the clock because what else could I do but keep trying?

After 15 minutes of this, the saviors of life arrived & off he went on a stretcher. I went back to my desk, put my head in my hands & prayed while my co-workers stared at me, not knowing what to say. I felt like the freak that killed Freddy. I heard someone ask outloud why the ambulance hadn't left yet. I glanced at the clock again, 10 minutes had passed since they'd taken him. If he was alive, they'd be gone by now.

I realized then that I didn't save him & my God, was I gutted. I sobbed while the obligatory you did everything you could was heard every once in awhile.

His family wrote me the kindest thank you card that I still have to this day. They thanked me for being the only person to try. They asked me not to blame myself, that God was calling him home. They told me they are thankful for me & proud of me.

That card & a lot of therapy got me through that experience. This was the initial trauma God knew I needed, to prepare myself for the 2nd trauma (betrayal) & the 3rd (my mothers cancer).

Was I resilient before this? Probably. If I weren't, I wouldn't have done CPR in the first place. This leads me to believe that we are all resilient. Some are put through uncontrollable situations that make that resilience stronger, sooner than others. I know for a fact you all have been or will go through at least one experience in life that tests your fortitude. Trust in God & know that you are capable of being strong. Your strength lies within you.

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