Vicky over at ‘Life on the hill’ wrote an excellent post last week in which she spoke about the words ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’. Vicky said she doesn’t like the word survivor and I have to agree. It has never been a description of myself that I’ve been comfortable with. As I’ve said here before, outliving my daughter has not been a matter of skill on my part, merely circumstance and timing. Surviving my daughter’s death has only been a matter of existing past the day she died. ‘Survivor’ still leaves me defined by my loss. It is, it seems to me, a passive word in that respect. Vicky suggests instead the word ‘Warrior’; that she fights the good fight every day and feels warrior reflects her battle. I like that. I like the sound of that. It is an active word. Empowering. It denotes choice. You can be a survivor just through circumstance, by things that happen around you, that happen to you. Being a warrior is about what you choose to do in response to those things. Not being defined by events but by your own response to them. Vicky said it first, and she said it better, but I agree with her.
Definitions. How we see ourselves, how others see us. It’s been a bit of a theme for me this week. I am a true believer that knowledge is power. Son Number Two is facing long overdue reassessment. It has become apparent that there is some kind of learning difficulty. I am not afraid of a named diagnosis. I am more afraid of an assessment that doesn’t have any findings at all, because as I said, clearly there is a problem. I just don’t know what it is. In terms of educational supports, you need a firm diagnosis to access them, and it would certainly be nice to have a direction in terms of strategies and treatment. I can face anything head on, but not knowing – that kills me.
I filled in some forms for social security regarding my changed relationship status. The bureaucratic criteria given meant I ticked the ‘partner’ box. Wife was easy to discount. It is a term defined by legality, not morality as some would attest. De facto is a term I loathe; it just sounds ugly. I should note that ‘de facto’ fell into the definition for ‘partner’ – they are clearly not mutually exclusive. Partner is a term I can live with. In lots of ways too numerous to list this relationship is more of a partnership than any other I’ve known. But still, ticking a box on a form on the basis of someone elses criteria can hardly define what I’ve trouble defining myself. Shakespeare said ‘That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ and this is so. So why is some kind of definition important to me? Not for anyone’s benefit than my own. I haven’t changed my relationship status on facebook. I don’t have my relationship status on facebook anyway, and haven’t for a long while now. It’s not because of some sense of possession. Not about staking claim or marking territory. Just there are still times when I cross-check and look for evidence. Still times when I don’t trust myself, my perceptions. So much of this relationship has been about trusting my instincts; so very much. It is something I still find challenging. I can put my faith and trust in others. It is trusting myself that is the issue. At those times something concrete, less ethereal, more tangible is helpful.
I’ve known it wouldn’t always be easy, but I’ve also always known it would be worth it. I’ve known that from the very start. No proof, just instinct. Following my heart. I looked at the clock and saw it was at 11:11am. I thought of all the other 11:11’s I’ve wished on. How many of those wishes have come true beyond my wildest dreams. It is hard not to revert to default settings sometimes. Being a warrior is not about being fearless. It is about staring fear in the face and prevailing.
Keep the faith. Keep fighting the good fight. Not always easy but always worth it.