Let’s hear it for resiliency!

March 28, 2021

In searching for a topic for my column, I decided to look back at the some of the ones I’ve published in the past. I opened the binder marked 2013, and reread No. 8: “Life is a house with heart-shaped rocks.” Ever feel like you were meant to see something you had forgotten? Something relevant?

Here are some excerpts from my Jan. 18, 2013 column: “I heard from one local resident who wrote, ‘Years ago I read a book called Simple Abundance which suggested we think about life as a house with different rooms, and that we should visit one room each day – physically, spiritually and intellectually. It worked for me. I joined a gym, read, am part of a religious community and have girls’ night out often!”

“Last week I met the Rev. Rita B. Nelson, who shared her thoughts with me. Rita felt that her first months of retirement ‘felt like falling off a cliff ... we yearn for retirement, we itch for that free time ... until we wake up and realize ... now what? If we’re not careful, we can fall into a syndrome of not letting go. But if we are resilient, we’ll dust ourselves off, say goodbye to that part of our life, and move on to whatever new and interesting challenges await us.’ Rita told me that she has written a book, and I suggested she join the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild. If you think you may like to write for publication or just for fun, check out the website and see if something strikes your fancy!”

“On Sunday afternoon, my husband Ray and I walked the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park. I began looking for stones in the shape of a heart, as my friend Holley collects these. Most of the time all I find are rocks shaped like noses – Jimmy Durante or Elmo. But I found one heart and will save it for my friend’s collection. She keeps her heart rocks in a large bowl the size of a wok in her kitchen where visitors can marvel at their heart-shaped accuracy.”

Fast forward to March 2021, and everything has changed for my friends Holley and Rita. They are now widows. We had lost touch, but last week Holley called to catch up. Her laugh was delightful! She has fallen in love again and has grandchildren to cuddle.

Rita not only joined the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild, but she published her novel “Always Kristen, a Memoir” in 2017, the same year my first novel “Find Me Alone” also debuted. We signed copies to one another and became friends.

She and her husband Ralph were regulars at our monthly Songs and Stories events. Ralph was Rita’s biggest fan as Rita read her humorous anecdotes. Ralph passed away about a year ago, and she has had to navigate her grief too, which Holley once described as “navigating the ocean in a rowboat.”

Many of us have felt that way as we say goodbye to loved ones who were like rooms inside our hearts. As seniors, we know about grief too well.

Yet today is the first week of spring! As we raise our vaccinated arms in the air, let’s hear it for resiliency!

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