Monday, April 13, 2009

Your ability to survive

On Saturday, I had the rare treat of splurging on a pedicure and the nail place was quite busy before Easter. So, I also had the rare pleasure of an uninterrupted hour to read and browse through the table full of magazines while waiting. Somewhere in that large pile of magazines I read a short editorial about Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling's 2008 Harvard Commencement speech. It struck such a chord with me that when I went to Barnes & Noble to pick up a book my oldest needs to read for a book report, I looked through the magazines there trying to find the article. But I couldn't find it. Today, I went back to the nail salon and went through the table of magazines, again coming up empty handed. Then I noticed that the Real Simple magazine wasn't there. (Someone probably took it home under their coat!) Was that where I'd seen it? That magazine would be more likely to publish such an editorial than a fashion or gossip magazine. I left discouraged but upon getting home did a search on the internet and found the whole text of the speech and the section that had caught my attention. So here it is. Very inspiring to me. I thought about all the hardship I've experienced since my husband's death and these words have soothed me.

From J.K. Rowling's June 6, 2008 Harvard Commencement speech:

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned."

Today I am grateful for:

1. The internet.
2. Finding quotes like this when I need them the most.
3. The advice of others who know what this is like because they've been there.
4. My less depressed mood.
5. Heat, running water, and a washer/dryer (no dishwasher though).


  1. Eastbourne widowJune 30, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Everyone says time heals, no it does not. You just learn to adapt, you have no choice when on your own. You do not ever "emerge wiser and stronger" you live day to day just trying to get through. I lost my husband nearly two years ago, we had a very happy marriage and we knew the strength of our relationship. I believe the greater the love you had the greater the sorrow.

    It does all come down to love, yes, love with all your might and tell those you love everyday that you love them.

    My husband was not ill and passed away in a second, neither of us knew, but seconds before we had told each other how much we loved one another.

    Never go to bed without making up if you have had words, love is all that matters.

  2. Eastborne Widow - I find it very moving that you and your husband spoke of your love before his passing. I did not have that opportunity with my husband and it haunts me even years later. I hear what you are saying about not "emerging wiser and stronger." Yes, a lot of widowhood is just getting through day-by-day. But I hope this experience has made me a more loving, tolerant and giving person.