You are strong, and you can survive this. Whatever it is you are facing, whatever struggle is weighing on your heart, you can keep going. But you must give yourself permission to feel.
If I’d been able to read my future as a teenager, I would have said “No, thank you. That life can’t be for me. There’s no way I could survive all that.” And while I wouldn’t wish for illness and death at any unexpected phase of life, and certainly not with children, I would never have experienced the life I value so deeply. Gwendolyn, and because of her SMA, woke me up to my purpose. And, in our life together, I was given so many gifts. I got to savor the rich joy in the simple, witness the sheer magic of kindness, feel truly unconditional love ~ and how far all of those can carry us through the impossible.
When Gwendolyn died, I felt suffocating darkness - literal physical pain as my heart shattered. But, even then, I knew I would keep going. You see, that was another gift from Gwendolyn and SMA. Because her life was a mash of contradictions, I learned to accept that mine can be too. She couldn’t move, and yet she moved mountains. She couldn’t speak, and yet she touched hearts around the world. And I learned to feel both sorrow and joy and utter gratitude all in one moment... without it confounding me.
So, when Gwendolyn died, even though I felt broken and heavy, I still noticed the beauty in the sunsets. And I never felt guilty for laughing at her little sister’s antics or for savoring every muscle as her tiny arms hugged my neck. I gave myself permission to grieve and live at the same time.
I won’t pretend the pain is easy or that I’ve triumphed over it. But I have kept on going through it all. And I know you can too. NEVER GIVE UP.
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