When people hear my story I often get asked where I find my strength. Now for those of you who don’t know me, the reason I get asked this question is because I lost my dad at 10, my sister at 17 and my mum lost her fight with cancer 3 weeks before my wedding day. Yep… some would say that’s pretty bad luck!
My dad had always had heart issues. The story as I know it is that my dad, who grew up in Northern Ireland was working on a farm as a child and got pneumonia which weakened his heart. He was always in and out of hospital when I was a child having various heart operations.
Like me, he did a lot of international travel for work (in fact our paths are eerily aligned!) and unfortunately at the age of 58, when I was 10 and my sister was 20, he suffered a heart attack whilst on business in Moscow. This was of course devastating to us, and my mum but it made us so close.
My sister also had the travel bug and had a job as a photographer on a cruise ship. Her job also took her all over the world (and gave us some lovely holidays as well!). She was just 27, and I just 17 when she was in a fatal car accident in Hawaii.
This was hard on me, but for my mum, it was unbearable. It caused her the most unimaginable pain. She never got over this, but her, and I became even closer. So when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was 21, it did feel like the world was against us. Now, anyone that knows anything about ovarian cancer knows it is called the silent killer. It is incredibly hard to detect and survival rates are pretty depressing.
My mum was given 3 months to live and survived 3 years which I am forever grateful for.
Now, I am not telling you this story because I want you to feel sorry for me. I wanted to tell this story to explain why I believe people have more inner strength than they can ever imagine.
I listened to a lady called Kris Hallenga on Fearne Cottons ‘Happy Place’ podcast this morning. Kris Hallenga was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at the age of 23 and out of this, she decided to start the Coppafeel charity. She is of course incredible and I am a huge fan of her, but there was one thing that she said in this podcast which I specifically agreed with. She said that she wishes that more people could find their strength and their passion without it being out of tragedy.
This is so true and when people ask me where I have found my strength, I just want to shine a mirror into their eyes and show them that it is not just me that has this! We all have this inner strength and the capability to survive almost anything the world throws at us. I truly believe that if more people know what they were capable of and the strength they have within them, then the world would be a much better place.
There is of course always someone worse off than you and I have always been someone who focuses on what I do or did have rather than what I do not have. However this is something I do consciously, it is a frame of mind that we can all train ourselves to do. Focus on what you have to be grateful for, no matter how small it may be, and you can find so much inner strength from this.