The Survivor

Photo by Jordan Donaldson | @jordi.d on Unsplash

~Kim Libertini

Some people give themselves titles and others earn them. I owe part of my title to the nurture of a woman who somehow managed to carry me through a war-ravaged country, in order to drop me off on the doorstep of an orphanage, with the hope that I would escape Vietnam in Operation Babylift. She believed I was a survivor.  

As if requiring proof, life seemed to challenge this claim and collected the evidence of my ability to survive. I viewed the display of emotions, pain, loss and grief as weak. Back then I thought I was a pillar of strength when faced with the death of my father. When my mother died, after having tucked my emotions tightly, I knew I was no longer just a survivor. I was the sole survivor.

The loss of my marriage and path of divorce caused a compounded grief that jabbed at my strength and leaked my emotions. At that time, I questioned if I actually had enough left in me to survive.  I wondered after Adam’s death, how I could possibly survive in a world that had gone that dark with a life that had shattered into a million pieces. I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t considered giving up. I have learned that being a survivor means expressing emotions, feeling pain, recognizing loss, and navigating grief while loving and honoring those I have lost along the way.  Four years later and glad that I didn’t give up, I can tell you, I’m proudly still earning my title as a survivor.  


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