Just my Thoughts

Who in Your Life Has Shown You What Courage Is?

This post is part of Momalom.com’s second Five for Ten challenge.  Give us five minutes for ten days.  There are almost 60 people involved this time around.

Courage!  I am not sure that I use that word all that frequently.  There are so many reasons that I may think someone is courageous or that they have the courage of their convictions.  Maybe these will end up being two separate post as both courage and courage of convictions are worthy of discussion.

I wanted to entitle the post “Portraits in Courage” but that is a book written by John F Kennedy.  Figured plagiarism was not the way to start off Five for Ten.

Dictionary.com defines courage as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.  This applies to so many people I have known in my  life.  I want to introduce you to one of them.

The first person I want you all to meet is a good friend of mine.  We were young mothers together.  She had her first a few weeks before my first.  Her second and my second and third were just three weeks apart.  I had number four a month or so after she had number three.  She was the epitome of healthy long before it was in to be healthy.  She was also a bit older than I was.

Then, came the phone call.  Could I pick up her kids on this one day and get them to preschool?  This was not a big deal.  I had a mini-van and our kids all went to school at the same preschool.  She hesitated.  I assured her it was not a problem that I could get the two older kids of hers to preschool with mine.  She, then, continued.  Her parents would be at the house with her youngest but she didn’t want them to have to go out.

She would be at the hospital.  They had found cancer in her one breast.  She and her husband, who is a doctor, had taken the test results, the mammogram to several other doctors in and out of the area.  She had opted to have a radical mastectomy and re-constructive surgery all at once.  This was almost 20 years ago.  Surgery was prevalent and she had done the research.  She didn’t want to worry about re-occurrence.  Since that time, she has gone back to school and become an Episcopalian priest.  She has shown courage in more ways than just how she faced cancer.  She has lived a life full of courage.

Do have someone in your life that showed you what courage is?

56 thoughts on “Who in Your Life Has Shown You What Courage Is?

  1. There have been many people over the years who have shown me what courage is. Most recently, my Dad, facing his own demise, demonstrated the fortitude I have come to call courage. And, Mom – weathering the storm in the aftermath of his departure – displays courage daily. I guess you could say that I have had great examples of courage in my own life and I hope that I have as much courage within as I have seen in those I love.

  2. I can’t imagine what it took to face something like that. Just having to make phone calls and ask for help would’ve been overwhelming to me…not to mention the reason why. How fortunate that she had someone like you to support her when she needed it most.

  3. What an amazing woman. Our lives are so blessed to have examples of courage in them, in a weird I’d hate to see anyone suffering, but their strength brings questions and light to so many places we might not venture on a daily basis.

    1. You are so right, Corinne. That paradox of not wanting to see suffering but seeing the lesson in it when it occurs is amazing.

  4. I have had the privilege of meeting many people who are exceptionally courageous. But for me the epitome of courage are the people I have met who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis where over an extended period of time they end up completely paralyzed and dying a horrific death. Imagine the fear? But they face each day with courage and mostly a positive spirit and live out their lives with dignity. Truly amazing!

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Your post has me thinking about how bravely some of the people I love have faced physical illness. And I’m with CK: I rarely stop to think about how many challenges come just from a diagnosis – asking for help, doing research, all while not feeling well. Thanks for sharing this tribute to your friend and for the reminder to me of the nobility of so many who are struggling with sickness.

  6. I’m glad your friend fought and won her battle. I knew a woman just like that – she was exemplary as a coworker, an athlete, a wife and mother and now, as a cancer survivor. These are the women we will remember as we face our own struggles. They survived because of their courage, and we will too.

    Here from Momalom – great to “meet you”.

    1. Great to “meet you” too, Justine, though I have been lurking on your blog since you hopped on Twitter. 🙂

  7. It’s so inspiring to have people in our lives that show such courage. Having the strength to battle an illness like cancer is amazing. I think as mothers, we feel we have no choice but to do whatever it takes to ensure we will be there for our children. We are courageous for ourselves but also for them.

    Nice to meet you! I’m lovin’ the Five for Ten!

    1. Nice to meet you, too, Shannon. Not sure how I am going to keep up with all the reading of Five for Ten.

  8. Like you, Nicki, I worry constantly that I will not have THIS kind of courage. I can barely discuss it, because I am so superstitious about it.

  9. I always think of my mother as the most courageous woman I know, for much of the same reasons as you find this woman courageous. Although she was very sick, my mom always faced each day with a smile on her face and she still managed to take care of her children without complaining. It’s hard to say what I’d do if I had been in her situation, but it seems like extreme hardship often brings out the best in people.

  10. I’m with Liz… I so worry I wouldn’t have the courage to fight. And ironically, in so many other ways (sports/work) I am a fighter – it’s just with matters of health that I doubt myself. But so many people amaze me. Their will. Their courage.

    Your friend amazes me. And she was so lucky to have a friend there for her like you.

  11. It takes strength to show such courage in the face of death. We are all lucky to know and have known such people. Thank you for sharing her story.

  12. This is indeed a wonderful tribute to your friend. And it sounds like hers is a life filled with acts of meeting whatever comes with dignity, and giving back, to others.

  13. Nicki. I have the shivers reading this. Making the choice to have a radical mastectomy … I can’t imagine. I just can’t even conceive of the strength and, yes, courage it must take to be sure that it’s the right decision. How lucky your friend is to have had you to help out and live through this with her. What an inspiration, and I mean that in a completely non-hokey way!

  14. My goodness – so many people we all know dealing with cancer. It’s a scary thing, isn’t it?

    I’m so glad you shared a definition of courage. (I meant to do this in my own post, but forgot.) You know what, though? I think I disagree a little. I don’t think courage is acting *without fear* but acting in spite of fear. Acknowledging the fear, but continuing onward anyway. Does that make sense?

    1. I agree, to me, courage is acting in spite of fear.

      My best friend died last fall. She had cystic fibrosis and had a double lung transplant as a result. She ended up passing away despite that but she showed me first hand what courage is.

      Nicki, I loved your tribute to your friend. It let me stop for a minute and think about my friend that I lost.

      1. Thanks for stopping by, mummyjanie. I hope the memories of your friend are fond and bring you joy.

  15. What a lovely tribute to your friend. It’s amazing the strength we can find when we need to and the places that it then takes us. My father was just diagnosed with prostate cancer (literally, just over a week ago), it came a shock to all of us, but I’m seriously overcome by how much fear it instills in me and humbled by the courage and positive attitude my father is showing.

    Thanks for sharing Nicki!

  16. Wow! She sounds truly amazing. My father has shown we true courage. He was in the Army for over 25 years and in that time was deployed to fight for our country many times. He never questioned his orders. It was what he “signed up for.” I would have fought tooth and nail if I had signed up to be in the military and they kept taking me away from my family. He was courageous and knew that he would be back to be with my mom and us kids. He is a truly amazing person.

    1. Amanda – the courage it takes to be in the military just amazes me. Thank your father please. Thank you for stopping by.

  17. Another amazing woman! This song popped into my head as soon as I read your post – Tough by Craig Morgan (you know me and my songs!)


    It is for women like your friend that I am doing The Ride to Conquer Cancer – this disease affects way to many beautiful, terrific women (and men) and their families. There has to be a cure.

    Thank you Nicki for sharing your friend with us!

  18. Nicki, thank you for sharing this story. I sometimes wonder what I would do, but the thought scares me so that I immediately push it aside. I trust in the reserve of courage humans have; but I don’t really want to know how much I have.

    My mother, more and more as I’ve become a mother myself, is an example of courage for me. From the time she became a widow, raising four girls when I was in my early teens, she found a way when there was no way.

  19. Nicki,

    Wow. I can’t imagine what your friend has been through, but am glad to hear about cancer survivor story. I looked for those rays of hope so many times when my father was diagnosed. He lost his battle, but I am so glad that your friend, battled it, won, and triumphed. Thanks for this post.

    (Of course, I am over from Momalom)

  20. Sometimes, the “small” things, like reaching out to a friend for help, take just as much courage as the most daunting, unthinkable ones, like fighting cancer. What a testament your friend is on so many levels to the very definition you included at the start of your post!

  21. My aunt had the same surgery. I thought that perhaps she should have gotten more opinions before doing something so drastic, but it was what she wanted, and so she had my support. She did not want to be defined by having cancer and wanted to move past it, and she is doing great now. Your friend is equally as courageous, and you are an amazing friend for helping her. Great post!

  22. My mom showed me courage by surviving a divorce after 25 years of marriage, and going on to find love again.

    My grandma showed me courage by fighting and surviving cancer.

    These two women are so important and have really shaped my life.

  23. Beautiful story. I am so glad your friend beat the odds. I think the strongest courage is prevalent in life/death and tragic situations when we have to call in reserves that we didn’t know possible. I lost my friend to cancer, and she was the most courageous person I’ve ever known. I learned a lot from her. Thanks for sharing your friend’s story.

  24. I think it is amazing for anyone to come up against those kinds of odds and pull thru. Sounds like one awesome friend you have.

    Thanks for sharing such a great storey.

  25. I am always in awe of people who are able to show true strength and courage in what may be their darkest time – I’m not sure I would be able to do the same.

    Thanks for sharing her story.

  26. My nine year old daughter teaches me courage. She was bullied quite terribly last school year, and it was very hard on her but she came through it stronger, with compassion and more grace than I was able to muster at her age, and most amazing of all to me, she did not love sight of who she is or what is important to her.

  27. I can’t even imagine having to make that choice. I hope I’d be as brave as your friend, and I hope that I never have to find out.

    Reading her story reminded me of my sister and how proud I am of her. She’s been through so much — CF, a double lung transplant, a handful of botched surgeries, and now the need for a new kidney — and yet she’s moving to Australia at the end of the summer to pursue her dreams. If I had an ounce of our courage, what things I could accomplish!

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