Funny how a word that’s not used very often can keep popping up in conversation.
That’s what’s been happening with the word resilience. Three times this week: in a
plant nursery, in a recovery ward, and after a phone call with a friend who’s husband
died suddenly on Monday.
First time, I was looking for a native species to plant in our front garden. I think it’s
going to get quite hot there in the summer. A very helpful nursery assistant
suggested a Dillwynia Cinerascens – “Very resilient in this area,” she said.
Second time, was on Friday. I’d just had a simple follow up procedure in St V’s to
check that my surgery from 3 years ago had done its job. The surgeon came round,
as they do, and when I asked her how it was looking ‘in there’, she said: “the gut is
an amazing organ; it’s incredible resilient”.
Lastly, as I put the phone down, I sat for a while thinking about the nature of grief.
What an incredible kick in the guts loss is. How world-emptying the whole experience
usually is. Devastating describes it well. I just sat there for a while, looking through
the window at a big tree across the road being assaulted by a really strong wind.
Watching its branches bending and twisting and nearly breaking but in the end
returning to their usual majestic pose. I found myself thinking about my own
experiences of grief and the many people I have come to know through their grief.
And then I pondered upon just how resilient human beings really are. How they
absorb and integrate the unimaginable. Never ‘getting over it’. Never experiencing or
even wanting ‘closure’ but instead slowly bouncing back. Changed but still them in a
That’s resilience, and what an amazing human capacity it can be. Shame it has to be
put to use so often.