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the tenacity of the human spirit

Danielle works in my office. She is 60 years old, divorced for the last 27 years and currently grappling with cancer.

We were talking recently about her medical situation and more facts about her life came out. Maybe because she was feeling particularly talkative or vulnerable she trusted me with the specifics.

Back in 1987 her dog died, then her 7 year old daughter suffered a drowning incident and ultimately died in hospital some months later. Later that same year her husband asked for divorce and he eventually re-married, almost adding insult to injury, to one of the nurses who was looking after their dying daughter.

Then while she was away from the hospital celebrating her birthday Danielle's mother (who had her encouraged her to leave her daughter`s bedside for a short while) died suddenly at her home. She was 56 years old.

Danielle is like Job in the Bible asking God how much more suffering will be brought his way. Yet she has retained a philosophical and strong character after living through horrifying experiences that might have permanently destroyed her spirit.

Today she thrives on and looks at her cancer with the resignation that whatever is to happen will; yet she is devoid of pessimism. Sometimes people like this are exposed to great challenges which only serve to inspire others who might think they have it tough but they really don't.

Danielle is made of strength that many of us think we don’t possess and yet the human spirit can be an amazing thing.


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