How to Face Death Head-On. When the “C” word slithers its way into… | by Tess Obenauf | Jan, 2024

When the “C” word slithers its way into your family

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

I look at life with a positive outlook. It’s a very cognitive choice in my day that starts before I even open my eyes.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its downs. It does—plenty of them.

That’s why I decided to put exercise into action a long time ago.

Some people think of exercise as a gym. Sure. That’s a perfect analogy. If you want to be strong, then apply yourself. Lift those weights. Use that crazy rope. Let your foot Ferraris wear down on the trails when you jog.

I wanted to be happy, which isn’t something my family and childhood taught me.

So I applied myself. And yeah, maybe it took too long to realize it, and my kids were mostly grown, but I learned to apply my chosen mindset repeatedly.

The violence in my life disappeared. I had to end a marriage because we — myself and our children — were held accountable for the emotions of the man of the house. I learned to put distance between myself and toxic people who are still anchored in the patterns I learned in my childhood. I had to stay away from people from his family and my family to avoid emotional manipulation, blackmail, gaslighting, and outright psychological abuse. To this day, many haven’t changed.

What has changed is seen mostly in my children and myself. We made it through those days and my kids have found partners who, for the most part, meet them eye-to-eye on matters of mental health.

We all have our baggage, but working on it and working it out together is how we last. Being honest and transparent when we talk has been a big part of it. We make it through by toughing things out and leaning on one another.

And yet — here it comes.

The biggest exercise of my life is now — when one of my children revealed they have been diagnosed with cancer — and my heart is exploding.

I’m glad it came now. I’m grateful to have had almost 25 years of practicing this mindset and being happy. I’m thankful I have learned that I can hurt, and still be happy. Life may ache, and try to lead me down a path of worry and concern but then the practice starts.

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