Resilience is an invaluable trait for everyone; for military families, resilience is essential to emotional survival. Military families are fettered with constant challenges which both necessitate and build resilience in them. One moment that helped me build my resilience is one I remember very clearly from 16 years ago.
On December 24, 2002, Horatio called to tell me that his ship’s deployment, scheduled for late spring, had been moved up and he was deploying to the Middle East on January 6th, instead. The ship had just returned from conflict in March of that year, so this was especially heartbreaking news. I was walking through Sears Department Store, after having portraits taken of my then four year old and two year old sons when I got this news. I remember the moment quite vividly. My heart sunk to my gut and I wanted to crumble. But, there I was, in the middle of a store with my two small children, so I stood up straight and continued on my way. I immediately turned my focus to the tasks that lay before me. We were due to relocate from Bremerton, WA to Leavenworth, KS in less than six months. With Horatio departing for deployment, I had to come up with a plan that would best support our whole family. After hurried, but thoughtful, discussion we decided that the best way to handle this was to quickly arrange to move out of our Washington house and into my parents’ home for the duration of the deployment so that we could easily relocate to Kansas immediately upon his return. This meant multiple phone calls and emails to schedule the movers, transport of our vehicles, and find preschools in my hometown; not to mention mentally preparing for yet another long separation from my husband/ my children’s father. In this case, resilience was key to avoiding a complete breakdown. The experience required resilience but also helped to build it for future episodes. An element of resilience is the ability to react with a plan to move forward. By focusing on the way ahead, one can avoid a meltdown and a crippling reaction to a potentially devastating turn of events. This ability is an invaluably essential skill for military families. Consciously building this strength can help to fortify military families against the many obstacles thrown their way.
The young women in the true story told in the soon to open movie, The Miracle Season, show great resilience. The movie is based on the inspiring story of West High School women’s volleyball team. After the tragic death of the school’s star player, Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hope of winning the state championship. It is a story of resilience and strength.
The film opens in theaters on April 6 and stars Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Danika Yarosh, and Erin Moriarty. Don’t miss it!