Ana Veciana-Suarez: How Do We Defy Adversity? Let Me Count The Ways

By Ana Veciana-Suarez
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) How do you defy adversity? Columnist Ana Veciana-Suarez takes a look at how she and some of the special people in her life keep going by taking modest actions. As Veciana-Suarez concludes, “maybe taking deep breaths, applying [your] nose to the grindstone, taking one step, then another and another is how we defy adversity.”

Tribune News Service

The first call came three days into the new year. When I saw her name blink on my screen, I swallowed hard. For some reason, I suspected this wouldn’t be a happy conversation. It wasn’t. A dear, dear friend’s test results were back. She had cancer.

Within weeks of that announcement, two other friends received similarly awful health news. In one case, a friend’s husband’s cancer had returned with a vengeance. This time the disease had spread and his years-long battle would commence again.

In the days that followed, I participated in a flurry of prayer requests and text messages intended to lift spirits. Yet if I allowed myself to ruminate, a ripple of dread spread outward from the pit of my stomach. I felt dispirited, frightened, angry, and guilty. How selfish of me to co-opt someone else’s pain and fear!

Some years begin in a raging storm, with gales of upheaval and squalls of disruption. For me, 1995 was one of those. My first husband died of a heart attack in January, and from then on, it was one family catastrophe after another. When that year finally slipped into history, I felt as if I had survived emotional whiplash, only to be left as groggy as a boxer after a knock out.

This year I cannot claim the heartaches directly, but there’s always a companionable suffering, a vicarious anguish that accompanies bad news delivered by people close to us. Part of it, of course, is proximity and experience. I’m now of that age, as are most of my friends, when mortality may not be an intimate pal, but it’s certainly an acquaintance, one that pokes its head into our lives every so often.

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