Definition of fortitude
mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously
Recently this word was used to describe our family and it stuck in my mind, partly because I was slightly shocked at the source of it, but also because a felt a certain sense of pride in us all.
In times of adversity the main emphasis is on getting through. Extreme loss is not something you get over. I often visual the getting through like a trek through the forest, sometimes the trees are dark and foreboding, but at other times you reach a sunny clearing. There is no end to the forest, just different themes of dark and light.
Although it is not possible to see and end, it is possible to look back and see from where we have come. There can be negativity surrounding looking back, we are often told that the past is the past and cannot be changed, encouraged to look forward to the future. But in truth there is strength and courage to be gleaned from looking back, from seeing the journey we have travelled to get to the point that we now stand, how we navigated the dark times and came through them. And yes, this does not mean that there will not be more dark times ahead, but they can be attacked and endured with the same fortitude as those that have gone before them.
It does take quite a bit of tenacity to turn around and look over your shoulder at the monsters you have tackled, some may be slain and others still chasing you, and that drive is not always there, but that is okay. Sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is enough. But when you feel you have the resilience, look behind and feel inspired for how far you have come, because any distance, no matter how near or far, is all forward motion.
It is not always about the end of the battle, but the fights you win along the way.