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The Survivors Club

By Molly Bice-Jackson - 4:55 PM

I don't like Glen Beck. Is that ok? (Do I really need to tell you why? Come on. The guy could talk about musical theatre and I would turn the radio off. Have you seen THIS? A classic high school favorite recently re-introduced to me. Thanks, Melissa! That's Glen Beck to me. Just different words.)

You can imagine my shock when, part way into an enthralling book that Vic toted home in his pile from the library, I was told it came "highly recommended" by said yahoo. Well darn, no amount of loathing could persuade me to put it down. It's called The Survivors Club. And it's brilliant. Thanks, Glenny boy.

The book starts off by introducing its readers to the three rules of survival: 1) Everyone is a Survivor. 2) It's NOT all relative 3) You're Stronger Than You Know

Poignantly depicting these rules are stories of people heroically surviving insane tragedies. I'm talking falling 30,000 ft. out of an airplane onto a glacier, being stabbed by a wooden knitting needle through the sternum and into the heart (and then discovering acute stages of breast cancer during the surgery to remove the needle), to being attacked by a mountain lion. I would have never believed one could survive such tragedies. And then I think...look at me. I'm surviving a horrific tragedy. Though mine is not so outwardly physical as theirs, it is downright daunting and life-altering just the same.

A few interesting things have happened since Lucy died and people started reading our blog. One being that I receive emails from other survivors telling me of failing marriages, chronic illness, miscarriages, and of course death. Sometimes people approach me at church or around town and open up to me about their personal stories of survival. Almost always, however, they will say something along the lines of, "But it's nothing compared to what you're going through. I'm sorry to complain, etc." I want to say (and sometimes have), "But what you are going through IS important. It IS a big deal and I'm so sorry." Yes, sometimes illnesses go away, marriages are repaired, and other miracles wrought. But in the survival game of life, rule number 2 is in play. It's not all relative. To quote the from the book:

" When it comes to adversity, it's human nature to make comparisons. Which is worse? Getting trapped in the freezing Andes or accidentally killing your child? These questions are inevitable but lead nowhere. While some challenges appear to be more daunting or excruciating than others, if you're going through your own ordeal, it doesn't make any difference where it ranks on some imaginary Richter scale of survival.....Sure, adversity comes in many sizes and shapes, but if it's happening in YOUR life--if it's got your undivided attention--if that stakes matter to YOU--then contrasts are irrelevant. The Big One is happening to you, right here and right now. Relativity doesn't matter. No matter the crisis--on a glacier or in a driveway--the second rule of the Survivors Club means that your challenge is just as big a deal as anyone else's."

Suffering is not solitary. It is unanimous. We will all face it someday, somehow, in some form. It is unfair and unbalanced. But it is ours to shape. Losing Lucy has opened my eyes to an entire world of varied suffering and survival. At times it can consume me and I have to turn off the news, close the blogs, and walk away and breathe. I don't want it to paralyze me, I want it to connect me...to all of you.

We are all survivors. You may be living next door to a superhero and not know it. The woman checking out your groceries or the librarian or even the drug addict--what incredible stories of survival live in each of them? We are stronger than we know. God's love and power are stronger than we know.

The Survivor's Club, by Ben Sherwood. Go read it. And turn off Glen Beck, he'll give you a headache.


Some of my closest and favorite survivors:


My mom and sister (or is that me?)



Papa





Grandma Gayle


My brother, Taylor


Dear friend, Justin

The most handsome man I've ever been married to.


All of us in this photo have lost children. 7 of us have have given birth, or are about to, since this photo last winter. Incredible women. If you know anyone who has lost a child who would like to join our online community please send me an email.


P.S. My half marathon training is going really well. I'm officially addicted and obsessed with running. The big day is August 8th--Provo River. We had a great 4th and are enjoying our busy summer. Hiking, biking, swimming, bbqs, endless visits from friends and loved ones, incredible weather-- and our darling Peter takes the cake.

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44 Loving Lines

  1. This might be my favorite post of yours. I have always looked at life this way. I think taking an abusive childhood filled with suffering and lonliness and adding a poet's sensibilities equals a person who understands the common thread of human suffering, loss, survival, death. At least, for me.

    I think of you and your family and wish you love.

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  2. I absolutely love that quote. I see a lot of awful things with my job, and while it can be very difficult I often feel like I experience secondhand suffering. I always have a nagging feeling that my day will come, and when it does how will I cope? The idea that it is not all relative is new to me. Very profound. Thanks.

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  3. I totally agree with your point of view. Thanks for sharing.

    ToOdLeS.

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  4. I agree that Glenn Beck is annoying as can be.

    And...I will check out the book.

    Thanks.

    =)

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  5. Moddy, that's you in the picture, not your sister. It was your trip to San Francisco w/me and dad; you took you first steps while we were there.
    Love you. Your Mudda

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  6. Moddy, that's you in the picture, not your sister. It was your trip to San Francisco w/me and dad; you took you first steps while we were there.
    Love you. Your Mudda

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  7. Molly,
    So so beautiful and appreciated and helpful.
    I love you.
    Meg

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  8. Thank you for this post! I will read that book. I don't know if you remember me, but I lost a newborn named Hannah and we live in Salt Lake City. I have since had another baby. I would love to be connected to your online community! - I am so inspired just looking at those women! Your Peter is beautiful! Lots of Love, bless you.

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  9. Glen Beck--ewwwww. I'm glad to hear of another mommy who isn't a fan.
    I love the idea that survival/tragedy isn't relative. I always try to tell myself that what I'm surviving isn't *that* important, compared to so and so.

    Thanks for leaving your blog open to those of us who don't know you personally. I have enjoyed reading about your family.

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  10. What a totally wonderful post Molly ~ I couldn't agree more ~ we are all survivors in our own special way!
    I will certainly be trying to get a copy of that book.
    Love and hugs Tabitha XXX

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  11. This is beautiful, Molly, and something that I am reminded of every day. I often think that nothing can compare to your trial. And people have said to me lately "You're so strong" or "you're handling yourself so well", yet I feel like my trials are so minor comapred to others. Thanks for reminding me that a trial is a trial and it's okay to mourn and suffer. I do look up to your example on how to get through my situation. Love you so much, I'll see you today for lunch!

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  12. Thanks so much Molly, you have no idea how much I needed to hear that! Thinking of you!

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  13. Thank you so much for this. I know that with what I'm dealing with it is all-consuming, even though it's not something I can even talk about. In fact, it is so all-consuming that I'm not sure I could say what you said here - that relativity doesn't matter. I hope to arrive at that point someday. There are days when I feel like nobody is suffering as much as I, even if I know that's ridiculous. Maybe what I really need is to find somebody I can talk to. Thank you for your strength and honesty. I've been reading here for months.

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  14. Thanks for the inspiring post. I don't know you (but I have a friend who knew you in college) but just this week I was wondering how things were going in your life.

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  15. k, meg here again...
    so I had never heard of Glen Beck, and I clicked on your link, "have you seen this."
    Ugghh, who is this guy, I watched 30 seconds and glad I have my head in sand on this one. Cleary missed nothing.
    I do want to read that book though! Come over sometime on the way home from a run.
    You have good taste!

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  16. Wow. Change the hairdos and photo discoloration and that could be a photo of you and Lucy. Your family resemblances are amazing!

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  17. You are truely and angel. Thanks for sharing that quote and letting us all into a peek of your life. You are a great example of a survivor.

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  18. I've heard great things about this book. Thanks for the recommendation. That is a great quote. I think you have become a suvivor in the most amazing way. You have managed to lift others, and give others a sense of hope, and inspiration, while living through the most tragic thing a mother can imagine. Thank you for continuing to inspire.

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  19. you or your sister...that little face looks just like Lucy! I loved this post a whole lot. Thank you for sharing!

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  20. I have always wanted to run that race (I grew up in Provo) but I am nursing a running injury right now, dangit!!! Maybe I'll see ya next year :) You are amazing!

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  21. Thanks for making me laugh at 2:30 am. I've never seen that farting preacher. This post is awesome. Thanks for sharing it.... I see Lucy in your baby picture.

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  22. So true... We are ALL survivors. Its your compassion, understanding, and genuine caring nature towards others Molly that give you strength when you need it! Good luck with your marathon! Are you running for Lucy? Enjoy the last of these summer days...

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  23. Thanks Molly, I needed this.

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  24. You are a beautiful and inspiring. I love reading your blog.

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  25. Love this post. Love you.
    We'll be cheering for you August 8. Good luck!

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  26. You are wonderful, my sister-in-law. Thanks for the book, Vic. It really is good. I know, she hates what she cannot understand. Molly, don't hate Glen. He's right, you know. (Except, I always get pissed off when I listen to him, because he is right.)
    - Chris

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  27. Molly,

    Loved this post. You have such a way with words. I have been absent from the blogging world for awhile. We are in DC but last minute decided to move to Utah to go to graduate school. So we should meet! I'd love that. And little (or should I say big) Peter is gorgeous. I am so glad you are all doing well. I feel like a few lines is not enough, I would love to just sit down and chat it out with you. Our lives feel so similar....
    Love to you, Cassi

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  28. I have learned that lesson. That it doesn't help to compare. I have thought in my deep dark moments in a time past "Things could be worse. My husband could be dead". It didn't help make what I was dealing with any better. The most important thing I learned from that time was compassion for others. So now when someone is really sick with the flu... well yes, cancer would be much much worse. But being really sick with the flu is what is happening right now and it is still really miserable.

    I hope that makes sense but that is what I have learned.

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  29. I Love you too! Hmm, when can you see me, I would say anytime:)This week I could have you over on Wed or Thursday, or the fallowing MOnday-Thursday. You tell me, I'm easy, in a non-slutty way:)I can't wait to meet that little Pete of yours. Maybe I could snap a few of his handsome little face while you are here:) Just for fun. We will definitely let Vic know when his help is needed. For sure... I made the t-shirts for my run. I just bought the iron on stuff from the craft store and VIOLA it's cheap, easy and fast. Let me know if you need my help. I so badly wish I was going to be here so I could run it with you. Take care and let me know when you want to come by.
    Love Loves,
    Michelle

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  30. I will have to read that book.
    I have been reading your blog for some time. Our daughter died not in November 2008. I would love to join your online community, so check your email.

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  31. I heard Glenn Beck talking about that book and went to the library to get it but there was a huge long wait for it...thanks for reminding me I'll have to look again. I know Glenn can be a bit over the top but I think he is right on when it comes to the issues, plus he's a mormon, so he can't be all bad! :)

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  32. Thanks for the recommendation - I just placed a hold for that book at my library. I'm always looking for a good book!
    And, for what it's worth, I am not a Glen Beck fan either. For some reason Jason is & it drives me CRAZY. It's not that I disagree with everything he says, it's the way he says it. Yeesh!
    Anyway, you are an amazing survivor - and I am so thankful to know you!!

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  33. Dear Molly,
    I have been following your blog from the very start when my daughter, Amanda Fisher and my son in law, Shawn Fisher told me about Lucy.
    You inspire me. You are a remarkable woman. I was so happy when I logged in and there was Peter. He is so beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing all of your private thoughts. I haven't lost a child, but I know that I am a stronger because of you.

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  34. I've run the provo river 1/2 twice before, it is marvelous! Hope you enjoy every moment of the race. Good luck!

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  35. Wow Molls, you have an amazing gift.Thanks for sharing these thoughts. And most of all, Umm is your mom dere? Thanks for sharing that link. So many great memories with you girl. I LOVE YOU!!! Keep up on the running. I will see you August 8th.

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  36. That may have been the most beautiful, inspiring post I have ever read. I do find myself thinking that my trials mean nothing because nothing insanely tragic has ever happened. But I have loved, lost, loved again, etc. We all have "hard times" to some degree or happiness would not exist.
    Thank you for this post. I appreciate your strong spirit.

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  37. "if you're going through your own ordeal, it doesn't make any difference where it ranks on some imaginary Richter scale of survival... Relativity doesn't matter."
    I figured that out at some point. While I knew in my head that there are ALWAYS worse things that can happen, or have happened, or that other people have it worse...I realized...THE PRESENT GRIEF fills up your GRIEF BUCKET, and so its as big as it can be RIGHT NOW. If something else got poured on, I guess your BUCKET magically could or would HAVE to get bigger, but for the moment, the one you have is FULL. And it just doesn't help to think you could only be acting half full of grief, not right now, anyway. And in that moment, its almost impossible to think you will feel differently, but then experience teaches you, that indeed, you will. BUT THAT DOESN'T MATTER AT THE MOMENT! at the moment, it's really NOT relative! So, its all kind of wierd, really. Universally Wierd.
    But it's an Individual Life School. Even though there are fellow students, we still are alone with the magnitude of our own Grief Bucket. Thankfully we can know we are understood completely by God, which is a big comfort... when we have those thoughts that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS!

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  38. I read your blog on and off. When I got on today I realized we are doing much of the same things right now. Crazy. I am alos running the provo half marathon on the 8th. I would love to meet you. I know it sounds crazy. I have written on here before but I lost twins a year and a half ago. GULP. Anyhow, I would aso LOVE to joing your group. One I wish I didn't want to join but would love the support. You know what I mean. I will send you an email.

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  39. I lost a child 39 years ago. I never met him in this life. He was born dead. My child was the result of a rape and the adoptive parents were right there in the delivery room with me when we lost him. I've never shared this with my family. And now that I'm am terminally ill it seems to mean more to me than ever before. I don't think I grieved his loss... it was a secret and it's been buried deep inside me all these years.

    Thanks for the information. Thanks for helping me put it in perspective.

    My email is janskylar@yahoo.com

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  40. I read your blog from time to time and i'd like to let you know how inspiring it is to me. Molly you are so wise and have the most eloquent manner in which you tell your life story. You have always stayed close to our Heavenly Father and help me to realize that you've got to put up with the rain if you want the rainbow. You've shown me (along with countless others) that regardless of circumstance, our Heavenly Father loves us and would not put us through anything we could not endure(although sometimes I wonder... :). I was wondering if you'd be willing to reach out to some friends of mine. The lost their newborn baby boy at just 5 days old. This was their first child after numerous attempts and one miscarriage. His funeral was yesterday. They are truly an amazing couple, and have been so strong in the gospel always. Their family blog is dksorenson.blogspot.com and you can read more about their little angel at babydeyton.blogspot.com

    Thank you for sharing your life and experience with all.

    Kaity

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  41. Oh my gosh. Molly, you are amazing. Do you know how easily you touch people through your words? You are an inspiration to everyone who has lost. Like you said, grieving is grieving. My current grief is a failed marriage when we had just had a child together. Kicked to the curb, baby and me, thrown out like trash. My son was THREE MONTHS OLD at the time. Very Jerry Springer. Can you imagine turning your back on your spouse and your CHILD? It baffles me to this day. But it's been about 6 months now and I'm learning how this whole single mom thing works. And it's hard. I mean, really, really hard. And it's nice to know that it's ok to feel my grief, whatever that grief may be. My metaphorical legs are shaking but I also notice they're getting stronger every now and then. I hope this isn't weird, getting such a personal message from a girl you've never met, but I have a feeling you'll be cool with it. Plus Joy can always vouch for me :-)

    Keep being amazing! Your blogs and status updates make me THINK. And sometimes, they make me move. Running. Running sounds soooo good right now. And I hate running! But it would still feel so cleansing I think. I'll have to let you know if I actually go out and do it.

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  42. One more thing- I agree with one of the above posters who thanked you for leaving your blogs open to those who don't know you personally. You have a message and a healing heart that needs to be shared. It's a real gift. Write a book!

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