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Posted Monday July, 13th 2020

What Makes Some People More Resilient Than Others

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This article is part of a series on resilience in troubled times — what we can learn about it from history and personal experiences.

A few years ago, an unimaginable thing happened in my life. I wanted to help someone I cared about, someone who was sick with an illness he was hiding. I went to his house, intent on a rescue operation that would end, I thought, with a trip to the emergency room. Instead, it ended with a trip to the morgue. What I found when I arrived was my ex-husband, dead on his bathroom floor. The hidden illness? An intravenous drug addiction.

It was, without question, the most traumatic event of my life, but not only mine. I had two teenage children at the time, who had unknowingly been given a front-row seat to their father’s slow suicide. It took two years for me to settle my ex-husband’s estate, which was thrown into probate, and meant a kind of suspended traumatic animation for me, as I continued to live in what felt like a constant state of emergency.

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