I have been fascinated with the Jaycee Dugard case since the media ran with it many weeks ago. A small, beautiful, innocent child, being held captive for 18 YEARS. Eighteen years, much of it spent in a backyard tent and shed that resembled something out of a horror movie. But it didn’t end with an eighteen year captivation. Raped over and over again by her kidnapper, she mothered two children in the process, Angel now 15, and Starlit now 11.

Jaycee Dugard at the time of her kidnapping
Jaycee Dugard, 11 yrs old at the time of her kidnapping

Now living in seclusion with her mother, Jaycee is starting to show signs of improvement. She is cooking for her girls, riding horses, and even contemplating writing a book about her life.

Her children have zero formal education, in fact, kidnapped at the tender age of eleven, Jaycee has no formal schooling past the fifth grade herself.

“I am so happy to be back with my family,” she states.

“We were all just getting to know each other again,” Tina Dugard, Jaycee’s aunt said in an interview.

And while I cannot even fathom how she is still breathing, the human spirit is remarkable. She is focusing on the positive, and now providing her two daughters the schooling they have missed for so many years. She is trying to rebuild her life. She is living. I tell you, I don’t know how.

So this brings me to resilience. How can one become resilient in the face of adversity? How does one thrive after so much hardship?

I think often about stuff like this. How did Holocaust Camp survivors function in society after they were freed from gas chambers and torture? How does a child molested by a family member manifest? How does a child who loses their entire family in a plane crash go on? How does a homeless crack addict living on the streets manage to get sober and turn their life around?

This resilience amazes me.

We’ve all had to be resilient in some way or another in our lives, so how can we stare that adversity in the eyes, and rise above? What can we do if something so terrible has happened in our lives?

  1. Always maintain hope. Even though your situation may look grey for now, know that NOTHING LASTS FOREVER, NEITHER GOOD NOR BAD. This always helps me keep things in perspective if something negative has happened.
  2. Learn to be more stoic in life. Unwanted events, sudden changes and experiences happen in life. Instead of replaying what “ought-to have been,” in your head, accept that things happen, and work on improving them.
  3. Support from friends and family. I think people are often afraid to share secrets or negative events in their lives due to fear of stigma and shame. Never underestimate the power of friendship, or the power of love. I have found friends in odd places, and they have helped me through numerous issues in my life. I always share, but that you know, Ladies!
  4. Resilience won’t make your problems go away, but it will make you see solely past your own problems, find the enjoyment in life, and cope a lot better with stress. Sometimes we gotta just roll with the punches, my friends, and not fight life.

I wrote yesterday about a joyous weekend for my family being overshadowed by a very ill family member. So as we are preparing to celebrate this wedding, we could be potentially facing a death at the same time. Something straight out of “Four Weddings & A Funeral.”

It doesn’t seem very fair that the happiest time of my sister in law’s life is being spent dealing with this. But, my mother in law said a smart thing… life is for the living. We all face challenges and hardships. They happen for reasons often unbeknownst to us. But all we can do is live our lives taking one day at a time, one battle a time, and try and not to feel too overwhelmed.

So when we think about how this woman Jaycee must be recovering from her own living hell, we have to be thankful for all we have. We truly do.