What happens when we’re pushed to the edge by life’s tragedies? We’re overwhelmed and unsure how to handle the pressure. How do we cope? How do we make sure that stress doesn’t over take our physical and emotional well-being? What helps us move forward with our lives? Resilience.
Beth Brykman’s book, Second Wind: The Resilience of Women, praises women by retelling 12 stories of inspiration and hope. Emily’s self-respect was been beaten and battered by two abusive husbands. She had twin baby daughters, no job and no income. After running away from her second husband with only $500, Emily founded the anti-domestic violence organization that she leads today. Candace incurred traumatic brain injury from a biking accident, resulting in a coma. Doctors thought she wouldn’t live and, if she did, that she probably would never walk or talk again. Yet in the spring of 2011, she ran in the Boston Marathon. She is currently preparing to race in an Ironman in this fall. Other accounts describe stories of divorce, job loss and the passing of loved ones. Regardless of the tragedy, these women made it through with strength and fortitude.
Using examples from the stories themselves, Brykman discusses the elements and qualities necessary to build resilience. Several of the women gained stability from friends and family. A few helped others in similar situations, enabling everyone to move forward together. Others turned to their faith for comfort and strength. Some called on the power of their innermost selves to get them through the tough times. No matter what the situation was, they worked through their traumas with “I can get through this” attitudes.
Brykman began thinking about Second Wind book after hearing stories from a friend who was a trust attorney. “My friend recounted how impressed she was by her female clients. These women not only adjusted to their new single status after having been married many years, but actually worked to reinvent themselves; evolving into another favorable life stage rather than withering away,” said Beth.
After starting the book, Brykman expanded the topic beyond the passing away of a loved one to the top most stressful events in life: illness, abuse, job loss, divorce and death of a family member. A chapter is devoted to each topic.
Proceeds from Second Wind are being donated to the anti-domestic violence organization referred to as Abigail’s Friends in this book and to the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair. Both organizations are an integral part of stories included in the book. “After writing about these inspirational stories, I felt that I had to do something to give back to those being challenged. That’s when I decided to donate the proceeds to two of the organizations discussed in the book,” said Brykman. “It’s being offered for $2.99, about the same as a cup of coffee, in e-book format. The cost is low while the reward of giving to two excellent organizations is high. Search for 'Second Wind Brykman’ at your favorite e-reader store.”
The book applauds the ability of women to bounce back from all types of adversity. It’s about moving away from crises and going forward again. It’s about more than just surviving; it’s about making life manageable, meaningful and fulfilling again. It’s about women catching their second wind.