I’m a Survivor!

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Dr. Cathy Cameron

By Dr. Cathy Cameron

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll you that I’m a very giving and caring person as well as extremely compassionate. I wear my heart on my sleeve. With that said, I am no “push over,” for I learned the hard way to fight for what I believe in. I had to learn to become strong willed. I communicate and discuss problems nothing ever gets swept under the rug.

My experience being a widow is not the norm—for my late husband was addicted to cocaine and I was in a physically abusive relationship. Therefore, while married I was widowed in a sense, for I actually had no support emotionally, physically nor financially.  So when he passed away, from a cocaine overdose, although heartbroken and sad for my son I knew we would survive!

Through counseling I learned to cope with the guilt of not being able to help with his addiction; learned to stop blaming myself; learned to let go and learned to love again.

Through wrapping my life around my son and talking with him about what has happened and about drugs.

Through it all, my son was my motivation to survive, to love again, and to live again. My father also inspired me to fight for myself; stand true in my beliefs; and work hard for what you want in life.

I did find love again, and my first piece advice for others who want to start down that journey again is you have to learn to let go. What I mean by that is to learn to make room in your heart for someone else.  You will not find love again if you are still in love.  Tell yourself that if you were the one who had passed away you would want your partner to go on—and therefore, believe that your partner wants you to find love again.

Second is communicate and talk about living again and dating with the children, family, friends—this is notice to them. Children respect that you are treating them like adults and that the topic of “life goes on” is not taboo and should be discussed. Children sometimes feel quality that they are living on. For family and friends they understand and will appreciate the “permission” to help you find that special someone. The absolute biggest mistake is to keep the fact you are dating quiet, and do it behind anyone’s back.

One of the most difficult issues facing people who are divorced, widowed, or separated today are finances. The economy is tough for two income families I could not imagine living on one income today!  Also, kids are working more today than they did when my kids were teens.  Sports are also very important and take so much time away from family time. Both of the above hurts communication—but we also hear how cell phones, texting (technology in general) has damaged the communication within families.  I truly believe it has.  I helped to raise  my son and step-daughters in a time where  we had time to sit down to eat dinner and talk; we didn’t have cell phones, so they called to communicate them coming home late.

My advice for those who are recently divorced, widowed, or separated to help them move on to the next phase of their life is, as the saying goes, to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start over again!  It is so true and possible.

A college professor at local universities for over 20 years, Dr. Cathy Cameron now teaches essential business skills to displaced workers, individuals seeking a career change, people interested in learning new business models, and students who want to learn about business without attending a 2-year or 4-year program. Her Wexford-based Cameron Seminars provides various training sessions, including 7 Reasons for Communication Failure, designed to assist students in becoming more successful in their business venture or as a real estate agent. For more information, visit www.cameronseminars.com or call 412-213-0044..

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