Making Choices

Life can throw us curve balls, be cruel or even rob us of our childhoods, but we have a choice. We can wallow, blame circumstances or even follow in the footsteps of those we shouldn’t, or we can make a conscious decision to make life better for ourselves.

It might be a case of letting go of the past, or making changes in our life or having the courage to seek help. However big or small the change needs to be, it’s in our hands to do so. Finding the courage is the first step towards getting out of the situation we don’t want to be in – the life that is making us unhappy or the person who is dragging us down.


Making choices is not easy, I know. I could fill a page of my own personal dilemmas starting at age 5, until I finally found my ‘happy place’ at age 38. It can sometimes take years to accept that you need to make a change and more to pluck up the courage to do something about it – like escape a bad marriage or leave your dead-end job.

When life kicks you in the teeth and knocks you over, you get up, but when it happens over and over, there comes a point when you just can’t get up anymore. That’s when you have to dig deep deep down and be the most courageous and sometimes it’s when you hit rock bottom that you find your greatest inner strength – you have to.

As a mother, I watched my teenager go through this dilemma when she was rejected by her natural father. Despite living a short distance from us, he got a new family and cut off all contact with our children. During her teenage years, I watched her set out to ruin her life – drinking, smoking, bad boyfriends, not achieving at school, not believing in herself or her ability to do well. She had no self-worth. Why would she? The man who should love and nurture her, the man who created her – her Dad – didn’t think she was worthy of his love and attention, and there was nothing I could do to fill that void in her.


Then came the cancer. She didn’t want it, she wouldn’t accept it, she just wanted it to go away – but it didn’t and she nearly hit rock bottom. Nearly but not quite. Rock bottom came when some of her friends and family let her down. When, after the perfunctory ‘sorry to hear that’ phone call, she never heard from them again and some didn’t even bother with that. It brought out all those feelings of being unloved and unworthy. But most of all it was the realisation that even when she had cancer, when she was literally dying, her father didn’t care even then and clearly never would. That’s when she hit rock bottom.

It’s like drowning in a pool. You can either give up and let the water take over your body or you can fight and grapple your way to the top and grab some air. At only 19 years old, she decided to fight her way to the top, but on the way there was also a death and redundancy to add to the struggle, but she made it! She fought the cancer, shed the past, mourned the death and got a new job.

Now she has released herself from the weed dragging her to the bottom of the pool, she has grown in spirit and each year she does something to help somebody else. This year she is part of a team doing a gruelling 120 mile cycle ride through the night from Leeds to Manchester for Macmillan Cancer Support.


I am a proud Mum, my daughter is amazing and an inspiration to all those who are struggling to make those difficult choices and take control of their lives.

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Image courtesy of StockImages & Koratmember/


  • Carol Fragale Brill

    your statement, “When life kicks you in the teeth and knocks you over, you get up, but when it happens over and over, there comes a point when you just can’t get up anymore.” reminds me of a quote that says something like, “we just have to get up one time more than the number of times we fall.” Sometimes that’s easier said than done.
    Agree about the difficulty making choices. Years ago, a friend gave me the wonderful insight that I struggled with every choice because I acted like I was making the choice for the rest of my life–quite a responsibility. Instead, she suggested I choose for today with an open mind, realizing I could always change my choice tomorrow. That made it so much easier.
    thanks for sharing your own and your daughter’s experience.

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