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Ordinary People with Extraordinary Mightiness

Did you ever meet someone, hear their story, and marvel at their strength?

Well, I do every day running this blog. But ordinary people with extraordinary mightiness is the topic of today’s podcast. Sarah tells the story about how sitting on a park bench led her to meet an incredible mother who’d lost her child. And I share a bit about a departed friend, Ed Murphy.

We talk a lot here about modeling mightiness to our kids. We perhaps talk a bit less about who modeled mightiness to us and how it inspired us. The idea behind the podcast is if we could just collect these stories and broadcast them, there’d be more shit-kicking mightiness to go around.

Oh really, you faced THAT? And you got back up? 

If you listened to our interview last week with Andrew G. Marshall, there’s a point where he’s talking about cheater FOO issues. The whole why cheaters cheat, how many can dance on the head of a pin sort of discussions the RIC loves. And I point out that many other people face challenges and don’t become abusers — so how do you explain them?

He gets flustered and turns it back on me, annoyed. “Well, I don’t know why some people don’t cheat, do YOU?”

I didn’t get to answer him, (I was trying to point out how dumb his rabbit hole was) — but yeah — the answer is character. Not only do some people face challenges without hurting others, but some people become more compassionate human beings as a result of their pain.

I won’t steal Sarah’s thunder — listen to the podcast (and also review it — and if you’re feeling extra generous sign up at Patreon to get it early and please help me pay the sound engineer). But in my story about Ed, what impressed me about the guy was he was always helping other people. I met him as a volunteer literacy teacher. Ed was a high school dropout from the Bronx. Joined the Marines at 17 and got his GED there. (This was during the Vietnam war). But he never forgot his own challenges, so he spent the 12 years before he died teaching algebra to GED students.

That’s character, Andrew.

Next week, we talk to a member of CN, Alysen. A woman who is really going to blow your socks off with her mightiness. I’m going to let you listen to the voicemail she left us here.


Do you have a mighty story?

No Tracy, I cannot top Alysen. I have a plant I can barely manage to water. I cannot conceive of single parenting four children. 

All mightiness counts! We want your stories!

You can leave us a 90-second voicemail here.

So, CN on this Tuesday, tell me — who inspired you during the Troubles? What ordinary person showed you what extraordinary resilience looks like?


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I often think of others who are going through worse things than I, not to dismiss or minimize my feelings, but as encouragement to keep going.

    On the top of my list for a long time has been the family of Shanann Watts. Madonna Badger is another. Madonna has an excellent TED talk on how she keeps going after losing her children, her parents, and her home in a house fire on Christmas Day that made national headlines. She’s been doing it sober, which is always extra points in my book. And she already had recovering from childhood sexual abuse and divorce on her life resume. Our own Rarity is on my inspiration list, as well as Tessa. I get a lot of courage and strength from the stories of other people’s trials.

    And then there’s the gratitude list. With everything that has happened, my gratitude list has always been extensive and another light source in the darkest time of my entire life.

    • I have heard Madonnas story and I too see it as a story of strength that I cant imagine living. I hadn’t thought of the family left behind after nasty husband murdered Shananna and her daughters…true they must be mighty to keep going.

    • And if you want to leave the playing field as the victor in the infidelity wars, do everything you can to maintain your integrity and your dignity.

      Exhibiting the qualities of a winner leaves the dirt all over the losers you’re playing against, which is where it belongs.

      Keeping one’s integrity and dignity in response to the actions of self-centered, cruel, deceptive cheaters and side pieces who like hitting below the belt is what “mighty” means to me.

      The best side effect of integrity is peace of mind. Above reproach is the best place to live when cheaters and side pieces infect your life.

      • I have saved things I have found that when I read them they help me feel mighty. Here’s a good one; adjust the nouns and pronouns to fit your circumstances:

        “I don’t care if he’s married.  I don’t care about his wife—that’s her problem.”  The notion that you’re sleeping with another woman’s husband is her problem is a lie you’re telling yourself.  It’s your problem, too.  If you were healthy, you would never be hooking up with someone who’s married because you would know that he was NOT healthy. 

        When you sleep with a married man, you tell yourself that you’re not good enough to be someone’s number one.  In addition, if you don’t care about the impact you have on other people in the world, that makes YOU the cold, uncaring witch you think his wife is.

        Being hurtful to others has a way of coming back to haunt us.  The more integrity you have in this lifetime, the better you and those around you will feel.  Start caring about who you impact because ultimately that will impact you.

        • Thank you for this. I’ve often been thinking there is something wrong with me for this. But I need to remember there is something wrong with them.

  • My mom has amazing resilience. She made a mighty life after my stepdad walked out on her. She has only once talked about how difficult it was & anytime he is brought up & what he did, she politely says “moving on, it’s behind me”. Her ability to put difficult things in the past & keep moving forward is mighty (and amazing).

  • Amazingly enough it was my MIL (now xMIL) whom I love dearly and maintain a relationship with. Her husband owned a business worth a lot of money and my XWH and his sister grew up with pretty much everything they wanted. MIL had a nursing degree but didn’t work and was a Junior League and country club wife. In her 50s she finds out her husband is an alcoholic and gambled away all their money and they lost everything. Life changed dramatically for them; she divorced and started working. Got her masters, bought a house, attends Al-Anon and is one of the most upbeat people I know. She is my hero.

  • I would say in my personal life, my son is my hero. He managed a very difficult situation with his dad. Maintained a connection with him, while combatting the damage his dad was trying to do to him and his family.

    Sons wife refused to even visit his dad and the whore for the last year of his dads life, and she had good reason. But son did keep the connection while still honoring his wife’s situation.

    I do hate that his dad didn’t at the very least apologize for the things said and done, but he didn’t.

    My son even helped the his dads wife (who had also treated them like shit) get the info she needed, and connections she needed to make sure she got all she was entitled to. He then flew back for his dads service, which was private.

    Once he got all that done he cut contact and he and his wife are fine. Daughter in law maintained her boundaries without interfering with sons situation of just trying to honor his dads last wishes. She did way better than I likely would have.

  • I’m an expat chump; born and raised in Sweden, met and married my cheating ex husband in the U.S.
    I divorced him 13 years ago, after 18 years of marriage. Our three kids are all adults now.
    My heroes are my two best friends – Swedes like me, divorced like me, one happily remarried, one happily single (I’m team happily single).
    Being chumped is always a struggle. Being chumped when your entire family and longtime friend group is on the other side of the world is a very lonely struggle.
    Having friends who “get it” is priceless.

    All three of us have gained a life. We’re entrepreneurs, homeowners, and moms to some kickass, resilient adult kids.

  • My hero is my friend Stacie. She was also a Navy wife and we became friends almost 20 years ago. Her FW was a FW in so many ways. She took the boys camping and did fun things and they walked on eggshells when he was at home. Her career was disrupted and totally broken following his career. After the boys grew up and left home, FW retired and immediately started hooking up with OW. She found out and that was the END. She did not pick me dance. She said eff this, got a fair settlement, and moved into the getting a life so fast I quickly forgot she had ever been married. She has had so much peace without a FW. She is not post double mastectomy and still effing awesome. When I think of putting my bitch boots on, she is who I think of.

  • My mother is both my “don’t be like this” and my “be like this” person.

    For thirty years, she chose to stay with my mentally ill, abusive, violent father–also a cheater–for thirty years, and modeled a lot of terrible chumpy behavior to me, which of course I reproduced in my life while thinking my marriage was nothing like hers and I was nothing like her. I married a man I thought was the complete opposite of my father, but while she married an overt narcissist, I married a covert one–the proverbial two sides of the same coin. And I brought to my marriage a lot of the behaviors and attitudes she’d either modeled or taught me.

    She finally divorced my father after thirty years of marriage, when she was 52.

    After she divorced him, and then retired from public school teaching eight years later, she made up for lost time and made the most of the time she had left. She took up skiing again (she downhill skied until she was 82), joined a hiking group (she was a native Coloradan), belonged to two book groups, the Humanist Society, and the AAUW, and traveled, here in the US and all over the globe: Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru (Machu Picchu), the Galapagos, Greece, Morocco, Kenya, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand, France, Britain, Ireland, Turkey, Russia, Iceland–and others I’ve failed to remember. And she did all this while helping out with grandchildren, and dealing with the early death of her beloved sister, the lingering death of her mother, and serving as executor of my father’s estate after he killed himself.

    She died last September, after three years of decline after a stroke. I retired in 2019, and began helping care for her. I am the executor for her estate, but as that work now nears its end, and I am picking up the reins of my beginning my own post-divorce, post-retirement life, I look to her as an example of resilience, optimism, and a spirit of adventure in action. An extraordinary, ordinary person.

    • Wow, talk about gaining a life! Your mother certainly made up for those thirty years of marriage. What a shining example of possibilities explored.

    • I LOVE this!

      It reminds me of an obituary I read in our small town paper which appeared to have been a chump–“She saturated her remaining three decades with joy and life enhancing activities.”

      This is the biggest FU you can give a FW.

    • Wow, who did she travel with? I’m trying to think about how I’ll travel in retirement.

      • When my mom traveled on a group tour, she went with “Road Scholars” (used to be called “Elderhostel”) and with “Overseas Adventure Travel” and “Grand Circle.”

    • Great example of a turnaround. Because your mother did so well while apparently your father did not, it leaves me wondering if the better a liberated chump does, somehow the worse their former abuser fares as if a survivor’s refusal to be crushed somehow drains abusers of energy.

  • My late aunt left my bio uncle after decades of being physically and emotional abused (including infidelity) by him. While she had my grandparents’ and mother’s support during and after the divorce – something that I’ve learned that most chumps don’t get from their in laws – she was broke and had few job skills. She become a CNA, went on to become an LPN and most importantly enjoyed nearly 30 years of life free of abuse.

    She was one of the most thoughtful and hardworking people I've known and we miss her.

  • My ordinary person who has inspired me over the past 23 years is my friend, Eleanor (not her real name), from my sewing group. We have a small group that meets monthly, for hand sewing, quilting, embroidery, etc, and I met her when I joined this group. I was a SAHM with many children, and when I moved here, I already had 2 Ddays. Eleanor introduced herself as “divorced for a while” and over the years I began to admire her for having such a stable life, filled with creative sewing projects, gardening, baking, and outings with family & friends. She maintained a small home on her own and a part time alterations business. She never complained. As my marriage became worse, I opened up to her about the secrets I was keeping. She also has opened up to me over time.
    Her husband was employed by a government organization & was not able to tell her about his work. But eventually, she said, he just stopped talking to her and their teenage daughter altogether. She was not aware of any cheating. She decided that she was not going to live with someone who literally would not talk, but would be in their home like a ghost. She had the support of her family, and her brother lent her money so she could purchase that small home, well before the divorce was final. Eleanor said “we never missed him.” The XH took off to another state, remained working for the GOV, rarely kept in touch with the daughter, until years after retirement, he became ill & a hospital contacted her. This was a year ago. The daughter unfortunately had to handle moving him back to this state, and found him a nursing home as he can’t maintain his finances nor drive. Eleanor supports her daughter emotionally through this, but is wisely not getting involved. Once in a while, she brings up her confusion about how he just stopped talking and interacting with them.
    I have no answers for her. Our XH are similar in that they led double lives and we will never, ever, really know what they were doing. I always thought Eleanor was mighty for not accepting the unacceptable, and getting on with her own life with such grace.

    • What’s interesting is that this friend may be confused about why the ex went catatonic but doesn’t seem curious enough to really speculate– the ultimate mark of someone basing decisions on what’s acceptable or not.

      All power to her and the rich life she’s made for herself and those around her. Personally I would have guessed the guy had some truly horrible secrets, whether personal “secret basement” stuff and/or some awful official secret agenda he was participating in. My good friend had this experience with her lawyer ex who worked for one of the most evil law firms on the planet. Not kidding. That firm has been directly instrumental in violent neocolonialism for oil, minerals and control of water around the world and tainted by all the things that ome with it like death squads and private military schemes, assassinations of foreign unionists, crushing Indigenous land rights groups, toxic dumping and other industrial disasters and the coverups of all of it. The same sociopathic emptiness that made this guy well suited for participating in global atrocity and shaking hands with the devil also apparently led him to fill the yawning void where a soul should be with hookers. As his participation expanded from mere functionary to insider, I assume he stopped being able to mirror this friend as he had in the beginning. He no longer even virtue-signalled (like volunteering to teach self defense to women, etc., etc., typical faux hero posing) as a way to compensate for his darkness and buy himself license to commit more. Because she’s ethical, she must have seemed like a walking indictment of everything he stood for. He became hateful Nowhere Man making all his hateful nowhere plans for nobody.

      • This is an interesting insight, HOAC. Apparently he worked for the agency, in good standing, until he retired. Has a great pension to pay for the nursing home, but lived in a filthy one bedroom apartment after he retired. I was thinking maybe a gambling habit. Your remark describes a possibility of why he shut down communication years ago.

        • If he was living in a filthy flat, is it possible he was even lying about working some important govt. job? Whatever the case, the silence means there were major lies. Lies on that pathological level are above everyone’s pay grade. It’s probably best that she didn’t bother to fathom, just shrugged and wrote him off. I wish I was that much of a badass.

            • …and best not to ask where the strands of hair and trinkets locked in the basement came from

      • This describes my ex! He puts on a show of being humanitarian but his actual legal work is truly corrupting and awful. And he also found solace with prostitutes. I think they lose their humanity.

  • My mother is my mighty person. When I was 12 she finally had the courage to leave my abusive stepdad after many previous failed attempts. As kids, we were thrilled to know that she wasn’t going back. It showed me that divorce, as awful and hard as it is, can save your life. That it can be healthy to leave a toxic relationship instead of staying in it, and that as children, things can be better after your parents divorce. I didn’t grow up with the stigma that divorce is bad. That really helped me with my own decision to leave.
    I want to model that for my son. That even though divorce sucks, living in dysfunction is worse.

    • “…even though divorce sucks, living in dysfunction is worse.”

      Just wanted to highlight this, because sometimes in the thick of the suck we need to remember this.

      I still remember one day when I was grieving and the fortune in my fortune cookie from my take-out Chinese meal said, “Better to be alone than in bad company.”

  • What strikes me about many of the examples of “mightiness” that people are giving is that, without even knowing what these mighty people had lost or what they’ve accomplished, you can often sense their warmth and decency. It’s a kind of glamor in the sense that the director of an advocacy program I worked with meant it when she said, “Harmlessness is the only glamor.” She didn’t mean harmless as in “passive”– quite the opposite: the inability to harm the harmless or to allow harm to be done to the harmless. Kindness is not weakness.

    I hope one day I’ll “glow” like some of these mighty folks once I can wash off all the dirt and singed smell from trench warfare and stop twitching and grinding my teeth at night. In any case, I think it’s a great exercise to put the focus on mighty people and people with this kind of “glamor” because I suspect the more time we spend around or considering “real deals” and noting the “green flags” of genuine character, the less any of can be fooled by the frauds and sociopaths in sheep’s clothing. It’s like smell-training tracking dogs. I’ve been doing this deliberately with my kids: planting people around them with bonafide character and quickly ejecting those without so the kids grow up knowing the difference just by vibe and “smell.”

    For me, there’s also a kind of rebellion in keeping a high bar and collecting “green flags.” I remember how much my effort to surround my kids with only excellent, safe role models frustrated FW and his family. At first glance their frustration might have seemed understandable because I kept pulling the kids out of schools and conservatories and trying different ones, firing various tutors, babysitters and doctors and replacing them. But on closer look, there was no choice. Long story but all three kids have significant allergies and one has complicated health issues and used to have a serious learning disability. Having kids with health issues is a fast and sure-fire route to unmasking everyone around us. These vulnerabilities and the need for remedial supports led to repeat situations where adults with less than stellar characters put the kids at serious risk and then led to all sorts of stressful fallout if I tried to set boundaries and request adjustments.

    It’s quite amazing how lousy helping professionals will fiercely defend their lousy practices. It’s quite amazing how people with lousy character in general will fight tooth and nail to keep the entire collective bar for character low. This “bar war” reached a fever pitch at several points. After my disabled middle child was physically abused by a teacher’s aide in one school (which was later in the headlines for harboring a child molester on staff– no surprise) and my daughter ended up in ER with intestinal blockage because staff would throw out her “crunchy” allergy diet lunch and give her only potato chips, the kids were traumatized and started developing behavior issues. I brought them to a trauma psychologist who agreed that part of rebuilding the children’s ability to trust and to enjoy learning again would be to “take no prisoners” regarding who taught them or came anywhere near them. I decided to vet the hell out of anyone who came within an inch of my family– even the friends I cultivated for myself– if just to keep myself from croaking from the stress. One sign of assholery or callousness or just philosophical stupidity and that person or service or institution was history. I didn’t care who was inconvenienced by it. I fired therapists who did things like withholding food or affection as negative reinforcements. Nope. One time I fired a babysitter/tutor who was close with FW’s family simply because she complained that the sex offender registry was cruel and inhuman. Bye. That caused more family crapstorms.

    Turns out that simply not harming or allowing harm to the harmless is somehow deeply “controversial” and can trigger major blow-back. In the midst of all the drama, FW blew up at me several times over the years saying I didn’t “know how to get along with people” as if I had some godlike power to make perfectly wonderful people suddenly turn abusive or irresponsible. Who knew that, in order to keep people from physically damaging, assaulting and endangering kids, we all have to be pleaserish at all times? Who knew it’s actually standards, expectations and boundaries themselves that unleash human evil? This pretty much became FW’s mantra during his affair. He was echoing something his awful mother said about me the first time I yanked the kids from a dangerous school– “doesn’t know how to get along with people.” Even the AP– who’d never met me– apparently started spouting this. It literally became the theme of all the scapegoating, bullying, betrayal, theft and backstabbing: Bitch keeps prioritizing children’s safety, health and sanity above adults’ emotional comfort. Smite her!

    I think that because I wasn’t advocating for my kids out of some image-managing narcissistic “hero” pose but just doing the no-brainer things I thought every parent is supposed to do, I wasn’t even shielded by a “misunderstood martyr” complex but was just baffled, depressed and discouraged by the criticism. In the time before I was able to get the kids set up– as they currently are– with amazing educational resources, amazing social settings, amazing medical specialists, friends, etc., these attacks really got under my skin. Before I could “prove” that my scheme was working, it could have looked like I was just stirring up drama for no reason and making a mess. But now that the kids and I are surrounded by “dolphins” instead of “sharks” and the children have overcome obstacles and are well on their ways to healthy, productive adult lives, the takeaway of those attacks seems to be that something about having standards and a high bar– or maybe just the act of protecting children– really, really bothers people with crappy character and no boundaries. It’s literally a punishable offense. Make of it what you will about the “FOO skeins” of the latter, it seems the “bar war” is real. It might even be the bigger theme of human existence. Well– hah– fuck the low bar enforcement squad. In fact, I think we’re going to double down and aspire to that “glow”

    • Oh, and here’s something for the UBT that I was accused of: being a “snowflake” and narcissistic parent because I only wanted the “finest” for my kids as if expecting basic safety is elitism or raising kids to pass on eating shit sandwiches creates weak and entitled adults. But in my experience of growing up and going to school with a lot of former child prodigies, narcissistic parenting is never about protecting children from harm and trauma or keeping them away from dangerous people but about forcing children to accept cuddles from creepy family benefactors or forcing them into the lion’s den because that’s where the fancy kibble is strewn and then punishing those kids if they report that, say, their illustrious violin or figure skating coaches or acting agents were copping feels or being abusive.

      • My ex MIL set the tone early that I shouldn’t expect “special treatment” by berating me for buying a tub of Philadelphia Cream Cheese: “Oh yes you have to have the best of everything don’t you.” The same person who never worked a day in her life (although claimed to be the hardest worker in the country), but had almost unlimited resources (e.g.announcing one Xmas lunch to the family she wasn’t quite sure what to do with that $300k she had sitting in one of her bank accounts). Shortly afterwards she had me measured up against the sink, whilst the FW looked in with his dumb fuck expression, and shortly after that the feeling of interminable dread kicked in that I had voluntarily walked into a prison cell.

        • There was only one queen in that dark realm and it was her. Same here. I was apparently the infidel usurper of Fuckwitopia. Let them have their crowns of gloom.

      • Thank you, dear Spinach. Probably the best measure is hearing the kids talk back, like the recent “Hey Mom, when you’re scared you sound kind of angry. Can you work on that?” LOL.

  • I want to focus on people who haven’t actually done amazing things with their lives, because they usually get forgotten when we think of courage.

    Back when I lived with FW, we had an oddball neighbor, who I thought would be interesting to get to know. I was never able to because she was clearly extremely introverted and catastrophically depressed.
    In the six years I lived there I never saw her leave her house except to walk to the community mailbox, but if she saw anyone coming, she would turn around and go the other way to avoid them. A neighbor would occasionally greet her, and she would give them a little wave, then retreat to her house. Observing this, I never tried to talk to her. It would have been rude and intrusive. So one day a neighborhood busybody (a nice person, but a bit nosy) was talking to me and we saw her go out of her house. The busybody then informed me that her husband had killed himself in the home and she had been the one to find him. He said that was the reason she kept to herself.

    Some might wonder where the mightiness is, since it was years later and she was still wrapped in her grief like it was a cocoon.
    The mightiness is that she kept on living after that unspeakable trauma. She didn’t live a fabulous, active life. She lived quietly and unobtrusively. But she lived. She kept waking up every morning and deciding that, as wrenching as her sorrow was, she wasn’t going to do what her husband had done. She was going to keep trying.
    I haven’t seen her since I left FW, but heard from an ex-neighbor that she was starting to talk to people. So it sounds like she’s healing and is feeling like engaging with the world again. She may never be a go-getter, but in her own quiet way she is demonstrating what courage is.
    Sometimes mightiness just means you persist.

    • This reminds me of some war veterans I knew about. Thank you for that.

  • TBH, this site provides a collective story of people who work hard to overcome. yes, there are difficult days and, yes, there are times when we fuck up and send texts/emails when we KNOW no contact is the best way forward. yes, we’re awake at 3 a.m. feeling RESENTFUL that our X’s are taking their AP’s to japan for two weeks.

    there’s comfort in the collective. you don’t feel so alone.

  • Larry, Nick, Ron, Greg and Jeff. A retired vascular surgeon, a broker, a salesman, an Xray tech who is a retired firefighter and a bond salesman. They are my friends, Manly men, and they were all chumped. When I got chumped each one came to me, told me their story and guided me away from making mistakes. All of their stories were amazing. None of them knew eachother at that time. Everyone of them concluded their first conversation with me with “you call me day or night, I am here”. and they were and I wore them out. Caring, compassionate men!

      • It truly is and I am blessed. On paper it is a very diverse group. In real life they have very similar in character traits. They are honest, loyal, selfless men every parent would want their child to grow up and be.

  • I’ve been listening to the podcasts and you’re so right, that therapist had written books on a topic (!!) without sitting down to critically think about the core issues like you have. You nail the core concepts (why? Does it matter why they’re all the same?) and what really matters (our own safety and sanity)

    I’m so glad I found this, and so grateful for whoever finds you before years of wasted agony

  • Pretty much any one of my DV clients who have lived through much worse, and somehow managed to escape despite having every possible obstacle thrown at them, including lack of housing, risk of injury or death, weaponisation of children and legal systems, and the all powerful gaslighting effect (not even understanding what they are living through is abuse, and often being told they are to blame, which only now do i really understand).

  • My aunt. She divorced her cheating abuser and went on to make a good solo life for herself, and for her son.

  • I really liked the phrase “hard blessing” in the podcast. 5 years out, I now feel like the affair was the best thing that could have happened. Because my husband left me, I escaped an abusive marriage that was sucking the life out of me (literally and figuratively). The life I have now is better than I could ever have imagined. I am so happy and having such a good time. I can’t believe I spent 10 years trying to make myself smaller to please someone who was a bottomless pit. I smile all the time now. I sleep soundly. I feel good about myself. I look forward to the future. I wake up with excitement about what the day will bring, rather than dread. I thought I’d never be happy again. I thought I couldn’t survive without FW. I thought the pain would never end. IT GETS BETTER. I wouldn’t go back to that life again if you paid me a million dollars. My cheater left me, and I got a life. It’s a wonderful life, and I love it.

  • That would be my grandmother. She found herself married to a violent man, and during WW2 in the UK she separated from him, taking her two small boys. At that time women were not allowed to have their own bank account, she needed help from a male friend just to be able to get an account and rent a house! She worked full time, and did the washing in a dolly tub once a week by hand, baking day once a week, no income support or child benefit, no payments from her husband, and having to live off food rations long after the war. She was refused a divorce by the judge because at court, her husband claimed to have “forgiven her” and wanted to take her back. Her reply: I will n-e-v-e-r go back to him. So she had to carry his name for the rest of her life, but she moved to her favourite place – the seaside, had some lovely dogs and tended her garden and chickens. She was very kind and loving and has the most special place in my heart. She is my hero and I think of her whenever I feel I can’t go on, I wonder how she managed without money, a home, enough food, whilst being bombed, far from her family … but she got it together, and so will I.

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