Bent but not Broken

19 Oct

OK, so when I go out on a limb, as in my last posting, I always get hit with a hard dose of reality in some form or another.  Today, on my drive back home from taking Esther to school, I listened to a talk radio show.  On it was a woman describing her battle with clinical depression.  The most compelling issue, for me, from her discussion with her host was how she has been condemned for taking medicine to help her with depression.  She even shared how her own pride had kept her from going to the doctor for help.  Her pride was manifest from her own prejudices regarding depression.  She, like some of her critics, had the notion that if she tried hard enough or had a strong enough faith, depression would not be hers.  The idea of needing medication to help her made her feel like a failure…until she was offered a new perspective.  The catalyst, her child.  She was able to actually see herself in the scared eyes of her child, thus propelling her to get help and get better.

Then this afternoon I volunteered at a fundraising luncheon for the organization, Human Options (  The mission of Human Options is to end the cycle of domestic violence.  As a ‘thank you’ for my time helping at the registration table I was invited to attend the luncheon.  The keynote speaker was a man, Victor Rivas, who survived not only his own thrashings from his father, but survived being witness to his mother’s excruciating physical and psychological beatings and those of his siblings.  He also survived a society, that when he cried out for help, told him to go home for his issue was a “private family matter”.  (He has written a book by the same name.)

Now in my last post when I talk of making a choice not to hurt, I hope everyone reading allows for the unspoken (or written rather) knowledge that I am not referencing situations such as the two mentioned above.  My perspective is more in the ‘nitty gritty’ of life’s situations.  You know, a missed birthday or a harsh comment received from a friend or foe.  Not the deep and difficult of life’s situations.

At the luncheon today I had a lady walk up to me and tell me she read my story in the newspaper (the Orange County Register ran our story last week–their version).  I responded with something like, “oh you saw it!”  She then said something very odd to me; she said, “Congratulations.”  “Congratulations?”, I questioned.  It was at that moment I remembered my hurt.  You see most of the time, in fact about 99% of the time, I am focusing on the positives of every day and ignoring the big picture quite well.  However, when I was offered a congratulatory comment I knew in that moment I did not, nor would not, choose a cancerous brain tumor for my son so a “congrats” didn’t feel right.  And that truth does remind me of my hurt.  Needless to say, I did not receive her sentiment well and the air was awkward between us.

BUT, tomorrow I will forget it again (the big picture),  so I can be by Cole’s side, his positive advocate, and enjoy the moments the day has ready for us.  Don’t be surprised, after all I am BENT, not broken…!

P.S.  The story I promised you will come at another time.

Cole with Piper at the Dana Point Harbor

3 Responses to “Bent but not Broken”

  1. Adrienne Mannis October 21, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    Ahhh, Rivka – you are always so wonderful!! Don’t be hard on yourself, you can even be depressed and handle it if need be. Some of us are “survivors” and do the best we can with what life hands us. I just don’t know why you, and Cole, were stricken with his illness. You are handling it so well and that woman’s comment – hmmmmm. Where did that come from!! Love to you all, all the Bents are going through this together with a lot of love and support!!


  2. Michele Steele October 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    By the grace of G-d, Cole has survived and is doing so well. The woman’s comment was well meaning but not what you were wanting to hear at all. I understand. You are an amazing woman, definitely your mother’s daughter!

    • Rivka And Her Wit October 20, 2011 at 3:20 am #

      You are right, Michelle, on both counts. The woman did not mean to be unkind at all, and I definitely hear my mother in my own voice….aaaaaaaahhhhhh somebody help me!! haha (just kidding mom)


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