Health & Family

What I’ve learned: Love and work carry us through challenging times

Frank Dominguez, 54, is general manager and content director for WDAV – Davidson College’s classical public radio station.
Frank Dominguez, 54, is general manager and content director for WDAV – Davidson College’s classical public radio station.

Frank Dominguez, 54, is general manager and content director for WDAV, Davidson College’s classical public radio station.

One of the more challenging times of my life came over a three-year period several years back when one misfortune after another occurred in my family’s life.

It began with the death of my brother at 57, from cancer. This was followed shortly after by the unexpected death of my father. My mom was left alone and suffering from Alzheimer’s and we put her into a home. And then the most overwhelming incident was a serious car accident that my two daughters were involved in. (The daughters recovered.)

Two lessons became abundantly clear to me during these trials.

I realized how important work is in terms of giving me an identity and a purpose when other aspects of life were out of control. There was something gratifying in knowing this was a constant and demanded my focus and attention. I also received a tremendous amount of support from my colleagues. One even lent me a car during the period after the wreck. Knowing that people depended on me and the responsibilities of my job needed my focus allowed me to devote positive energy to this and keep me energized and moving forward.

Secondly, as I child I couldn’t imagine living without my parents or my brother. As an adult after losing them, I’ve come to know I never really lost them. The love they gave me and with which I was raised got me through difficult times and remains with me all these years after they’re gone. That’s important and affirming.

Being young is a paradox. You feel physically immortal, yet emotionally you’re not quite certain as to how enduring family ties and close relationships are.

We have more resilience and more emotional strength than we realize. Knowing this allows me to face difficult challenges with confidence that I can overcome them.

As told to Michael J. Solender

Know someone who’d like to share their life’s lessons? Reach out to michaeljsolender@gmail.com.

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