A life's journey through child abuse, polio, bladder Cancer, caregiving and more. Inspirational showing that with perservance we can survive it all.
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My newest book is a memoir, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts, was inspired by a young man that has some very serious heart problems, and all the people I have met over the years as a teacher, mentor and a bladder cancer survivor. I have tried my best to encourage them, and to give them hope. To not give up on themselves or life. As I have traveled along life’s highway, I keep running into people who have let the rocks that have been thrown in their life’s road giving up on themselves, or life in general. The truth is that life is harsh, and it is not like the movies that give a false impression that it is smooth sailing. Being the hero that toughs it out and keeps on regardless of the situation is difficult, but with faith, it can be accomplished. It often takes a backbone, humor and a wishbone to survive it all.
Because of this, I decided to write a book to share my life’s experiences so that it may inspire someone to come back fighting when life knocks them down. The book is a journey though time from childhood to mature adulthood. The stories and poems in this book reflect the lows and highs of life. The loving memories, the hardships and the things we learn as we travel the road of life. It covers an abusive mother who had mental problems because of being abused as a child, childhood polio, a rocky marriage with a husband who was often abusive, the role of caregiving, death and grief, coping with bladder cancer, asthma, losing a home and more. Therefore, to not to scare you off with gloom and doom, there are funny stories along the way and an ending that I never dreamed would happen. My hope is that the book will bring about understanding to others, and be inspiring to even more. Our journey in life has a purpose, finding it is often the most difficult task of all.
Professional Book Review:
Traveling A Rocky Road WITH LOVE, FAITH, AND GUTS
By Sylvia L. Ramsey
Published by CreateSpace, North Charleston, SC.
In Traveling A Rocky Road With Love, Faith, and Guts, Sylvia Ramsey takes you on a journey through her life, mostly the challenging times. Her adventure has not been an easy one filled with warm baked cookies and a mother who supported her. Instead you learn of someone who has had a life full of tragedy…one after another, yet Sylvia always emerges a stronger, smarter woman and human being for her effort. She labels herself as a survivor and indeed she is. When other women would have given in to emotional surrender, Sylvia pushes through life with courage and strength.
This is the story of a woman; a daughter, a mother, a cancer survivor. This woman of solid perseverance, despite the hand she’s been dealt, has shaped a very full life. The daughter of a mother who suffered a nervous breakdown while she was young, causing immense emotional scarring, she turned to the comfort and steadfast demeanor of her father. This man too was a symbol of strength no doubt where Sylvia gets this phenomenal trait. He was supportive and emotionally stable enough to rear a strong girl. As the story progresses you learn that her father passes away and presents the need for another caregiver for the emotionally unstable mother, thus defaulting to Sylvia.
Sylvia’s father was a strong man and role model, though not by any means easy on her. She was not allowed to date and eventually eloped and married a man whom she had only dated on a chaperoned evening. Her husband, a career military man is rough, mean and abusive for the majority of their early married life. Sylvia eventually leaves this man yet later goes back to remarry him as the result of a guilt ridden plea from her father who feels marriage is always and forever. As they remarry, to the disappointment of her mother, Sylvia struggles with the hurt and disappointment of a parent and suffers through many months of failed mother daughter relationship.
This is a book about the climb from tragedy to triumph. Despite the challenges of a less than perfect marriage with continued struggles, she goes back to school and finishes her degree. She perseveres and never gives up. She plows away at her personal education and on a professional level begins a theatre arts program at a school where she taught. The story of “Charlie” was my favorite chapter as it depicts a young man in her life that is forever changed a better human being with Sylvia’s help.
Following this, she learns on the SAME day as her husband that they both have cancer. She survives bladder cancer and overcomes yet another obstacle in her life, this one of imperfect health. She eventually becomes a supporter for SPORE (Specialized program of research excellence) and goes to Washington, DC as an advocate for Bladder Cancer survivors.
Sylvia Ramsey’s book is her second; following “Pulse Points of a Woman’s World” It is a reminder of how important it is to live a full life despite what the grand plan is. We should all continue trying and achieve all we are capable of. It is the story of one courageous woman, an example of how many there truly are. Her story encourages us all to support one another and to remember that as women, we are strong and pillars of strength.
Reba McEntire once said, “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” Those were words of wisdom for anyone who travels life’s highway. It is so important that you have the backbone to hang on to your dreams and keep forging ahead regardless of what is thrown at you. However, that is not enough because you must be able to find the humor in life’s situations. Being able to laugh at yourself when challenges seem the toughest is needed armor for survival. My purpose for sharing my life’s experiences is not to gain sympathy, but to inspire others never to give up on their hopes and dreams no matter how rocky the road of life becomes. When life knocks you down, brush yourself off, learn from the experience and come up fighting for yourself and your dreams.
Before I begin sharing my story with you, I would first like to share one of my poems because it seems to summarize my life and the faith that I held onto along the way. I did not give up no matter how rough the road became.
Armor for Survival
Let me love though love may go unrequited,
An empty heart is much heavier than a stone.
Let me have faith, though faith be often blighted,
Without it, we are not strong enough to walk alone.
Let me laugh, even if it is bitter laughter
Mocking my own carefully kept secret sorrow.
Love, faith, and laughter…
Armed with these three gifts,
I need not fear tomorrow, nor, tomorrow.
As I write this, I keep going back to the first part and expanding. It is funny how writing down one’s memories brings another one into view that you had pushed to the back of your mind. It is also strange how time has a way of blending memories together, or causes the problem of remembering the order of some events. I am also very much aware how time has a way of warping memories as expressed in one of the poems in my poetry book,
The persistence of memory
and causes confusion.
The metamorphosis of memory
softens and mellows,
bulges and warps.
Tenacious memory patterns
are altered by time
leaving a phantom collage
of an intricate Dali scene.
I question myself on how much to reveal, or to share as I write this. I sometimes have trouble sorting out the exact time-line of events, especially those in the past that had very emotional impact on me. Some are as if they happened to someone else because they have been tucked away in the corners of my mind, and they really do not matter anymore, nor do they have any impact that is of any consequence on my life. However, that is not really true because I think that all the events in my life, and how I either dealt with them or did not deal with them, have somehow shaped who and what I am as a person today.
In many ways, I guess this is a memoir of my life, but I hope that it will be of value to those who choose to read it. The road at times was smooth, but many times, it was filled with rocks and stones. There is one thing I remember that my mother always told me was that traversing the rocky road one must travel on the journey of life, which builds character and makes one a stronger person. I think she was right, but there were times when giving up would have been much easier. As I look back now, I am glad that I did not. I had my faith challenged over the years, but I clung to it knowing that somehow I would make it to the next step along life’s highway. My true friends would seem to show up when I needed their support the most. I have a few that I call my guardian angels. I plan to share pictures of people and events along the way as well as some of my poetry that can be found in my poetry book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World. I wrote the poems as I traveled on my journey, and they were a way of expressing my feelings, self-examination, as well as a way to cope with the rocks along the way. I hope that as you read my story of survival, you will see that no matter what rocks get thrown in your path, you remember to have faith, guts enough to keep going and remember we reach our goals one step at a time no matter how rough the road gets.