A WRITER’S STORY

Writing is my passion and my saving grace, as I discovered in 2014. ♥

In January 2014, at the age of 39, I embraced the stillness and, without judgement or fear, listened to my soul. I really listened.

The truth is…I was tired. The sheer weight of the compilation of my heart’s journey was about to break me. The vast remnants of loss, sorrow, and regret suddenly chose to show their presence after I thought I had nestled them away in a place where they could no longer touch me. I felt everything with such acuity, it was as if I stepped back in time. My mind knew I couldn’t dwell there, but my heart seemed eager to stay. So…I began to write. It was my saving grace; as the words flowed so did my healing.

I tell you this because maybe you can relate. I believe we are connected by similar and relatable experiences. We all love/loved deeply and most likely have been on both sides of goodbye. We know the exquisite and profound beauty of love. We know the immobilizing force of grief and the anguish between letting go and holding on. We know the acute distinction between second chances and new beginnings. These trials could easily dishearten us, but instead we choose to be more loving, compassionate, and kind. Isn’t that incredible?

We all have moments in our lives that unequivocally leave a divisive mark; life is now conveyed in terms of before and after. Many of us have more than one of these divisive marks. I know I do.

On August 30, 1992, I sustained a spinal cord injury as the result of a car accident returning home after a fun weekend away with friends. I was 18 years old and just four days shy of starting University. Life changed in an instant. Thankfully, the driver and other two passengers were okay (all dear friends). I fractured two vertebrae in my neck (C5 & C6) and lost all movement and sensation from my neck down. Instead of University, I spent the next nine months in the hospital and rehabilitation centre.  It was tough, and looking back on that time is rather surreal. I fought every day to regain movement and independence I once took for granted. Moving my big right toe was indeed cause for celebration. It was hope – my heart’s currency. The doctors were cautious and said I probably wouldn’t walk again. I know they meant well, after all, few people did recover, but I did walk away from that rehabilitation centre. The injury did not leave me without challenges, though. I never regained full mobility. I require a crutch to walk and always will, but it was a victory considering the odds against it.

I was also blessed to have the most generous, unconditional support of family and loved ones. I never would have made it without them; my hopeful spirit would have only gotten me so far.

Learning to adapt to my new body has been a battle of mind, body, and spirit. I still grieve for what used to be. To claim otherwise would be misleading to you and me. In my dreams I can walk just as I used to, but my crutch is always with me. It’s quite odd and comical at times. I have dreams where I’m running after the taxi because I left my crutch behind. Crazy, right? So, every now and then, at the cusp of where my dreams lay way to consciousness, I sometimes try to fall back to sleep and do one more run down the ski hill. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m enormously grateful for my recovery, but accepting and adapting is a continuous endeavour.

The following September, I began my University studies along with my twin sister (Nicole), who postponed her start to be with me.  We are best friends to the core, and I thank God for her every day. Every single day. We enrolled in the same classes so we could be together. Beginning University under such different circumstances was quite intimidating, but I made it through because of her.

I graduated with a BA in Psychology, and Nicole earned a Business Degree in Commerce. But before we graduated, life would leave another divisive mark. Our mom passed away suddenly on October 6, 1997. Just like that she was gone. She was only 50. I was so angry at God, and I pleaded to understand it. It took time and the anger subsided, but the pain of such loss never goes away. We manage it, yes; or at least we think we do, but it’s only a whisper away.

As life moved on I was hopelessly optimistic.  I survived life’s storms and made it to shore. I was safe. Okay, maybe I was a little naive, but I thought I was handling everything okay. I guess the heart of the matter is: we are all ships sailing in search of our safe harbour. But here’s the thing… our ships stow the scars of our journeys. In the end, we either mend our ship or go down with its tattered remains. How we choose to mend it, though, lies solely in our hands. But a ship is meant to sail, discover, and endure. Sometimes the winds take us off course and steer us into rough waters, but that is where self-discovery begins. Have faith in all that you are, and you will reach calm waters.

After working in the Counselling field for the past 15 years, I hadn’t realized I absorbed the pain of those I worked with. My writing helped immensely to release this. I’m a passionate person and wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s nearly impossible for me not to cry when I see others doing so. But on the flip side, I catch myself smiling a lot at the joy of others. There’s tremendous beauty in that. It’s nourishment for the soul.

We witness the remarkable power of the human spirit every day – it’s in our compassion for others, generosity to strangers, and sheer fortitude to defy the odds. It’s astounding how resilient we can be, when truly tested. But our hearts are fragile too; we are mortal souls who love deeply; loss is evitable, but we choose to love anyway.  We actually sail into the mystic.

I never imagined that I would become a published writer. I have loved the idea of writing – choosing words and weaving them together to capture a moment, claiming its place it time; but I never imagined I’d release my work into the world. So, when I published my first book of poetry “The Heart’s Journey Home” in February 2015, I stepped miles outside of my comfort zone.

From my journey I know this: in the tapestry of our lives we see each moment etched in time, never to be erased; it’s a part of us. We can embrace it or try to nestle it away somewhere, but inevitably it will show its presence. This I can assure you.

So my plea for anyone who can relate to my story… allow the stillness to embrace you and listen to your soul. Discover your passion and/or your saving grace. Give yourself permission to feel the sorrow, anger, anguish, and then carry on. Mend your ship and set sail again. And always remember…it’s okay to smile and cry at the same time. That, my friends, is a gift – the calm waters.

In October 2015, I officially launched my website “Whispers of the Heart” because I believe, wholeheartedly, that stories that touch the heart and awaken the soul must be told. Let’s celebrate the fragility and resiliency of our hearts. Let’s find the calm in the chaos as we continue to sail into the mystic.

Aviary Photo_131056649931765927

A little more…

I was born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada, with my two brothers and twin sister. I now reside in Ontario, Canada, with my husband of 13 years. He is a Soldier with the Canadian Armed Forces, and I’m immensely proud of him. We enjoy a comfortable life with our little dog, Bella.

23 thoughts on “A WRITER’S STORY”

  1. Reblogged this on https://tinafrisco.com/2017/04/01/a-writers-story-natalie-ducey/ and said:

    When we weather the storms of life and continue on, undaunted and bearing our wounds like armor, we become wounded warriors, ready and able to cast our light into the world as a beacon of hope.

    Natalie Ducey is one such warrior. She acknowledged her fears and met the challenges life tossed at her feet, with grace and firm resolve. She is one of myriad unsung heroes in the world, as her story will enlighten and give hope to so many.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Tina! I have had so many lovely visitors and connected with some incredibly inspiring writers and authors because of your sharing. I’m so grateful for your support, compassion, and gracious spirit. (((Hugs))) to you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a remarkable story. My 9 year old nephew recently had an accident and the doctors thought he had fractured his C2 vertebrate. Most fortunately, due to his young age, his whole spine dislocated but there was no fracture. I thank God for this every day. I went totally cold when I heard the news two weeks ago. He is recovering slowly and has pain and numbness but he is okay.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Heart wrenching life story, yet you have overcome so much and are now helping others with their pain. Bravo.

    My mother is ill and i worry about losing her. My dad has Patkinsons and who knows how many years I have left w him. Enjoy everyday w loved ones. Life is precious.

    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Teri, it’s so lovely to meet you. I’m now following you on Twitter and via your blog as well. 🙂 I’ve met so many wonderful, inspiring people through Tina. I’m grateful you stopped by with such kind and encouraging words. Thank you. I pray your mom and dad enjoy a full life. Blessings to you and yours.

      Like

  4. Wow, I found your blog through the reblog on Tina’s site and I am so thankful you had the support of those around you when you began the journey healing from the car accident AND that writing has been such a great tool for you. Like you, I’ve turned to writing as a means to help heal emotional wounds. It’s a powerful way to express ourselves. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Christy, it’s so lovely to meet you. I found your blog as well, and I’m a proud new follower. On Twitter as well. 🙂 Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. It’s so very true…writing is such a powerful form of expression and ultimately freedom. Thank you once again. I have met so many incredibly supportive and amazingly talented people through Tina. I’m most grateful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, wow, Natalie. I found this through a reblog John Fioravanti did of a reblog on Tina’s site. That’s a long way to reach this post, but it was well worth the journey. I had no idea you went through so much in your past. Knowing that makes you’re beautiful poetry even more inspiring.
    And bless your twin, Nicole, for waiting that extra year for you.
    I am so sorry about your mother passing at such a young age. I lost my father when he was 53 and I was 13. Devastating.
    You’ve had many hurdles in life, but your lovely spirit shines through despite all that adversity. I’m glad writing was such a salve for your soul. Not only did it help heal you, but your poems have touched many others in the process. {{{hugs}}}

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mae, I’m so very grateful you found your way here. It was such a pleasant surprise to see the post by Tina and then the reblog by John. Thank you for your kind words, as I know they come from a tender and most gracious heart. (((Hugs))) to you as well.
      My sister has been my compass, beacon, and anchor. She lives on the East Coast with her husband, also a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. We didn’t plan it that way. Funny how things turn out. 🙂 We’re two very proud military spouses. Despite the distance, we see each other 4 or 5 times a year. When my husband retires in 2019, we’ll be making our way back East as well.
      Thank you again for your kind words, support, and friendship. I’m so grateful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a heartbreaking but inspiring story Natalie. Thanks for sharing it. When life throws challenges at a very young age, we learn to absorb the impact and emerge resilient, we also learn what a blessing being healthy is and appreciate the simple joys of life.
    I am glad I hopped over from Tina’s blog to connect with you. Stay blessed!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Balroop, I’m so grateful for your visit and such kind and encouraging words. I’ve met so many inspiring, gracious souls through Tina. I’m a new proud follower of your blog and on Twitter as well. 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your beautiful poetry. Wishing you a lovely day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. An inspiring post Natalie and I feel both your pain and your courage. After years of counselling others I too reached a point that whilst I loved seeing people achieve the freedom to let go and move on with their lives more positively I also realised that I needed to step back and help in another way. Through writing. I have scheduled a new on the shelves promotion for the collection on Tuesday and will put your book in the Cafe and Bookstore. I have everything I need from Amazon and your website.. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and thank you for all your support for the blog here and on social media. hugs Sally

    Liked by 2 people

  8. An inspiring life story. It’s amazing that you were able to weather through so much pain and can still maintain hope and happiness. I’ve always feared that my life struggles have left me more bitter than philosophic.

    Liked by 1 person

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