Donna Merideth – Believing in Resilience

By Donna Merideth, Board of Directors

All of us in Sonoma County have been impacted by the challenges thrown at us over the past few years. While my family’s resilience has been tested, our struggles don’t compare to many of my friends and neighbors that have lost their homes in the devastating fires; or those who have to choose between risking exposure to Covid by continuing to work or face the financial hardship associated with staying safe.

As the smoke begins to clear from the Walbridge Fire, we are all trying to get our lives back to as close to normal as possible and still remain diligent in holding off the virus. My personal focus during the early days of the Shelter-in-Place mandate involved providing support for my 89 year-old parents. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago. Over the past few years my father and I had coordinated a schedule that included a significant level of outside support. The pandemic forced us to eliminate all of this support, which added to both of our caregiving challenges.

Two months into the Shelter-in-Place, I broke my leg in three places and had emergency surgery at Healdsburg Hospital to mend the breaks with a plate and 9 screws. I am finally on the backside of my recovery and have been able to introduce hiking, fishing and yoga back into my life. Eddie and my friends were an incredible support during my healing process and I certainly couldn’t have made it through this ordeal without them.

Resilience is the “capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”. The one aspect this definition does not address is the fact that we are more resilient together. Without the support of each other in our tight knit community, many of us would be in much worse shape during these challenging times. Personally I have benefited tremendously from friends helping with my parental caregiving responsibilities. While some have cooked dinners for my parents, others provided the four of us a place to stay in San Francisco when we were evacuated both in 2019 and in August of this year.

As a Healthcare Foundation board member and a member of our Virtual Gala event committee I am so inspired by our community and the generosity of so many. Through my volunteer work, I am constantly reminded of how our community is incredibly resilient with the help of each other.

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