Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for four truly motivating stories by the women who experienced them firsthand.
Photography by Emily Long / Photos taken on location at Market South
Linda Shriver-Buckner, Chattanooga
Once upon a time, I was a princess! I was married to Rob, my knight in shining armor, and we had two beautiful children, Chase and Trevor, and a golden retriever named Noel. I was spoiled – spoiled with an extraordinary love. Rob and I met in college, married, and ended up living in Atlanta following Rob’s graduation from dental school. Following the birth of our second son, I retired and devoted myself to our family and volunteering.
For years our life was normal. Perfect even. And the next thing I know, they are asking me what I wanted to do with Rob’s body. That decision was the first of many difficult decisions I was going to have to make by myself. Even though my husband had been diagnosed with colon cancer, we thought he could beat it. Rob had the most positive disposition, was loved and respected by everyone, and I never pictured life without him. After 18 years of marriage, I suddenly became a widow. Not only did I have to grieve his loss, I now had to make familial and financial decisions alone.
My entire identity changed overnight. I lost my husband and best friend, and my children lost their father. We also lost the source of our income. I went from being a princess to being Cinderella. From that moment on, I was no longer a part of a couple, and being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t an option anymore.
I say I’m like Cinderella because, in an empowering way, I have overcome obstacles and unfortunate situations. I work hard, yet I always keep a song in my heart. That song is only possible with my constant connection with my Lord and Savior. Early in my widowhood, I drew comfort and inspiration from time spent in my Bible, in prayer, and with family and friends. I began to realize that I couldn’t change the way things were, but I could change the way I looked at things.
A quote became my mantra: “Life is good because I decided to make it that way!” Some days I want to just go home and hibernate, but instead, I’ll rally some friends and spend time outdoors. I’m not here to just survive. I intend to thrive. Rob will always have a place in my heart, and thoughts of him bring a smile to my face. I am blessed to have loved and been loved.