Strong Beautiful Women Series – Lisa Dunlop
I met Lisa over thirty years ago around the same time I met my wife. Lisa was dating her future husband, Bill, my wife’s youngest brother. She was a young woman who was extremely quiet, shy, and not seemingly confident. There may have been a confident young woman lying beneath the surface, but I couldn’t see it. I can’t say I really knew much about her then. Because of some unhealthy extended family dynamics, that didn’t really have anything to do with we two couples, we weren’t in contact for years. Unfortunately, we weren’t part of each other’s lives.
We all missed a lot. It wasn’t until about four years ago that we reconnected and have all been quite intentional about making up for lost time.
One of the first things my wife and I said to each other when we all reconnected was how Lisa had changed so much. The shy reserved young woman we remembered had morphed into a confident strong woman.
I’ve always known Lisa was raised by a single mother. However, it wasn’t until I interviewed her about this blog that I learned more about her story. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old. When Lisa talks about this time in her life you can sense the pain. I don’t know all the details of what she experienced, but I can attest to the fact that it wounded her deeply. Her relationship with her father is not what she would hope for, even though she’s tried to work through it, one can feel the pain it still causes her to speak of him.
Even more evident than the pain I sense when she speaks of her father, is the joy she has when she speaks of her family, her husband, and her two daughters.
When I asked what brought her the most joy in her life, she didn’t miss a beat—my family. She loves them. It’s so plain to see. You can’t fake that stuff. One might say their family is everything to them, but all too often how they live their life reflects another reality. I’ve seen the sacrifices she’s made for them. I see how she cares for them. Her life isn’t about her. It’s about them.
Because of her parents’ breakup she witnessed firsthand what it means to struggle financially. Her mother loved her and cared for her, but there was financial insecurity. Lisa didn’t want that to happen to her family. She wanted her and her Bill to provide a secure home for their two daughters, to bring them up in an environment that empowered them to know that their gender should never be a barrier to them living out their dreams. Mission accomplished. Their two daughters are strong beautiful young women to be proud of.
She has always been a supportive mother and wife.
It’s the support of her family that helped her four years ago when she was diagnosed with Lupus. When a person gets such a diagnosis its devastating. One might give up. One might feel sorry for themselves for too long, one might focus on what they can’t do, on what their limitations are. Those weren’t Lisa’s choices. Every day she chooses to acknowledge her Lupus, but she won’t let it control her life. She chooses to continue to live her life to the fullest. She says she’s a need to know type of person, but she quickly learned that with Lupus, you can’t know. She said,
“Lupus will do what it will do.
You can’t control it. “
She chooses to move forward with her life in spite of the limitations Lupus may try to impose on her. Many might not strive to grow and follow their dreams, not Lisa. She’s been working full-time as a Medical Administrative Assistant for over twenty years. She always wanted to teach, so four years ago she started teaching part-time in the full-time Medical Office Administration program at the local community college. She’s not sitting back saying poor me. I have Lupus. I’m too tired. I’m too sore. I can’t teach. Instead she chooses to push herself in spite of the limitations Lupus might try to impose on her.
I admire Lisa for her commitment to her family, and for her ongoing desire to follow her dreams.
She’s a strong beautiful woman.
If you haven’t already read the intro blog to the series to know why I’m writing this Strong Beautiful Women series you can do so by clicking here, or go here to read about the other Strong Beautiful Women I’ve had the privilege to honour.