It was what she dreamed of.
A happy marriage to her high school sweetheart. Four healthy children. Two established and successful careers.
Back in 2009, in their early 40’s, Patrick and Lisa Lisson were blessed.
Then one evening everything changed — suddenly and forever.
Patrick, otherwise healthy, suffered a massive heart attack. The husband and father of four kids under the age of 10, was left clinging to life.
“I had kept him in a vegetative state for two years waiting for a miracle,” recalls his wife Lisa, during an interview with Lianne Castelino of the Where Parents Talk radio show on 10.9 The Region.
Part of Lisa’s rationale for keeping Patrick present during that time, was, she says, so that her young children could spend time with their father.
While the miracle hoped for, never arrived, Patrick’s death forced a new path upon his devestated family, especially his widow.
“When Patrick passed away, I was saying to myself, I can’t do this, I can’t be a single mom, I can’t do my career. I had such negative self-talk because I couldn’t see the light,” she says.
Suddenly grieving over an unexpected loss and instantly thrust into the role of raising her children by herself — while helping them manage the loss of their father — Lisa faced a formidable challenge.
She also immediately became the family’s main source financially.
Through profound heartache, tears and immeasurable grief, Lisa charted a new course for herself, her three daughters and son.
She relied on her family, friends and community for support in helping her raise her children while continuing to move forward in life — both personally and professionally.
It has been an extraordinary test of strength, courage and will.
“They say when you visualize a goal that you want to achieve in your mind, it’s like having a personal trainer inside your head,” says Lisa. “Your body, and your mind sees you achieving that, and it starts to put you in action of achieving it.”
Just over a year after Patrick’s passing, Lisa was named the first Canadian and first female President of FedEx Canada.
She has held the post for more than 10 years now, responsible for a workforce of more than 10,000 across Canada.
All, while raising her kids — three of whom are now in their 20’s and the youngest 17 years old.
Lisson has also added author to her life accomplishments, publishing, ‘Resilience: Navigating Life, Loss and the Road to Success‘ in 2017.
“I wanted to share my story of how I did it in the hopes that if anyone is struggling with anything in their life, that if one person that read my book could feel not alone and could try some of the things that I taught myself, then that does my heart good, knowing that Patrick’s lost life, and his legacy now is in that book,” she says. “That can help anyone that is trying to figure out how to strengthen their own resilience muscle.”
Listen to the podcast interview with Lisa Lisson: