There was a time when asking for help felt like the hardest thing in the world. Then I lost my sixteen-year-old son… and it changed everything.
There’s nothing that prepares you for the strength you need to recover and rebuild a life that has shattered into bits and pieces of sorrow. You simply can’t do it alone.
I had three living children who suffered the shock, too, and yet I couldn’t give up on their young lives to bury myself into my deep, debilitating fog of grief. They deserved a happy childhood in spite of the devastating loss of their brother.
But how do you do that when, as a mother, all you can think about is the child who’s gone? The magnitude of that kind of loss and trying to blend your new everyday life is overwhelming.
But I was rescued.
Don’t think about it… just show up
From day one, I was stunned to see how many people appeared at my front door to...
“Happiness is the joy we feel striving towards our potential.”-Shawn Achor, author, The Happiness Advantage.
I can’t begin to tell a story without sharing why it matters. There was a time when I thought happiness disappeared from my life forever. I felt I had everything I needed for a happy life, and then in one day, it changed.
I could no longer access what joy felt like because my previous life was over, and a new one was waiting in the wings.
There’s a reason people say, “in the blink of an eye,’ because things can happen just that fast. One day my 16-year-old son woke up with a fever and the next day he was gone. The doctor misdiagnosed it. He had an aggressive form of bacterial meningitis. And in the blink of an eye that chapter of my life ended, and I had no clue how to go on.
But this story isn’t about loss… it’s about restoring...
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned in order to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell
It’s cappuccino time.
I pulled out this special cup and saucer from the top shelf of my cupboard today. I’d long forgotten about it. As I washed and carefully dried it, I remembered painting it so long ago, during the darkest hours of my loss.
It says “Moi,” (pronounced “mwaaa” like a big kiss) meaning “me” in French. I remember quite well, each stroke of the brush forming the letters.
I don’t know why I chose to write in French. Perhaps it was because it’s the language of love. I was sending a loving, urgent message, a cry for help… “Heal Moi! Heal Me. Heal Moi.”
I patiently brushed and swirled pink rose petals on the cup. Roses hold the promise of a new beginning. Each winter, I’d cut back roses in my...
“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”—Nelson Mandela
If there’s one common theme in life, it’s that resilience is the necessary life force that helps us stay flexible, buoyant, and strong.
Wikipedia defines resilience as “the ability to cope with change,” and “being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficulties.”
Resilience rears its head when change happens. One stage of life ends, and another begins. It can happen gently and predictably through natural stage-of-life occurrences, like an empty nest, aging, or retirement. Or, change happens unexpectedly from incidents like a loss, divorce, financial struggle, or health.
Life events, planned or unplanned, drive the cycles of change and contribute to the evolution of you. We can struggle and resist for a while,...
The viral photo… You may have seen it.
Three young men leaning out of the drive-thru of Dutch Bros Coffee, their hands joined with the woman inside the car. It was a candid moment, caught by a random iPhone.
The 37-year-old woman was a frequent customer, and typically very friendly. But on this day, something was different. The barista saw her struggle to repeat the order, choking back tears. She apologized and said she’d lost her husband just a few hours before.
In a spontaneous moment, all three baristas reached out through the window, grabbed her hand, and they began to pray.
The person in the car behind took the picture and shared it with the world.
I saw the photo and started to cry; sort of barking really, because today I have no voice. I’m sitting in bed, struggling with the flu and laryngitis. My throat tightened and I convulsed into sobs with no sound.
It triggered a time years ago when I lost my ability...
I heard someone say, grief isn’t a life sentence, it’s a life passage. It’s the one common human experience we all have at one time or another. But we didn’t expect it to be the death of a child, did we? If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve lost a child or been affected by the loss of a child. You’re now discovering grieving is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
I know, because suddenly, without warning, my life changed. My beautiful 16-year old son came home from school complaining of a headache and a fever. The doctor diagnosed him with the flu. But it wasn’t. Sometime during the night, my boy was taken from me forever. I found him the next morning in his bed, lifeless. The misdiagnosis was actually a swift and deadly form of bacterial meningitis.
Have you ever felt such incredible emotion as losing your child? It’s an unimaginable loss, feared by all parents. Unimaginable, until it happens to you. People...
The video above is from the Periscope Broadcast I did on this subject. Here's the article that was also featured on Medium.com:
If there’s one resounding theme in life, it’s that change is certain. Change happens when one stage of life ends and catapults us into another. It happens when life stuns us with a sudden event that changes us forever.
The tragic loss of my 16-year old son was the most staggering. You’ve heard it before… “She lost her child and never recovered.” That was my fear. No one is prepared for loss, especially that of a child. Why do some people bounce back, and others don’t?
As months of grieving went by, I discovered it’s not time at all, it’s what we do with that time that begins the healing process. Healing starts with our ability to activate Resilience.
Funny thing about tragedy, it often makes the creative mind wake up. Suddenly your thoughts are not the same as they were yesterday. Your brain comes alive with activity. It recalls memories, heightens imagination, and in a flash you view life through different eyes. Your life is in chaos and your mind cries out to restore peace and harmony. It never rests.
On the night of my son’s death, exhausted, I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes. I wrapped myself into a ball and sought comfort in a cocoon of sadness. I heard only the din of voices from all of those who gathered in our home to support us through that tragic day.
My brain suddenly came alive. It awakened a compartment of memories, long since forgotten. The projector in my mind was an endless Playlist of Garrett’s life. It was as clear as if the events happened yesterday. I saw him as a baby, crawling in front of the shiny brass chest, amused by his own image. I could hear his voice in my head when he...
How to be Resilient...Even When Life Takes You Down
Use gifts of nature to discover the power of resilience and how you can handle anything that comes your way
My friend, Jody Weiss, and her father, Al, gardened together. They set aside that time for each other. The time was well spent with father and daughter, in synchronicity, tilling the soil and their love for each other. Their reward…the most magnificent blooms, and the most delicious vegetables, from which we all enjoyed.
I remember the year my husband, David, and I were having a large dinner party for a new show he was doing. It was a Sci-FI show called “Sliders,” starring Jerry O’Connelland my dear friend, Cleavant Derricks (a true star in my eyes, as he had won the Tony for “Dream Girls” on Broadway).
David was the new Executive Producer of the show and it was a gathering of producers, writers, and actors. These evenings were spent in vibrant, creative conversations and often gave birth...
You may not know me, but I know you because we share something in common; we’ve both had to face adversity, tragedy, and challenges in our lives. How do I know? Because no one is immune. If you’ve achieved any number of years, you will be, or already have been faced with constant transition, challenges, and change.
Born out of these challenges is an opportunity for greatness. Everyone wants to leave a mark on the world, and everyone has something of value. We’re all on a quest to find that one thing that we can finally say “Ah, that’s why! That was my purpose for living.”
How fortunate Oprah knew. She knew long before any of us realized what she was doing. She decided long ago her purpose was to be a teacher. Not a news reporter, or a typical talk-show host, or a superstar. She carefully wove her path of teaching by enlisting us first, as her attentive audience. After years of watching her, our trust grew, and somewhere along the way we became her...