I normally write inside a coffee shop, or in my office as I am able to shut everything down and go inside this world so I can talk to you.
But today I am writing out on my deck where the sun is so bright I can barely see the screen.
I thought it was important to write this letter to you with the sun and the sky.
After all, I have been gone for two weeks, the sun and the sky took me far away from you, all the way to Greece.
I am home now.
I am listening to the soundtrack of La La Land as I am writing.
I have been thinking about finding the words that will lead me to what has been in my heart the last two weeks.
And I know somehow as I am typing this I will find my way there.
I came back home full of nostalgia not because I had to end my vacation but for all the things I realized while I was there.
You see when we go through tragedy we shut down life so firmly and so efficiently that we don’t even know how effective we are.
And we are effective.
I learned that about myself as I was visiting my hometown in Greece. Prior to the loss, I used to visit every year.
After he died I went back once but never since 2008.
So that is where I was and while there everything hit me all at once.
Grief is sneaky, I knew it was.
After all, I am the one who discovered the Waiting Room that sits between the life before loss and the life after.
I am also the one who created the Life Reentry Model.
You see I had to do this work for myself first and foremost.
But even with all the work I had done.
So much over the course of a decade.
It hit me like a ton of bricks as I was there sitting at the beach, hiking the mountains, seeing old friends and walking down the streets I knew so very well.
Why hadn’t I taken time to visit my hometown all these years?
Why didn’t I swim inside my favorite lagoons anymore?
And as I was wondering all of those things while my daughter had an emergency there.
She collapsed and we spent three days in the hospital trying to figure out why.
In the midst of a simple summer vacation in my hometown remembering myself I had the worst moment of my life.
And it changed everything. It changed everything.
That is when I stopped working. I stopped writing.
I stopped everything.
And wanted to never start it again.
My daughter is totally fine and is back to school.
All the tests came back good and I am not just grateful but beyond it.
And as we left the hospital we went back to the blue lagoons to feel life again.
I stared at the ocean with my daughter in it laughing again.
I swore to myself to spend this next year finding a way to never let life escape from me again.
I had thrown myself into work running away from not only pain but my own Life reentry.
The real Life Reentry.
And what is that?
What is a real Life Reentry?
It is the feeling you get when you walk outside of your house and you smell the air.
It is the moment when your feet are bare and you feel the sand under them.
It is more than just the feeling of thriving even.
Not even f******* grief.
I am alive again.
And I plan to stay feeling alive.
I am so done with the waiting room even the easy one, the one that feels good.
I don’t want to feel good I want to feel immersed inside the wind.
I want my hair to be messy.
My body to ache from the fall I took trying to climb some hill.
I did literally fall while on my last day in Greece and it was quite a fall.
My knee looked like a golf ball sat on it and I laughed out loud for a while. I loved that my knee was messed up.
I loved it.
I was no longer feeling comfortable, tidy, successful, right.
I was starting to feel the aches and pains of living life.
And it will bruise you, and hurt you and make you fall many times.
My two weeks in Greece was both hell and heaven.
The three days inside a Greek hospital with my daughter was hell.
And my moments outside of it looked like heaven on earth.
I needed both the light and darkness to remember why I am here.
And it is not to play it safe, successful and comfortable even if I am afraid of losing everything and everyone.
I am here to be in danger, with swollen knees with massive jet lag, with being scared of everything.
I had a very different conversation with God/universe during these last few days. And he/she was not asking me to save the world.
Just to save me.
And if I did that then, well then it would be as it should be.
I would be able to write the truth, my truth and that would make the universe better somehow.
I am going to ask you for something today that I have not asked you before.
Do something that makes you want to swear out loud.
Makes you want to cry from being afraid.
Do something that leaves a bruise.
And share the story about how you got it.
When my daughter collapsed I felt like my body could not survive the seconds while she was unconscious.
I started going numb on my left side from fear.
And that is when everything changed for me.
I screamed at my soul.
And I didn’t have to ‘stay’ for more than 5 seconds.
She came around and threw up everywhere, alive, conscious.
She looked for my hand that was wrapped around her waist as she was throwing up and she said “It is ok mommy, don’t worry. I am ok.”
Well God, universe, my dear soul I have learned that we run away from life after tragedy so we don’t have to hurt again.
Because when we go back to it the chances of us being bruised are much higher.
But not letting the bruise bruise our bodies and hearts is still bruising.
But much worse. It is a soul bruise.
And that kind of bruise is the worst type. It doesn’t heal.
And I never want to bruise my soul again by efficiently shutting down life.
I hope you forgive me for being so brutal today.
Life Reentry is much more brutal than I thought it was.
But without it we might as well not live.
And I am not ever going to let that happen to me again.
I hope you feel the same way about your own life after loss.
Don’t ever let f****** grief get in the way of your bruises.
They make you.
Not having them breaks you.
I had it all wrong.