Do Whatever it Takes to Get Through This

“Do whatever you have to, to get through the pain after I am gone.” my husband said to me a few months before he died.

“Whatever it takes.” he said.

“It doesn’t matter what it is you have to do, if it makes you feel better then do it.”

I didn’t always follow his advice but it did help me feel less guilt when my choices after loss were not perfect.

When we lose someone we love, it hurts like hell.

And I don’t know how he knew to tell me this then.

But the pain is so unbearable that we have to do whatever it takes to get through it.

You will make decisions you will regret.

And you will say and do things that you wish you hadn’t.

So what?

When your person vanishes from your existence and your heart is crushed, you have to do whatever you need, to keep on standing. (Click Here to Tweet!)

Don’t be ashamed.

You are still good.

You are just hurting badly.

So I am going to give you a few examples of my “whatever it took.”

And then I want to hear yours.

We will use WIT for short.

Ok here we go.

Some of my WITs:

-I went out on a few dates with someone I didn’t see a future with after he died, but he kept me company on the phone and asked me how my day was.

-I had a few too many glasses of wine the year following his loss.

-I spent more money that I should have on things I didn’t need.

-I didn’t eat for a year or two. Then I ate everything.

The list is long. But you get the picture.

Now it’s your turn.

What are yours?

Write them down, release them from shame and know that you had to do what you had to do to get through.

I will be doing a big post on this on our Facebook page here so everyone can share their WITs. You are not alone in this.

No shame in doing what you have to, to get through your loss.

With life and so many WITs,


P.S. Do you have a copy of Second Firsts? If not here is where you can grab yours:

What is the Meaning of Home After Loss

I have been writing about life after loss for almost 8 years and it just hit me today.

After loss, tragic loss especially, the feeling of home is hard to find.

You never feel at home again.

You move houses.

You look for new beginnings but nothing is quite like the home feeling you had before the loss.

When you felt like you belonged.

When everyone was yours.

And you were theirs.

I don’t talk about it much, but living with my stepdaughters has always made me feel like my home is not my home.

And I will leave it at that.

But here is the unexpected gift of it all.

I carry my home inside of me.

I am my home.

You can find me mostly at home walking the streets.


In my car driving.

In the darkness of a movie theater.

At the beach.

I took my home with me.

I do live in a beautiful home overlooking mountain tops.

But the views have become more my home than what’s inside of it.

And now that my own girls are so grown up.

One of them is going to college, the other is close behind, when they are not at home I find myself not wanting to be there either.

But here is what I know.

Happiness now means the insides of my own mind. (Click to Tweet!)

It means that my thoughts, my feelings are my home.

Even when I fell in love again and married the most wonderful man, my happiness was an inside job.

I had become an island.

And I stayed an island.

Now dear friend, I must tell you that happiness that stems from you is the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world.

You never run out.

You don’t need someone else to make you happy.

Loss may be devastating for the traditional lives you used to live. But a magnificent builder of lives you never thought were possible.

May you have the feeling of home everywhere you go. A thousand places, a thousand homes made by you.

With life,


P.S. If you are a therapist, a social worker, a pastor, a life coach helping people after loss please apply for our six month long Life Reentry Practitioner certification program here:

It starts January 15th, we have an incredible payment plan and we are putting together one heck of a class. I look forward to our interviews with all of you:

The Monkey Bars

It’s not a dance.

Or a musical piece.

And it’s not a walk on the beach.

It’s a bruise.

A gasp.

A torture.

I am talking about life.

Not even after loss, just life.

I think the first time I realized life was hard was when this girl at my middle school grabbed me from the monkey bars and threw me on the ground.

Nobody rushed over to help me up.

Nobody told off the girl.

Everyone kind of looked away.

My teacher called my mom to come get me earlier.

And I remember him telling her, it was nothing.

I was holding back all of my tears.

Trying to look like it was nothing.

But it was a very shameful embarrassing moment I remember very vividly.

Earlier than that I remember my kindergarten teacher pulling my hair in front of the whole class.

I wanted the earth to open up and take me in.

I can go further back or I can go forward.

Plenty of torturous shaming hard life moments where the self gets trashed, shaken and ashamed.

I know you have had moments like mine, some of you worse.

And they have all been invisible and kicked into nothingness.

But here is what I know now.

Life can be a dance but not the type you might be thinking. It’s not a disco dance. But the drumming type. (Click here to tweet!)

Drumming to the beat of the bruises the gasps, the tortures and the human spirit.

Listen to this.

Feel the rhythm and the beat.

And step into it.

This is where we belong.

And when you drum like this, nothing can defeat you.

The drum sounds like this in words. I can do anything I want

The drum feels like this in feelings. I am hurt but I will not surrender, I will never give up

The drum moves like this in actions. I am going to keep climbing against all odds.

The drum loves like this in compassion. Give yourself a break, you need it

The drum understands in gratitude. Grateful for all the falls, the pull downs and the bruises

And the drum sounds like your heartbeat. Vibrating through the universe in eternity.

Dear girl, who pulled me down from the monkey bars, I forgive you.

May you hear your drums.

And dance to it.

When you do, nobody can pull you down from the monkey bars.

With life,


P.S. Today we open registration for the next practitioner program that begins January 15th. Apply here:

60 Selves and Counting

It has been 12 years.

He passed 2:00 am EST on July 21st 2006.

If I could count all the selves I have been since that night I would probably count at least 60.

The first 4 came in and out really fast.

I will tell you about them later on.

There were 40 or so the first 3 years.

Then 4 every year for the next 2 years, one every 3 months or so.

After the first 5 years I evolved a little slower than the beginning.

Maybe 2 new selves in a year.

And now in the end of my 12th year I can say that I have been with this self since January.

7 months and going strong.

This self is the most equipped to stick around.

She is persistent.


She thinks she is the self that can outsmart all the ones before her and stay the longest.

You see, evolution immediately after loss is quite intense and fast.

We change rapidly.

It is almost like you are reborn.

You know I call it reentry.

But nobody really tells you about this.

Grief is an evolutionary experience. It hurts so much it changes our DNA. (Click here to tweet!)

It changes our thoughts. Our emotions. Our taste buds even. Yup.

Everything we were made of, gets unmade.

Pain of the soul is evolutionary.

I look back at all 60 selves and each one of them was different.

The first one came along in that hospital room, she walked me out and gave me the strength to make the calls.

The second one helped me tell my girls about their dad.

She stayed for about a week.

Got me through the funeral, the kids sleeping with me and moving the beds around.

Then number three came along and got me running outside, and moving my body when I thought I would lose my mind.

Number four, helped me take the girls to the UK for their first adventure without their dad. Number five got me through the holidays.

Number six got me my first job since his passing.

And it goes on, all the way to now. They all did their part.

It has been easier to think of myself as 60 versions of me.

I understand what happened better.

Loss brings rebirths. Plural yes.

It is time to start looking at grief and its aftermath as a reentry of selves.

How many selves have you been since your loss?

Write them down.

Tell your family about them.

They will get to know you and understand you better if you do.

Most people around us keep thinking we are still that person before the loss happened, and here we are 60 versions later. It is time they knew. :)

With 60 Christinas and counting,


P.S. Here is a highlight video of the selves that helped me do this work:

The Blades

I often think about kneeling on the ground to pray.

I don’t do it.

But I have the feeling of it.

It’s hard to be strong all the time.

Knowing that nobody can help you.

People who are strong, are strong endlessly.

I have never met someone who was strong for a few days and then wasn’t.

Have you?

Once you are strong, you are strong forever.

How does strength feel?  It hurts like hell. (Click here to tweet!)

I would go as far as to say, it feels like a blade. 

You have to walk with it, speak with it, live with it.

The blade is situated inside your heart. 

But nobody can see it from the outside. 

You just look strong.

You don’t complain.

You don’t look hurt.

You go along with life almost as if you are bladeless.

On the outside it looks like strength.

From the inside it feels like pain.

Strong people hurt. Endlessly. Quietly.

I know you are one of them.

The strong person. With the blade in your heart.

Talking to someone about the blade is not easy, is it?

We think it is easier not to say anything about it.

After all, you are getting by fine.

Why speak of the blade?

I am like you, I hide my blades. And yes. There is more than one.

I hide my blades from everyone.

I don’t want them to think I am not strong.

But today I am telling you about them.

So you can do the same thing.

Tell someone about it.

I bet they have a blade too.

With vulnerability and blades,


P.S. Make the Life Reentry class yours. Purchase it here:

The Permanence of NEVER

I wasn’t a writer before he died.

But grief turned out to be the great word maker.

A great obliterator.

It shook me to get these words out.

When grief found me inconsolable it gave me a pen and said write your way out, console yourself. Get yourself beyond the insanity. (Click to tweet!)

But I didn’t write anything the first 4 years.

I had a diary, and wrote some of these words there.

But nowhere else.

The words started to stuck up. And up and up.

All of a sudden they started to spill out.

The words taught me that there was no going back to who I was.

Only who I could become.

A mixed blessing, that grief is.

Isn’t it?

Grief imposes itself on our DNA.

Did you know? 

The becoming after grief is unstoppable.  It unlocks us from the old life and throws the new keys across the far away horizon.

Where we have to search, adjust, write our way to them. We start the quest towards the keys we never wanted.

All we seek to find is a way to break back into the old life.

At first we think it is possible. So we ask and scream, and yell.

But all we hear are the echoes of never again.

I remember when I realized that what happened was permanent.

You would think it was the first months or even years.

But it was much later.

There are things only time can show us.

My daughters’ loss of their dad was so vast and so destiny binding that I only managed to see it’s havoc as time moved us forward.

On our way to finding the new keys.

I had to travel nearly 12 years into the future to see what never again meant.

I saw birthdays, kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school graduations.

I saw house moves. Health scares. Aging.

And life happening for a long time before I felt the permanence of never.

Never means eternity.

You see now?

Only words can capture what really happened.

Without them, all of it would be lost on the way to the new horizon.

The words kept track of all my nevers and made my new becoming a little more familiar.

May your nevers be captured along the way to your new keys as well.

With new keys and thousands of nevers,


P.S. My Life Reentry class yours forever. Register here:

Life After Loss Spins You Around Like a Tornado

I was having dinner with a good friend the other night and I was sharing a few more thoughts that I usually share and it hit me.

It just literally hit me over the head.

I had stopped sharing my personal thoughts and feelings with others.

I was used to sharing the superficial self.

After the dinner I was trying to figure out when did that start happening?

And why.

It has been happening for years now.

It started when I had to change faster than the people around me because of the loss.

It was like I was spinning while everyone else was walking by.

You see the spinning after loss doesn’t include the walkers of a routine life.

So when the spinning slowed down and I was able to join the walk, trying to explain how dizzy I was from the spinning was not easy.

The walkers had never experienced a long spin cycle.

Spinning for as long as you and I have, alters everything.

When you join the walk again you are no longer a walker but a spinner.

Spinners don’t walk like the walkers.

We make circles around the walkers.

So then life goes on, without really talking about what’s inside our spin.

And now and again you will meet another spinner and say more than you normally say.

When one spinner can see the other the superficiality drops.

And you can talk from inside the spin.

When you are able to spin with someone you no longer feel alone.

And you don’t have to pretend to walk anymore.

I am not here to tell you not to share your thoughts with the people in your life who love you.

You can if you want, and I do sometimes.

But know that it is only natural to feel as if they don’t get it.

They can’t.

They have never span like you.

Life after loss spins you around like a tornado, nothing is the same after. (Click to Tweet!)

My life after loss, has had many tornadoes, some I created, some came to me.

Spinning is part of life now, even after you healed, reentered and understood what happened to you.

Now you must learn to be in the spin and find other spinners to share your heart out.

Anything else is not worth your time.

You are my spinners and I am yours.

And I am so grateful for that.

With lots of spinning,


Join the Life Reentry on Demand class here:

Honestly, Life After Loss Feels Like Boot Camp

You can be with as many people as possible but the you inside of you, is alone.

You experience everything as one.

Every emotion is not felt through you as a group or as a family.

Even if everyone feels the same grief or fear, it is not felt together.

The emotion doesn’t get shared.

The load can only be carried by you.

The grief can only be processed by your heart.

It is you that has to get out of your comfort zone.

No matter how much love, support, attention and care you have, you are doing this alone.

This is why I am speaking to you in this manner.

The only thing I or others can do is witness you and love you.

The you, is the only real guide of your life.

The only place you have to master.

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary

With grief, it is not the loss you have to overcome but how you can command yourself through it.

How you can pick up yourself from the floor after a whole night of crying.

Find the strength to pack up their things from the closet.

Sell their car.

Get yourself to work.

You see, it is always about how YOU can do this.

Nobody else can do any of this but you.

What am I asking you to do here?

I am asking you to train yourself.

Honestly, life after loss feels like boot camp. Military style. It hurts like hell. And you have to keep going. (Click to Tweet!)

Everything is stopping you from life reentry and yet you have to scream through it all to make it.

So when they come to advice you about what to do, you look them in the eyes and smile.

Put your hand on their shoulder and say thank you but I got this.

Because you do.

It is your screams. Your tears. Your panic attacks.

It is your mountain and nobody can carry you there but your heart, your legs, your brain and your own mind.

The you inside must do it all.

I am sorry. I wish it was different.

The good news is, you are the mountain.

And you have nothing to fear.

Life after loss is under your command.

With many mountains and summits,


P.S. Finally the Life Reentry class is on Demand. 6 weeks. 6 videos. One big group.

And it is forever yours, to take the journey as many times as possible. And I will be there inside that group to see your grief cleanses, and your plug ins and your many reentries. REGISTER HERE

The Ladybird On Your Hand

I was on the train last night going in to the city to celebrate my friend’s new book, and the ride felt unnaturally long.

It was as if we were traveling thousands of miles.

I have been on that train many times.

The 30 minutes go by so fast normally, but not last night.

It was almost as if I had stepped outside of my life.

Outside of everything.

The struggle. The hurry.

The pursuit of meaning.

The pursuit of something that keeps moving away from you.

You can’t hold it in your hand.

You can never obtain it.

Own it.

After death, divorce, job loss or anything that impacts your whole being, the pursuit of something that will ground you again is relentless.

You seek it every morning.

You look for it in others at work, at home.

You try to find it in yourself.

And it is always fleeting.

Like those butterflies who fly close to your hand but they never stay there.

They always fly away.

Ladybirds though, stay.

Maybe it is ok to enjoy our ladybirds even if we always seek the butterflies.

Even though Life Reentry after loss is at my core being.

And I believe it happens. Many times.

However, I also know that there are some things that are forever lost after a tragic loss.


Happy go lucky feeling.

Laughter without limits.

Dancing without crying.

Loving without fear.

Small talk. (Click to Tweet!)

The list is long to last 100 letters. But I think you know this.

And you might be thinking, but Christina aren’t you supposed to cheer us up?

Tell us don’t worry one day things will be better.

No I am not.

I am here to tell you that being real with life after loss is how we could get to the butterfly.

How we find meaning again.

How we find ourselves.

How we could consider loving without fear of losing.

Sugar coating life after loss keeps people in the Waiting Room.

Knowing the dangers, the pitfalls, the heartbreaks leads to freedom and true life reentry.

What did you feel like you lost forever?

Say it. Write it. Then let it go.

It is ok if we can never find our way back to that carefree person, she/he doesn’t live inside of us anymore.

I am ok with that.

Ladybirds are also beautiful.


With many ladybirds and some butterflies too,


PS. My dear friend Kristine Carlson wrote this extraordinary book about the hero’s journey after loss. I hope you grab your copy today here.

We Walked on the Edge

It’s like the side of your foot doesn’t have anywhere to rest on.

You can’t stand still when you are on there.

There is no space to.

It is as if you can lose it all.

It is the all or nothing arena.

You feel like throwing up just before you step on it.

Sleep is unachievable.

And that foot never gets to have a whole area under it.

I am talking about what it feels like to step on the edge.

The edge is this narrow line that won’t let you forget how it can give it all to you and take it all from you.

But the longer you stay there, the more the edge gives to you.

It gives you a new identity.

A sense of pride.

Awe and wonder.

A new perspective.

The edge is thin but its depth is vast.

I spent two days on the edge with a big group of my readers and life re-enterers last week.

And we all stepped on our own edge. All of us.

Life after loss requires discomfort. Making big decisions.
Saying no to things you have been saying yes to.
Leaving people behind. Ending relationships.
Selling houses. Getting on planes. Speaking your truth.

And we did it all.

All of it.

We were all on the edge together and somehow we got to stay on it longer than if we were standing on our own.

I am in awe of everyone who put their feet next to mine and put it all on the line last week.

The edge is not easy to walk on but once you do, you want to go back there. (Click to Tweet!)

What is your edge?

What are you afraid of doing?

With love and edges,