So many of you have been reaching out via message, e-mail, written love notes and texts as this March 1 date approaches and it seems important for me to share more of my process and the latest scope of my journey with you as I can imagine its even more impossible now to know "what to say" or "what to do" to connect with me; to understand where I'm at. Please know that no matter what you write, I receive the "I love you and I'm here for you" message as intended. Thank you for continuing to show up for me!
This weekend, three of my soul sisters and I will hold sacred space in a tiny cabin wrapped in the seclusion and majesty of Mother Nature to celebrate Reid's vibrant, well-lived life through ritual, meditation, movement and sharing. We will celebrate our love story, a fourteen year chapter of my life that gifted me many happy memories and four beautiful souls to nurture and grow. We will mark and honor the hour of his transition. We will reflect on the gift that he was to us and the lessons on living and loving we have learned through this loss.
We will also honor the full and vibrant life that lies ahead for me; a second chapter...the rest of MY story; a life that one year ago I believed was neither possible or permissible. The universe has swirled up extraordinary circumstances to collect and reassemble the pieces of my brokenness and ensure they were touched by the stardust of incredible souls along every step of my journey back to life. I have marveled with gratitude, even since the first day of this year of loss, at the way exactly the right people have been in exactly the right place and shown up for me in exactly the right ways. All of you have been part of my process to opening myself up to peace and dreaming and delighting in my life once again and the precious gift of all the days yet to come on my journey. Gratitude has truly been the ever-present lifeboat that has carried me through the swells of grief and learning and being turned inside-out by this loss and delivered me to this new place of living.
I am grateful for the family who loves me and these babies so deeply. You have held me up when I had to stand tall and you have created space for me to collapse and turn inward and escape when that's all I had strength for. Care for my home and my littles and the endless work of the international transition has been shouldered so heavily by you loving souls and your selflessly offered time and tired hands. Thank you for creating space for me to crawl and heal and find my way back to myself and unearth the new life path in this process.
I am grateful for the military family who has stood beside our family, working hard to make "the process" happen efficiently and as quickly as possible. You have flocked to my side, showered us with love, and honored him deeply in ways that have touched our hearts over and over. You have treated me as a sister and offered protection, assistance and above all: friendship.
I am grateful for the powerful sisterhood of wild, soul-full women who have held my heart in your hands this year while I've done the powerful, sometimes terrifying and very essential work of reassembling the brokenness that came when they knocked on my door. You trembled with me as I clawed my way through the black expanse of loss and the exhaustion of the empty, early months. You showed up for me, fed me, clothed me, laughed with me, cried with me, ran with me, held me, danced with me, protected my need for silence and solitude and later gathered in tribes when the time was right to create sacred space for reflection and growth. You saw into me and did not turn away; you refused to allow me to slip into the invisibility of widowhood and championed my journey back to myself and the self-discovery that came along the way. You dreamed the possibility of a beautiful life story beyond loss for me when dreaming couldn't yet come. You shined your light into the cracked-wide-open edges of my heart that opened me fully to lessons of self-love and worthiness and living my truth without apology that's left me forever changed. You gently blew into the ash to keep the fire burning with the wisdom and knowing that eventually I would emerge from the flame with wings in full extension and you have so beautifully and tenderly celebrated each tiny and sometimes bold step I've taken on this path forward.
"You've seen my descent, now watch my rising." -Rumi
I'm grateful to find myself here one year later filled with peace, able to see the transition of living beyond the loss and fear - fully embracing the gift of days yet to come and celebrating that gift of time I was lucky to share with Reid. From the brokenness, I've come to know and walk my truth more deeply and operate from a place of self-love and celebration of the story, just as it is. From the darkness, I've come to see the profound magic in each moment and memory, each connection and treasured sunset. And here I am, wrapped in gratitude and opening to living the life of my new dreams with my intuition as my guide and a beautiful tribe of sisters at my side. I've jumped on the very long training path for an Ironman triathlon (a dream I could hardly mustered the courage to say out loud until a few months ago), I've begun a transforming and delightful 200 hr yoga teacher training program which has already invited beautiful change into my days and I've taken steps to create space in my life to actually write the book...all previously "someday, maybe" dreams that are now becoming my new normal. Travel is being planned, dreams are being woven, someday spaces for relocation are being sniffed out and explored and the joy of my days is real.
They say there is no timeline on grief and we each have our own story in it and our own process through it; he will always be missed from our days and remembered with great joy by those who loved him - and yet I ask you to please instead of wrapping yourself in sadness and pity for those he transitioned from, please celebrate his life on March 1. Please reflect on who he was to you, what lessons you learned in his presence and after his passing. Please tell his stories, laugh in the memories, toast again and again to the days he lived and keep him alive on your heart and in the actions and words of your own life. The chapter I shared with Reid will always be part of my story but I have found the permission within me to open myself to all the possibilities of delight ahead, to the rest of my story beyond loss. Please know that instead of sadness and brokenness and despair as the sun rises on March 1, I will be consciously celebrating the story we shared, remembering what he was to all of us and honoring the way he lived the life of his dreams, full of gratitude for having danced with his soul along a part of my journey.