mining gold in hell

December 31, 2010

Finding purpose, finding meaning in my loss has been my lifeline. It is the only thing that has kept me going and organized me up from being a puddle of pain lying at the bottom of the abyss and into a functioning, spirited, driven, human being. I urge you to find your own meaning and purpose in your loss and begin to tell a new story, over and over again, about your life and the reasons you’ve had to endure what you are experiencing. There is a real purpose for your being here at this time, this place. Your heartache, your loss, your grief, your pain is molding you into a new version of yourself. Whether you feel it or not. Try to uncover the gold, your gifts and strengths that have been hiding in the shadows for so long. You are so close to them now. What are they? How can you use them? What can you do with them? What can you do with them to make your life a better one, an exalted version of the one you used to live?

How can you live up to the highest designs of your being? How can you use what you’re experiencing to be of service to others? How can you make the pain you are going through or have gone through worthwhile and echo out through the annals of history? You may not know the answers now, the pain might be too deep and the darkness too blinding, but keep fumbling one foot forward, one step at a time, and more will be revealed in time. I promise. Don’t let your loss be in vain.




I’m haunted by the melancholy of this beautiful love song by Taylor Swift. It pulls at my heart, makes me gaze out the window at the ocean. I could gaze for hours. Swift’s music takes me back to Oklahoma wheatfields, twirling with John down a dirt road, and fishing through hot thunderstorms of rural Texas. The fantasy of riding in a pick-up with the captain (and state champion) of the football team, dust blowing on our trail. We had those moments, but not nearly enough to fulfill the dreams I had for our future – living a simple life in the country. Two-stepping under the big sky.

So thank you Taylor, for the longing, for the nostalgia.

P.S {sorry if this is a “debbie downer” – i had to share…}

I still remember the look on your face
Lit through the darkness at 1:58
The words that you whispered for just us to know
You told me you loved me so why did you go… away.

I do recall now the smell of the rain,
Fresh on the pavement,
I ran off the plane,
That July night, the beat of your heart,
It jumps through your shirt I can still feel your arms.

But now I’ll go sit on the floor wearing your clothes,
All that I know is I don’t know,
How to be something you miss.
Never thought we’d have a last kiss
Never imagined we’d end like this
Your name, forever the name on my lips

I do remember the swing of your step
The life of the party you’re showing off again
And I roll my eyes and then you pulled me in.
I’m not much for dancing,
But for you I did because
I loved your handshake meeting my father
I love how you walk with your hands in your pockets
How you’d kiss me when I was in the middle of saying something.
There’s not a day I don’t miss those rude interruptions and

I’ll go sit on the floor wearing your clothes,
All that I know is I don’t know, how to be something you miss.
Never thought we’d have a last kiss
Never imagined we’d end like this
Your name forever the name on my lips

So I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep and
I’ll feel you forget me like I use to feel you breathe and
I’ll keep up with our old friends just to ask them how you are.
Hope it’s nice where you are and
I hope the sun shines and it’s a beautiful day and
Something reminds you,
You wish you had stayed we can plan for a change in weather and time,
I never planned on you changing your mind.

I’ll go sit on the floor wearing your clothes,
All that I know is I don’t know, how to be something you miss.
Never thought we’d have a last kiss
Never imagined we’d end like this
Your name forever the name on my lips,
Just like our last kiss,
Forever the name on my lips,
Forever the name on my lips.
Just like our last

* polarities *

December 19, 2010

“The brighter the light, the darker the shadow,” a therapist once said in response to my gushing about my new boyfriend John and how light and loving he was. I rolled my eyes. I hated that new-agey platitude. What a bunch of psycho-babble. And besides, what did he know? If he’d only met John, he’d understand…

Well, two and a half years later — after John’s shocking suicide, clearly I was wrong. The therapist was right. I understand this expression very well now.

In recent months, I’ve also come to understand how the opposite of that statement is just as true:

The darker the shadow, the brighter the light. The depths of our pain, anger, and sorrow are proportionate to the amounts of love, joy, and warmth we feel and are capable of. The light waiting for us on the other side of our grief and suffering.

I once saw a video at the Suicide Prevention Center in honor of survivors of suicide and the loved ones they’d loss. The smile on each survivor’s face glowed unlike any I’ve ever seen. Stronger, brighter than other people’s. I was struck by the light radiating from their eyes. Unusual. Staring a suicide in the face and living through one of the most incomprehensible kinds of death touches some of the deepest, darkest places in our soul. We live there for quite some time. But when we emerge, nothing is ever the same. Joy is richer, laughter is deeper, and life feels more abundant- so palpable you can squeeze it in your fist. This is what is inherent in the pain itself. A high on life unlike anything else; grounded, solid, and real. And trust me, given my life experiences, I’m the last person I’d ever expect to say this. I grew up in the shadows. John’s death killed me. Never in a million years would I have anticipated this.

sweet acceptance

December 10, 2010

I know some of you out there reading this are in the thick of your grief and can’t imagine life ever getting any easier or your pain subsiding. I remember being there: feeling that my wounds would never stop oozing, my tears would never stop flowing, and I would never feel complete without my beloved. I would never have imagined that I would be ok again.

Over the course of this past  month-and-a-half something has shifted in me in an enormous way. I wrote in an earlier post that I was suffering from what I called the second year anniversary blues. The weeks and months before the second year anniversary were fraught with much anger, chaos, stress, and constant low-grade irritation. Then it was the anniversary of John’s birthday on November 1st. He would have been 32. A close and dear friend visited and stayed with me. I was able to shed some tears over the loss of his beauty and how hard it has been not seeing his kind of beauty replicated anywhere in the world. How hard it is to begin dating men again when no one compares to his inner and outer beauty. My friend shared of her own loss of how his special, kind, loving nature had affected her so deeply.  We stood in the middle of Barnes and Nobles as she held me in her arms and I cried.

We saw the movie The Hereafter together and that helped me understand at a greater level that the grief and loss that we experience when a loved one dies is such an excruciatingly painful part of life that we all experience. It’s not just me and a few people I know experiencing the sadness of a death. It’s all of us. All around the world, people are crying, missing, and longing for their loved ones. We are not alone in our grieving. The Hereafter also reminded me of what a sweet feeling of relief it is to know that our loved ones are still alive, loving us, always with us, and even a part of us.

On the day of John’s birthday a state of grace set in. The week between his birthday and the day of his passing (November 7th) was an unusually hot one here in Los Angeles, with temperatures up in the eighties. It was a week full of warmth, peacefulness, and gorgeous sunset drives home on the freeway with palm tree silhouettes back-lit with yellows and blues.

That weekend I spent at a buddhist monastery in the mountains near San Diego. I turned off my phone, retreated from the world, and rested. During my meditation on sunday November 7th, through tears of love, I heard guidance telling me to rejoice and celebrate the day as the day in which John was finally released from his pain. The day he found the freedom he had always searched for. I could choose to commemorate the anniversary of his passing as a sad, lonely, depressing day or I could choose to celebrate it with him and feel joy about his release. I didn’t have to miss him or feel separated from him because he is with me and always will be. So go down the mountain and celebrate and have fun together, is what I heard. And so I chose to celebrate. I left the monastery and drove to the ocean ( i love california!). It so happened that there was a village fair going on that day in the town I happened to drive right into. I wandered through the fair in a state of peace, joy, and gratitude for all the beauty in my life and most of all for John’s companionship and love.

That day was a miracle – a shift in my perception – and since then I have let go of the past that I used to have with John. I have let go of my grief, my sorrow, and my loss. My perspective in my life and the world has changed so dramatically from a few years ago. My life and my place in the world feels exciting. Time is moving fast (and I love that) and I am more conscious of the gifts in my day to day life and the gifts that I have been given in order to be here and be of service.  I am excited for my future and the possibilities that lay ahead.

I know that what I just described may feel far off or impossible for some. I offer it here as a possibility; an invitation of hope. I never thought I would feel this way. And here I am. Let me hold the space for the possibility that one day you will feel infinitely better than you can imagine right now.  Things will get better in time, I promise. Keep grieving, keep processing, journaling, dancing, moving, meditating, and healing.  And in whatever it is that you do – don’t forget to pray for a miracle.