I was visiting Hawaii eight years ago in December when grief and trauma cracked me clean in two.
I can’t help but remember it all as I wake up and take in the sights this morning because that loss is forever seared into the side of my heart. The grief lives in my cells, though the weight is far lighter.
I forgot a lot in the months following his death, with many moments and memories still lost to this day. But I remember being here. I remember falling to my knees in my mom’s muggy garage that awful December night, Christmas lingering just around the corner. I remember being swallowed up by a grief so big my skin literally hurt, the tears never seemed to stop, and I could feel my heart physically aching inside my chest.
I’m glad to be here today.
And I’m insanely grateful for the journey.
I didn’t think I deserved to be happy after he died because I carried so much guilt and shame. I didn’t believe I’d ever recover as I watched myself, my life, my business, and my health all slip away so rapidly and chaotically that I didn’t know which way was up.
But here I am, nearly eight years later.
Happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. More whole and healed than I ever knew possible. More in love with myself, my life, and the people in it than I knew my heart could handle. Aligning more deeply every day and unbelievably excited about what’s to come.
There was no imagining this moment, this gratitude, or this life back then.
And even if I’d tried, I never could’ve guessed who I’d become and how life would open to me as a result of choosing to heal and grow in the aftermath of the most horrific and heartbreaking season I’ve ever known.
Healing is a choice.
One I’ll always be glad I made.
And this morning—standing two islands away from the spot my entire life began unraveling nearly eight long years ago—I’m especially grateful to the younger, broken version of myself who continually chose to claw her way out of the darkness when it felt impossible and overwhelming.