Eight Hundred Words That Changed My Life –
I had the pleasure of speaking at the Detroit Motherless Daughters Luncheon on Mother’s Day Weekend. I was asked to speak after the organizer read the article I wrote on the death of my parents.
Today I want to share with you what I shared with these 50 women and how those 800 words changed my life.
About nine months ago, I was having a tough day. I sat down at my computer to write an article for Huff Post , probably about relationships or divorce. But I was missing my mom, because she was not physically here to share in my success as a writer. I started crying and I simply could not focus on my topic. To this day I still can’t remember what it was.
My mother was my driving force, biggest cheerleader and knew me better than I knew me. So for her to be gone and unable to share in this, hug me, tell me her thoughts, was like wind being taken out of the sails on a ship.
She also liked to throw spoons at us. She had a whole bucket on the kitchen counter. Who else had a mom that threw spoons? One time she was on the phone (back when they still had chords) and couldn’t reach the spoon stash. She picked up a tub of country crock and flung it at my brother. He thought it was hilarious when it hit and ran down the wall – until she made him clean it up.
That was one of the memories I called upon while I was stuck there in front of the computer. In that moment, I had a catharsis. Even though I was reminiscing on happier times and funny stories, I was still a little mad that she was gone. I purged all of the things that made me mad about losing my parents (My father had passed just about 18 months after my mom) into an article.
It poured out of me, I hit send, it went live and that was that. Until three months later. Out of nowhere it went viral. I started receiving emails, texts, Facebook posts from friends – talking about my article. I was completely unaware of the life this post had taken on.
Then the stranger emails started piling up. Several hundred of them, and they still come to me weekly even now. That article has been translated into four different languages, syndicated and has been either shared, talked about or “liked” close to one million times on social media.
All because I was having a moment – probably a moment you all have had from time to time. While time passes and the grief gets less, it never entirely goes away. One minute you’re laughing it up and the next you’re ugly crying because of a commercial or a post on Facebook. And then you go back to laughing because you’re like “What was that”?
In the initial onslaught of my 15 minutes of fame and the months since, while reading those comments and emails I’ve learned the most valuable lesson.
Hope is given or received every day, by strangers, to strangers – and sometimes we don’t even know the impact we have. Granted, I wasn’t consciously trying to impact anyone. It was just a bad day on my end. Nonetheless a powerful thing happened. I made a massive human connection with men and women, all around the world.
The one statement I heard over and over again was “Thank you. I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I’m grateful for your words and to know I am not alone”.
There were haters too, but because negativity doesn’t serve my higher purpose, I won’t even give them my breath today. I instead (and did so then) send them healing thoughts and love, because “This dead parents club” as I call it has millions of surviving members. Every story is different, yet we are bound by that one unfortunate thing –the loss of a parent. I know that they have suffered this loss too.
I’m a pretty spiritual person, so I believe that this article was divine work. It hit the eyes and ears of those who needed it in that moment.
I cried for about 5 days straight after that post went viral, reading my email. People were writing me from a parent’s death bed in a hospital. Some knew they were in the last days with their loved one. One gentleman wrote me from an airplane, while writing his father’s eulogy.
This response, I believe, was my higher purpose calling back to me to say, “THIS. This is why you are here – to help people move up, on, past diversity and circumstance.” All I had to do at that point was listen.
And I did.
It prompted me to re-examine my purpose as a whole, my business and its goals as well as how I was prioritizing my life and family. Within two months of this shift I completely changed the focus of my business from coaching men to coaching women. It was like a missing puzzle piece that had been hidden in a couch cushion.
The universe is like a big couch. Within the cushions and hidden behind pillows are the forgotten, the missing pieces and the occasional potato chip. It’s life’s big game of hide-and-seek. It is our obligation to seek between the cushions. And sometimes tear the whole thing apart before we can re-assemble it.
Funny how life works sometimes – one day were plotting along just being us and then it hits us like a lightning bolt that the time we get is not just precious or fleeting, but important in ways we might not even be aware of.
Initially we think we are but one tiny wind, drop of water or jump of a fish, on the ocean that we call life. However that action, no matter how small creates a ripple. Eventually that ripple, given the right conditions can create a wave. That wave moves along until it reaches the shoreline. It completes its destiny and hopefully manifests a tidal wave of abundance in your life.
I’d like to share a passage from one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s from her book Big Magic:
I think that is what our mothers would want for us. What they most likely wanted for us always – to bring our treasures to light, share our magic and believe that we are too big in our purpose, to ever think or act small.
P.S. I highly recommend the book Big Magic. It is beautifully written, funny and inspirational.
Let’s connect and thrive together! Join my free newsletter to get advice and tips to guide you in navigating your new or reclaimed life, a free mastermind group, and a copy of my eBook “Planning Me”.