While you deleted your story which was in response to my piece on the Last Ten Pounds, I did get to read it. It struck a potent, powerful chord, and I simply wished to reach back out to you and acknowledge. It takes great courage to embrace the losses we experience as gifts. To wit, my big brother, the remaining other member of my family, committed suicide suicide six years ago last October. These losses have inherent within them the potential to permanently devastate, while simultaneously give us extraordinary grace. It is in this kind of huge event that we explore some of the deepest places in our inner worlds that contain the seeds of our real work. In loss, we understand love. In loss, we understand joy. And in loss, we also understand real gratitude. Your extremely potent words — the gift of grief — shows a remarkable level of emotional maturity in the face of overwhelming pain. It is indeed a gift. My heart goes out to you and your family, but what is very, very clear is that you offer your kids and your friends a real beacon of strength. Strength in vulnerability, and your willingness to let your emotions wash over you, cleanse you, change you, and even uplift you.

In the terrible moments that we face in the deep quiet of the night, when we reach for someone who is no longer there, when we speak out loud to those who still exist near us in the dark, when we ache for the touch of those we loved, we find a strength that we didn’t know we had. My brother’s death imbued in me a commitment to live out loud for my last decades, and honor what remains of my family- me and me alone. The pain that remains has underscored the importance of living with excitement, joy and love. It doesn’t come easily. The cost is unbelievable.

But the way we do it is a song for our children, our friends, and our own lives. I send you my best, Craig.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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