My latest article written for THE EDGE http://edgemagazine.net/2012/09/the-new-me-is-someone-i-never-expected/
In a few weeks my 40th high school class reunion will take place. Those who haven’t seen me in 40 years will be shocked and a bit surprised when they meet “the new me.”
In high school I was extremely shy and a complete introvert. I felt awkward and didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. Of course, looking back now, I know that wasn’t true – but at that point in my young life it was definitely my perception.
Very early on I made some decisions that were in my book, non-negotiable. Public speaking was at the very top of my list. I can remember giving speeches in high school and my knees would shake and my hands would quiver, and I was so nervous I couldn’t even think straight.
Things have changed dramatically for me through the years. I am more outgoing now and open to meeting new people and creating new experiences; which is what time and living life bring about.
There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks … and sometimes I guess that is true. But what I’ve come to realize is that if the old dog is willing … anything is possible.
Never in a million years could I ever have imagined that I would bury my 20-year old daughter. It was not the right order of things, and it still isn’t. It was non-negotiable … but it happened and suddenly I had to incorporate it into my life, make peace with it, and work through all of the painful emotions to find joy again and a life worth living.
Once I accepted the reality of my daughter’s death, it was easier for other things that I had once considered non-negotiable to be held up for change. Because of the strong connection that I still shared with Elizabeth I had an extreme sense of gratitude to God and The Universe at large. I was no longer a stiff board of do’s and do not’s. My life became malleable and I was molded into something far greater than I could have ever imagined. There is a saying that God can dream a dream bigger than you can ever dream for yourself. I can see this so clearly in my life since that fateful day in September, 2003.
Public speaking has now become something that I do at every opportunity. And my topic is always the same – the most painful experience of my life – the death of my daughter, my journey through it and coming out the other side and back to embracing and loving life again.
The first time I spoke I had practiced for months and questioned my sanity daily. How can I possibly speak in front of strangers about the most painful time of my life? In truth, I didn’t know. All l knew was that my story was important and sharing it could be the catalyst for others to view their own life situations in a different way. I also was confident that if I did everything I could to prepare, The Divine would step in to help me.
This certainly was the case. In fact, when I finished that first talk, I felt the strongest sense of accomplishment I have ever felt … it was a complete sense of euphoria. Spirit had asked me to step up and I had done so. Not without some fear and trepidation — but with the knowing that I would receive help whenever I needed it. The strong presence of my daughter permeates my very being whenever I share our story. In a sense we have become a team and we work together from both sides of the veil to help others. For me, there is no greater calling.