COVID 19 – Grieving for the Way things Were, Embracing the Way things Will Be.

“How great it is when we come to know that times of disappointment can be followed by joy.” -Fred Rogers

Today is Saturday, April 4th, 2020.  The sun is shining bright, the air is brisk, the birds are singing, and the ice has melted away.  Spring is definitely in the air.

Yet, the world is in chaos. Businesses have shuttered their windows.  We no longer see friends sharing in an embrace.  Our schools have shut their doors.  What should be a busy time for Spring Break travel and the highly anticipated opening of restaurant patios have all but gone silent.  “Social Distancing” and “Shelter in Place” have become familiar phrases.  We are truly living in unprecedented times.

We turn on the news, scroll through social media, and are bombarded with the unfathomable message that “it is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Read that again; it is going to get worse before it gets better.

I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine last week, and she said something that I’ve been replaying over and over again in my head, “This is hard and I’m struggling.  I’m not necessarily grieving for the world as it is,  but life will change.  It won’t ever be the same, and I’m already grieving for the world as it was and will never be again.”

So, dear readers, I’m not writing this post to further give into the sadness and despair that surely is encompassing every corner of the globe.  I’m also not trying to be insensitive to the fact that there is a very real and very deadly virus that is the cause of everything happening, nor am I going to comment on the many beliefs that this whole thing is being “overplayed” and is “nothing but a conspiracy.”

No, not today.

Today I want to encourage all of you to focus on the undeniable fact that IT WILL END.  IT WILL GET BETTER.  I believe with every fiber of my being that Fred Rodgers’ wise words will ring true.  I also believe that my friend’s grief, and the grief of so many others, can be reshaped to a sense of overwhelming hope.

Yes, the world WILL most likely never be the same.  The way we do business, the way we travel, the way we educate, the way we interact, will all undoubtedly change.

But I believe this change will be for good.

Even now, despite of the hardships we are all facing, love, faith and compassion have become ever prevalent.  I see an abundance of beautiful movements on social media that have been created to inspire hope.  Food, clothing, and cleaning product donations are popping up in random front yards with encouraging notes, “What’s ours is yours” and “Please help yourselves, we are in this together.” Multiple non-profits are being set up to help those who are facing a loss of income. Emergency and medical workers are receiving much deserved free child care. Friends are reaching out to friends to simply “check in” in hopes of providing a simple smile or a much-needed laugh… These actions are all SO incredible and most likely never would have been at the forefront had this pandemic not become reality.

So, my friends, let’s move forward with the knowledge that we are better together.  A hug will have new meaning.  A friend’s laughter will have a sweeter sound.  All of the small, insignificant details of our lives, buying toilet paper, going out to dinner, taking the kids on a play date will never be taken for granted again, at least that is the hope, right?

Let’s not focus on what has been, but on how this grave time will reshape humanity.  When we approach the bad times with love in our eyes and hope in our hearts, the end game will be a world changed, for the better.  I, for one, cannot wait to see that world.



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THE EMERALD ISLE – A Glimpse into our Ten Day Journey around Galway

“The Irish: be they kings, or poets, or farmers, they’re a people of great worth. They keep company with the angels and bring a bit of heaven here to earth.”

We often hear the phrase, “travel moves you,” and while I have seen my fair share of the world, there has been no place that has touched my heart the way Ireland has.

It’s a land of legend, culture, tribulation, faith and pristine beauty, where the Atlantic Ocean batters rocky cliffs and brisk winds howl through the countryside.  The emerald grass and rock walls that paint the landscape tell stories of a time gone, but not forgotten.  The simple spirit of the warm-hearted, fun-loving people set my soul alive.  Gentle songs that have been passed down through generations drift down the cobblestone alleyways and linger in the salty, sea air.  Smiles abound, laughs are frequent, and a good pint of Guinness is never far out of reach.

Ah, yes. Ireland has most definitely moved me, every part of me.

I have just returned to America after a life-altering ten-day-journey of the Emerald Isle.  Ireland is the place of my ancestors.  My late grandfather, an O’Brien and descendant of the O’Briens of County Cork, never had a lack of tales of his family’s homeland.  My siblings and I grew up with stories of quaint villages, numerous Irish tunes and Celtic Legends.  It was the one place my late sister always wanted to see.  We had actually planned to visit when she “got better.”  Alas, she passed before we were able to fulfill her wish of visiting Ireland.

Witnessing the passing of both of these dear family members is what finally persuaded me to take a leap of faith.  No more “I don’t have time,” or “I can’t afford it.”  We have this one life, and what is the point of this life if we don’t do the things we want to do while we can still do them. So, my surviving sister and I, along with five of our dear friends, made the trip in honor of both my late sister and grandfather. The emotions were high and varied, but the love we now have for this country is deep, and inexplicable.

Ireland should truly be on everyone’s bucket list.  Not just because of the beauty that abounds, but because we can all learn from the Irish people on what “living the good life” truly means.  These folks have endured centuries of oppression, incomprehensible hardships, and have still managed to come out on top and enjoy life to the fullest.

We began our journey in Dublin, traveled by train cross country to the ocean-side city of Galway, and ventured to castles, landmarks, small villages, and, of course, frequented multiple pubs.  This blog will highlight some of our favorite places and will also offer some tips for travel.

Enjoy, and be awed.



After speaking with numerous travelers who had ventured to Ireland previously, and listening to information provided by countless travel podcasts, our group made the decision to fly in and out of Dublin Airport.  Many folks recommended Shannon Airport as well.  Our determining factor, however, was simple; funds.  We found it cheaper to use Dublin Airport, but I’ve heard many good things about Shannon, so don’t discredit it based on our choice.

With that being said, we found Dublin Airport to be highly efficient.  The staff are wonderfully friendly, the process of security and customs were quite simple and very quick, and there are multiple options for food and drink.


As Americans, the thought of driving on the opposite side of the car, the road, and witnessing how incredibly small the roads in Ireland are (I’m not joking, the roads seem more like trails to the American eye), we opted to take public transportation the entire time we were there, and are so glad we did! You can call a taxi from pretty much anywhere.  They also have Uber and similar services, although we found taxis and buses to be a more inexpensive option.

From the airport, we were able to hop on a bus which dropped us right in front of the Heuston Train Station in downtown Dublin.  The train ride was comfortable and only about 38 US dollars for a round trip ticket to Galway (*note: do NOT lose your ticket during your trip or you must pay for a whole new one).  By choosing to ride the train, we were able to save ourselves some heart-attacks, sit back, relax, enjoy an Irish Coffee and relish in the stunning views of the famous Irish landscape.

Once we arrived in Galway, we chose to walk, as the weather was pleasant that day, and it was only a fifteen minute jaunt through the city to reach our destination.  This allowed us the chance to take in the sights up close and personal.


While many folks who travel to Ireland use their time to drive around the country and lodge at multiple hotels, bed-and-breakfasts or hostels along the way, we decided that we wanted a “home base.”  AirBNB was the way to go, especially for a group of seven.

We found an amazing 1930’s townhouse within walking distance of EVERYTHING in Galway; Shop Street, the Salt Hill Promenade, historic sights, restaurants, pubs, bus stops and the ocean.  The cost was just over two grand for a six night stay.  Divide that by seven and it was about 350 US dollars per person.  Mind you,  this price included all of the essential amenities; full kitchen, washer and dryer, back yard, plenty of beds, a wood burning stove, undivided support from our hosts, etc…  It was so lovely and convenient!


TOP 5 MUST SEE/ DO in and around GALWAY

Afternoon Tea at Ashford Castle – Wow!  Just, wow!  As any little girl growing up in the states, I had frequent dreams of being a princess in a castle, but the only castle I ever saw was Sleeping Beauty’s at Disneyland.  Ashford Castle was a fantasy come true, and while I’m nothing more than a commoner, they treated me, and all of my companions, as royalty.

For just over 60 US dollars, we were able to enjoy an array of delicious sandwiches, pastries, teas, champagnes, and unmatched Irish hospitality while enjoying the historic beauty of the grand estate.  Unfortunately, there was a hurricane happening the day we were there, so we weren’t able to explore the vast and picturesque grounds, but I could think of worse places to spend a stormy day.

*Note – If you are without a vehicle, the castle was able to send a shuttle directly to our AirBNB for round trip transportation, for a fee.  It was about forty-five minutes there, and the same back.  Well worth it.

The Cliffs of Moher Tour – Attention all Princess Bride fans!  Do you remember “The Cliffs of Insanity?”  Well, you can see the real thing in Ireland!  Indeed, this is the very place where they filmed that portion of the beloved cult classic.

We joined a day tour through The Galway Tour Company.  At only around 30 US dollars, they will pick you up in downtown Galway, and you will spend the day (from 10am – 6pm) learning the history of the area en route.  On the way to the cliffs, which are located in County Clare,  you will enjoy visiting Dunguaire Castle, The Burren, The Gleninsheen Wedge Tombs, and a stop for lunch in the small, traditional village of Doolin.  Once at The Cliffs of Moher, you are allotted about two hours to explore at your leisure.  Once time is up, the bus travels back to Galway along the coast road, perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in all the world.

The one thing I will say about the Cliffs of Moher; GO.  No matter how you get there. We frequently see pictures of awesome places in books, online and in magazines, but nothing can compare to the grandeur of actually witnessing these places in person.  The Cliffs of Moher have no words that can measure up to actually being there.  To see something so gigantic, so beautiful, so majestic, truly makes one realize the power of the natural world.

Self-guided -or- guided history walk through Galway City – Anywhere you visit in Ireland will be full of historic sites, so you can’t really go wrong wherever you are.  Galway, in particular,  has a cluster of these ancient places all within walking distance; the Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch, the Galway City Museum, Eyre SquareLynch Castle,  and Atlantaquaria, just to name a few.  And all of these sights can be reached on foot!  On the weekends, be sure to check out the Galway Street Market, where Galway’s bohemian spirit comes alive.

Take a stroll on the Salthill Promenade – This 2km walk along the shores of Galway Bay is a favorite pastime for both locals and visitors.  Enjoy views of the Aran Islands, pass locals playing music, witness young and old alike taking a dip in the frigid ocean, or stop into one of the many local restaurants or pubs.

The Aran Islands – Speaking of the Aran Islands, take a ferry across the bay and spend a day frolicking on these ancient islands. There are a total of three islands that are located at the mouth of Galway Bay, and offer visitors a chance to see breathtaking scenery and glimpses into an ancient time that has long since disappeared from the country.  You can either purchase tickets before your adventure or can simply stop into one of the tour offices when you arrive.  Something to note, if the ocean is angry, the ferries will not run.


Ireland has stolen my heart.  The Irish people have shown me what it means to be genuine, to find hope and humor in any circumstance, to learn from, and cherish the past, while living fully in the present.  From the country’s modern cities, dotted with ancient remnants on every corner, to its thatched countryside cottages, to its grandiose castles, Ireland has captivated me, mind, body and soul.

In conclusion, I shall leave you with an old Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

It’s a Great, Big, Beautiful Life – Steps to Finding Your Purpose and Making it a Reality

Great, Big, Beautiful Grief is heading into its second week, and oh, so many encouraging comments, follows, shares and, most importantly, an abundance of genuinely loving support!  Thank you to everyone who has reached out, read and absorbed.  It means the world and fills my heart with the utmost gratitude.

When I first introduced the blog to the public, I assured folks that “although the title was ominous, the content would be anything but.”  Well, sometimes the path to our most joyful destination, the place filled with sunshine and bliss, requires us to trudge through the dark, dreary valley first.

So far, we have discussed that grief is real.  Grief is highly normal.  We’ve talked about the five stages of grief.  We’ve talked about how each person deals with grief in their own, unique way.  I’ve shared some personal stories about my own grief journey.  Overall, lots of grief, grief, grief!

Therefore, I feel the time has come to blow up the happy bubble of inspiration and get cracking on that Great, Big, Beautiful Life portion of this Great, Big, Beautiful blog!

In recent months, I’ve turned into a massive podcast junky.  I’m not a techy-type and had truly never experienced podcasts before.  Books have always been my jam.  Anyhow, shortly after my sister’s passing, I became obsessed with listening to stories about Near Death Experiences (which I now understand to be quite normal for someone who has just experienced the death of a loved one).  My obsession with those types of programs soon transitioned to subscribing to podcasts pertaining to living a happy life, doing good and being good, and being your best self, (perhaps after all of those near death experiences, I wanted to be doubly sure that I knew where I would be going when my time here is up – yeah, some of the stories didn’t take place in Heaven). These programs have been incredibly insightful and have opened my eyes to new ways of being.

About two weeks ago, after I had finished showing a home to a client (I’m a REALTOR by trade), I was feeling the need to be inspired, once again.  Over the nearly two years I’ve spent as an agent, the world of real estate has been a never-ending rat race, and the pressures of being the biggest and the best have constantly weighed on my heart and mind. While it feels good to follow through with a transaction, to see the joy on a client’s face when you have found them the perfect home, the process leading up to it is an incredibly stress-filled obstacle of negotiations, persuasion and paperwork – ew.  Lately I’ve been questioning my purpose in this field, this life, more-so than I ever have before.  Am I truly making a difference, or am I just one of the several billion people in the world existing to work and die?

Anyhow, as I began the drive home, a million questions were swirling around in my mind while I browsed through the episodes of one of my newfound, favorite shows, The Good Life (highly suggest subscribing by the way).  In a particular episode I came upon, the hosts were interviewing a woman named Cathy Heller Reinstein, an aspiring singer/songwriter who took her talents a different direction and started a podcast called Don’t Keep Your Day Job.  Her message was all sorts of inspirational.  Basically, she encourages her listeners to figure out their passion, their purpose, and turn them into a profitable, thriving, full-time career.  I was hooked, and instantly started downloading her episodes, listened to each one, intently, with hope in my heart and one glorious thought in my mind; I actually can make a difference, no matter what I’m doing!

Today is a beautiful day in the Northern Midwest.  The sun is shining brightly, the leaves are beginning to turn, and a long bike ride was calling my name. I love being out in nature, whether on my bike or on foot.  It’s quiet, peaceful, and allows ample opportunity for reflection.  As I rode down the Dakota Rail Regional Trail, passing by lakes and lowlands, forests and pastures, I felt completely at peace.  I felt happy.

Then Mr. Brain took over, and I began to question myself; Why am I so damn happy?  This isn’t right?  Surely there must be something I should be stressing about?

Isn’t it funny how so many of us have conformed to the belief that life isn’t easy, and unless we are stressing about something, we must be doing something wrong?  Simply feeling happy and free isn’t normal.  Why is that?  Are we supposed to be stuck in an office, answering emails, wearing business suits, working a typical nine to five?  That’s the definition of success, right?  That’s how successful human beings spend their days, isn’t it?

But, why?

And here is another question for you, how many of you have a job where you truly feel like you can be your best self?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure some people are where they are supposed to be and are fulfilling their life’s purpose, and that is amazing.  To those folks, you have my respect.  Bravo for making your passions a reality.

Then there is the other part of the working population, the dreamers who have succumbed to the norms of acceptable, societal standards, watching their life’s purpose slowly disappear in the breeze.

For as long as I’ve been a “professional” I’ve been a searcher, a seeker.  Sure, I’ve taken a few leaps of faith here and there, but always had the almighty dollar in mind, and therefore held multiple positions where I felt like I was dying inside, everyday.

Not anymore.

My sister’s illness and death opened a portal into a new way of thinking.  There really is no need to be stressed out every minute of every day wondering why we are doing what we are doing.  Here’s a couple of thoughts… do something else, or find a way to work your life’s mission into your job!  I’m thirty-six years young and I feel like, only now, do I truly have a firm grasp on what it is I’m supposed to do with my life.  THIRTY-SIX YEARS ON THIS PLANET and am just figuring it out.

And I’m cool with that, because each experience I’ve had, each career where I have felt my soul slipping away, has gotten me to where I am.  Cliche?  Maybe, but it’s the truth.

So, how do we take that leap?  Don’t we need the proper resources, time, experience?  Will our family support us in our quest to fulfill our purpose? Or maybe we feel that we can incorporate our mission at our current place of employment, but how do we accomplish this?

Stemming from my worlds of experience, and having recently tested the waters of these concepts, I’d suggest doing the following:

Step 1: Write down the top three things in your life that you are passionate about. Art? Helping others to improve their lives? Fitness?  WHATEVER.

Step 2: Brainstorm ways to project that passion into the world, perhaps by way of writing, speaking, traveling, researching, whatever you feel comfortable doing.  Truly take some time to think about what your strengths are. We live in an age where anything is possible, so tell that little doubting voice in your head to shove it.  YOU CAN DO IT.

Step 3: DO!  Seriously.  Just do it, whatever that it might be. For example, I launched this blog knowing full-well that I still had some kinks to iron out, but the path to purpose can be a process. Still, I just did it.  I’ll tailor what needs tailoring as I go.  I’ve also started to submit articles to magazines, as writing is a passion and an excellent way to project my energy and mission into the world, and low and behold, I will be having one of my articles published in a prominent MN publication this October!  As far as implementing my passion and purpose into my work-life, I’ve tailored my real estate brand to focus on living simply, as so to educate my clients to not miss out on life because they are “house poor.”

I’m. Just. Doing. It. Because my purpose is to shed light on a dark world, and I want to be a voice, even if it is just a small voice in a great big stadium, screaming at the top of my lungs that life is great, big, and beautiful if we only have the courage to make it so.


Nope, I’m So NOT Okay. But Thanks for Asking! – The BEST Thing to Say to a Person Grieving


“It’s been one HELLUVA ride, but I’m okay.”

That’s the response I find myself uttering to the hundreds of well-meaning people who bombard me with the only question they feel is safe to ask…

How are you doing?

It’s not their fault they don’t know what to say.  Shoot, I never knew what to say either.  Sometimes I still don’t.

Society has groomed us to put on a happy face and pull up our big-kid panties, because God forbid, we make any situation uncomfortable.  I mean, how would someone respond if I answered, “Well, the same year I had to have my uterus ripped out, diminishing any chance to have more kids, was the same year my sister was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.  Oh!  She died, a few months ago, by the way. And hey!  My grandfather, with whom I was extremely close, died last week.  So, yeah.  I’m kind of righteously not okay?” (True story, BTW)

But I get it.  Human beings want to comfort those they love, and it’s a lot easier to let them if we respond in a way that allows them to fulfill this desire, and for that reason, I suck it up, far more than I’d like.

Each person on the planet is created differently, just as each person deals with grief in their own, personal way.  Some of us want to talk about it, and some of us don’t.  Some of us cry, and some of us laugh.  Some of us need to surround ourselves with our friends and family constantly, and some of us hide out in our home for weeks or months on end.  It’s truly not you, it’s us.

So, what do we say to people who are dealing with loss and grief? Are any questions truly safe?

The other day I was chatting with a girlfriend of mine.  This sweet, genuine soul witnessed my entire journey, from the time my hysterectomy happened, during my sister’s diagnosis and death, right up until my grandfather died.  A few days ago, she showed up at my home, not caring that my eyes were swollen and puffy, that my house looked like a frat den, or that I smelled like a living nightmare.  She simply wanted to see if I was okay, with a bottle of wine in tow (if you don’t have friends like this, you need to find some new friends).  Anyhow, as we sat at a bistro table on my deck, catching up on life and soaking up the last sun beams of the day, she told me something so profound that I just had to share it with the masses:

“MB,” she said, “I want to say the right thing to you right now, but nothing is going to take away the pain.”  She held up her wine glass for cheers and continued, “Just know that I love you and I’m here for you if you ever want to talk.”

And that was it.

Boom.  She nailed it.

Now, as I mentioned before, I’m one person dealing with loss in my own, unique way, so what makes sense to me might not for another.  But man.  Her words touched me, deeply.  She didn’t ask the question that put me in the dreaded position to alter the truth.  She simply let me know that she would be an outlet, a resource, a loving, non-judgmental ear should I need one.  With that small statement she gave me a huge gift, the permission I’d subconsciously been longing for; it’s okay to feel all the feelings and to let them out around me.

A weight was instantly lifted, and I started sobbing like a child who just had their Halloween candy stolen by creepy clowns.  We are talking hyperventilating, wine-spilling, convulsing sobs.  I didn’t know how much I needed to let it out until that moment.

It is human nature to feel the need to be strong and resilient.  But, IT IS OKAY to break down.  It is scientifically proven to be good for your health to NOT hold things in.  Loss is usually new, unfamiliar territory, and it is only natural that we turn into weird, blubbering, overly-emotional beings (trust me, I’m an expert).

I truly believe that all any person dealing with grief needs is permission to grieve!  Like, openly and honestly grieve. We are trying to be strong for our family, our clients, hell, even our energy-feeling pets.  How long can that last before we turn our lives (and our health) inside out?

If you are reading this, chances are that you are either dealing with loss, or know someone who is.  Whatever your situation,


On behalf of every person who has, or ever will experience loss, I thank you.


MY GREAT, BIG, BEAUTIFUL GRIEF – An Optimistic Overview of the Aftermath of Tragedy and Introduction to the Blog

First of all, let me give a big, warm THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to stop by this blog.  A bit ominous in title, but I assure you, the content will be anything but.

Let me tell you a little bit about the origins and birth of Great, Big, Beautiful Grief

Currently, I am smack dab in the middle of my thirty-sixth year on this planet.  I have lived, what some would call, a pretty decent life; raised in the mountains of Southern California, attended college on the stunning Monterey Bay of the Central CA Coast, worked and lived in a vibrant LA suburb where I met my Minnesota-born husband, and now, currently reside steps away from the famous Lake Minnetonka in the Twin Cities West Metro along with a little human boy that we created.  I’ve experienced “good times, bad times, and everything in between” (c’mon, I had to throw in some Zepplin).  For all intents and purposes, my life has been pretty typical for a woman my age with my particular upbringing, and thus far, I’ve been okay with that.

Then tragedy struck on August 3rd, 2016, putting life into perspective in a way that it had never been before.

My beloved sister, three years my senior, was diagnosed with colon cancer, and on her thirty-seventh birthday no less.  For two and a half years my family and I watched as she fought a most courageous, faith-filled battle.  But on December 30th 2018, at approximately 4:45 AM, cancer won the battle, and she left this world, leaving behind her sweet, young family.

Life. Was. Changed.

It was heart wrenching, awful, a nightmare come true.  How could this have happened to someone so young, so vivacious, so good?  She would never get the chance to watch her children grow.  She’d never have grandchildren.  She’d never have the chance to check off items on her bucket list.  My parents lost a child, my niece and nephews lost a mother, my brother-in-law lost a wife, and my surviving siblings and I lost a sister.  Nothing about this was even close to being fair.

Still, it happened.  She’s gone, while we remain.

During my sister’s last few days on this planet, fighting through massive amounts of pain and fear of the inevitable, we were able to have a little chat about life.  I remember it as though it happened seconds ago.  It was a moment that will remain forever imprinted in my memory.

I was sitting on the edge of the couch in my parents living room next to the fireplace.  A fire was burning brightly.  The golden, California sun was sinking below the horizon, and a peaceful glow illuminated the room, dancing off the ornaments that hung on the forgotten Christmas Tree.  In my lap lay my sister’s delicate, balding, head.  I was gently stroking what remained of her once thick, full hair.  While we were enjoying the simplicity and familiarity of each other’s company, cracking jokes here and there as we often did, I asked her the question that I’d been afraid to ask throughout the prior two and a half years:

“If you could have changed anything about your life, what would it have been?”

In true Marnie fashion (that was her name, Marnie, which was born from a nickname for Margaret) she chuckled and quoted one of our favorite Monty Python scenes, “I’m not dead yet, MB!”

We laughed, loud, but towards the end it was hard for Marnie to laugh.  The cancer had completely infiltrated her lungs and each breath was a struggle. After hacking for about a minute straight, she was able to catch her breath and continued, “You know sis, I don’t think I’d change much, but I’ve been thinking a lot about things I haven’t done that I’ve wanted to do.  But there has always been a reason not to.  We’ve wanted to save money for the future, I was working, or some other factor always got in the way.  If I could do it differently, I’d have had less EVERYTHING; cars, house, things, so that we could have made more experiences.”

Upon hearing these words, I began my downward spiral of denial, that my sister would be able to experience life in the way she dreamed.  Some miracle would surely happen in the next forty-eight hours and her cancer would magically disappear.  The hair on her head would grow full and bright once again.

But that didn’t happen, and two weeks later we were laying her to rest.

Her words that day in the living room struck a very sensitive chord somewhere deep in my soul.  There have been very few people in my life who have spoken authentic words, born from their unique minds, that have truly resonated with me.  Marnie’s were the most profound by far; If I could do it differently, I’d have had less EVERYTHING.

And here we are today, nearly eight months since my sister’s passing.

My husband and I have made a number of noteworthy changes to our lives. We sold our unnecessarily-big house this past May, downsizing significantly.  We took over four car-loads of “stuff” to the local donation center.  We sold seven pieces of furniture.  I have a trip to Ireland coming up in October, and more trips in the works.  I switched careers to allow me more time to raise our son (who is a miracle and our only, I might add), and life has never been more blissful.

It. Is. Happening.  Each day I begin by focusing on the good. I wake up thankful, grateful that my son is alive and well, that my husband is such an amazing provider and support system, that I have so many incredible friends in my life, that I have a roof over my head, and that I have my health. Sure, there are days where I’m tired, exhausted actually.  I’m a working parent.  It comes with the territory.  Still, I’m powering through and am absolutely falling in love with the person I am becoming.

So, in conclusion, why is my grief great, big and beautiful?

It is simple. Grief brought me back from the dead.  Grief taught me that life is so much more than what we do for a living, how big our house is, or what kind of car we drive.  Grief taught me that love, compassion and forgiveness give meaning to our lives in ways we cannot comprehend until we’ve trudged through the deepest darkness.

Most importantly, grief taught me that we only die once, but we live every day, and for that I am forever grateful.




Stay tuned for more life hacks on how to LIVE LIFE after LOSS. You won’t want to miss it.