Below is a letter written by author, Ram Dass. It is to the parents, (Steve and Anita) of a girl named Rachel who was violently murdered. The words are powerful.
Dear Steve and Anita,
Rachel finished her work on earth, and left the stage in a manner that leaves those of us left behind with a cry of agony in our hearts, as the fragile thread of our faith is dealt with so violently. Is anyone strong enough to stay conscious through such teaching as you are receiving? Probably very few. And even they would only have a whisper of equanimity and peace amidst the screaming trumpets of their rage, grief, horror and desolation.
I can’t assuage your pain with any words, nor should I. For your pain is Rachel’s legacy to you. Not that she or I would inflict such pain by choice, but there it is. And it must burn its purifying way to completion. For something in you dies when you bear the unbearable, and it is only in that dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees, and to love as God loves.
Now is the time to let your grief find expression. No false strength. Now is the time to sit quietly and speak to Rachel, and thank her for being with you these few years, and encourage her to go on with whatever her work is, knowing that you will grow in compassion and wisdom from this experience.
In my heart, I know that you and she will meet again and again, and recognize the many ways in which you have known each other. And when you meet you will know, in a flash, what now it is not given to you to know: Why this had to be the way it was.
Our rational minds can never understand what has happened, but our hearts– if we can keep them open to God – will find their own intuitive way. Rachel came through you to do her work on earth, which includes her manner of death. Now her soul is free, and the love that you can share with her is invulnerable to the winds of changing time and space. In that deep love, include me.
Michael Anthony Ayala RIP
3/4/89 – 8/1/17
Michael, you are missed. You were loved. Your absence is palpable. You weren’t always easy to love. At times I saw a glimpse of the genuine love you had for your son. It warmed my heart. I also saw the scared little boy that you kept inside. I loved you. We all wanted to help you. I wish we could have.
I write. It’s what I do to process life. I mostly try to find the good in something before I write about it. In fact, writing about it helps me discover the good when I’m going through valleys. Unfortunately, I’m still struggling to find the good right now.
Just when I think I have a handle on life’s transitions, there is another twist. Just a few days ago, my grandson became fatherless. His earthly father left this world. In his passing, he left many questions that will never be answered. He leaves behind my daughter and their 23-month-old son. I wish I could say Michael had a great 28 years but that isn’t the case. He had a tortured soul. His childhood was horrible. There were good things too but he dealt with a lot of demons. I could see in him so much potential if he could only break away from his anxieties. In the end the demons won the battle. But I do believe that God won the war. I know that Michael is out of pain now. Those things of his past no longer haunt him. He is free.
There were many things about Michael that I wished were different. I did my best to help him see that there was a better way than what he’d grown up with. He was making some positive steps for sure. He was a talented artist. One good thing I can say about him is that Michael loved his son unconditionally and his son loved him back. It warmed my heart to see how Jaxson’s face would light up with a huge smile when his daddy would come to pick him up. You could see the love there. There has never been any doubt about that sweet , sweet love. I’ll do my best to make sure Jaxson knows no matter what happened in the end, his daddy loved him more than anything.
Suicide isn’t something that I understand. It’s not something that anybody wants to talk about. We seem to be able to publicly talk about so many of life’s horrible experiences like murder, rape, sex trafficking, and disease but nobody wants to talk about suicide. It’s still a taboo subject.
Perhaps if I had known more about it and understood it better, I could have done or said something to prevent this from happening. You see, that’s what is left behind when someone close to you commits suicide, we somehow feel responsible. There’s a tremendous about of guilt. We rehash every last conversation and nuance thinking if only we had said more or said less that this horrible thing could have been prevented. We even wonder if he really meant to go through with it. It’s a question that will forever haunt those that loved him.
Then I wonder how to tell his son what happened to his daddy as he grows up and starts asking questions? Questions that I don’t have answers to. How can I possibly explain something that I don’t even understand?
I don’t have any answers here. I wish I could find the lesson we are to learn, the good that God promises. Perhaps it’s simply my willingness to talk about this publicly to bring more awareness to mental illness and suicide. It’s out there. Maybe someone you know is thinking about it right now. Let’s educate ourselves on how to help these people. We all struggle with demons; it’s just that some of us are better equipped to deal with life than others. Let’s love on those that need our support.
If you are someone who is thinking about suicide, you are important to this world, you are loved, you matter, and your story isn’t finished. Don’t write your own ending. The semicolon is a symbol for suicide awareness because it is where an author could finish a sentence but chooses not to. Don’t end your story now. There’s so much more to say. Keep going!
If you know of someone suddenly or tragically taken from this world here is a link to a letter written by famous author Ram Dass that I find very comforting. Maybe it’ll help you too. CLICK HERE
I went to see Sabrina Mercer RN, BSN, at her new and fabulous location in the Heights. It’s a brand new building and is super easy to park and get in and out quickly and discreetly. She has even revamped her website so if you haven’t checked it out lately you should do so at SabrinaMercer.com. Her new location is 535 W 20th Street, Houston, TX 77008.
While I was there, she did a few touch ups for me and I got to try out the brand new product, Juvéderm™ Vollure XC. I first visited Sabrina last fall. She also did some Botox and a chemical peel on my face and neck. The first thing I want to tell you is that I went to a family party the very next day and there were no noticeable signs of anything having been done to me. It’s that subtle! I only looked more rested, refreshed, youthful and airbrushed. I continue to be amazed at what Sabrina can do because it’s more than just the product that she uses; it’s her talent and expertise in knowing how, where and how much to use that makes ALL the difference in the world! Even my own mom, until she reads this post, doesn’t know I had my lips “done”. Surprise mom!
So here are the details on what she did. The chemical peel was super easy. She just brushed on the product and about an hour later I washed it off. The next day my skin looked radiant and super moist. On day two and three it peeled a little but not in sheets like a bad sunburn. It was more like little flakes that could be concealed with lotion for when I was out in public. The end result was a glowing complexion that looked and felt ultra smooth! I loved what this did! Depending on your skin type you can go longer before you wash it off and get a stronger peel but Sabrina said to wait about an hour and I totally trust her judgment. I was super happy with what I experienced and had virtually no down time with this.
Sabrina also touched up my frown lines and lifted my eyelids with a very small amount of Botox administered between my eyebrows and at the top of my forehead. I mean it was a super small amount but it did the trick perfectly! You don’t need tons of this stuff so if someone is trying to inject you all over you should rethink things a little bit. I had no bruising or swelling from this at all. The Botox takes a couple of weeks before you see full results so be patient.
Here’s the thing that surprised me. She put a new product, Juvéderm™ Vollure XC, on the outline of my lips to redefine the borders and this stuff was magic I tell you! Magic! I had a little bit of swelling and lumpiness the same day but by the next morning it was all back to normal. I also had a small bruise that lasted about 4 days that was easily concealed with lipstick.
Even though I have small lips, I have never thought I wanted my lips done. I just don’t want the full-lipped pout that is so popular. It’s not for me. I was hesitant to try this but I trust Sabrina so much and she reassured me that this was a very natural look so I went for it. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the results! Wow! It’s smoothed out the wrinkles around my lips and I feel like I can get by with no lipstick and especially lip liner and still have definition to my lips. LOVE this stuff! AND results last 12 – 18 months!!!!
I recently had a wonderful opportunity to go visit a dear friend in Scotland. We have been friends since I was nineteen years old. There was a group of four of us that used to hang out. We lived through our twenties together, thankfully during a time of no social media. I look back and am so glad there is no public record of some of our shenanigans. I’m thrilled we all managed to be able to make the trip to Scotland to celebrate our friend’s 60th birthday.
This trip came at a time of craziness in my personal life. I’d recently broken up with my boyfriend of six years. I know this will come as a shock to many who know me as there has been no public announcement. We are still best friends and business associates and he will always have a special place in my heart. I knew I had to get moved into a new place just three days after my return and then had to say goodbye to my son who was traveling abroad for a year. My emotions have been on high alert. Plus I had classes/ speaking scheduled during the two days prior to the move. I’m not sure how I got through it all but I did.
I’m so thankful that I was able to just step into the vacation time and leave all the chaos that was in my life back home. I knew it would be there for me upon my return and that there wasn’t anything I could do to make it any easier. It wasn’t easy to temporarily forget all that was going on but I made up my mind to let it all go for now. Sometimes if you just tell yourself that you’re letting go just for a while then it’s easier to tackle.
What a spectacular vacation it was! We stayed in a huge house on Loch Lomond near Glasgow, Scotland. We could see breathtaking sunsets over the Loch out the enormous back window of the house. Old friends and family members of hers surrounded me. No pretensions, we all just pitched in to cook meals, clean up, set tables, and grocery shop. We came down for coffee in the morning in our jammies like family.
We took a few days to explore nearby towns, tour a whiskey distillery, hang out at a pub, hike, swim, and just be present in the moment before the night of the big party. It had been three years since my last big vacation and I relished every moment.
Of course the four old friends took some time out to laugh and recount old stories of crazy times from our youth. All those years ago I never thought about celebrating one of our 60th birthdays together. We were young and bullet proof and never thought of growing old. I’m so glad that we’re still in touch with each other though. We have each turned into responsible adults and have been through multiple changes in our lives over the years but every time we get together it’s like no time has passed at all. We have a deep friendship that transcends time.
This time out gave me a better perspective on my life. I spent time with people who have known me since I was a teenager. They’ve seen me grow and change and they understand better than most how I got where I am today. The things that I tend to keep hidden from the world, they knew were there under the surface because they saw it in the bullet proof version of me when I was young. Somehow over the years through different relationships and becoming a mom, part of me was lost. I needed to rediscover some things about myself and remember who I am at the core.
I actually booked this vacation two years prior to taking it. When I put it on my calendar, I had no idea what I’d be dealing with at the time it came around. If I had, I may not have tried to go. I would have been overwhelmed at the thought of it all. But here I am on the other side of the vacation with it now behind me and I’m so glad I went. We can always do much more than we think we can. It was the best therapy I could have hoped for. I took a time out, followed my own advice and let go.