The days and weeks after March 4 at 1:07AM were a blur.
Without realizing it, I narrowed my focus and expanded it only when necessary. The only person I had in my line of sight was Brad. I’d never been thrust into such trauma. I remember my brain moving at lightening speed; assessing and reassessing need and planning accordingly.
It was intense.
There were so many questions and condolences and media and questions and condolences and media and…it could have made anyone’s head spin. I was flooded with information beyond my processing capabilities. On top of that, I still had to tend to my business; care for my clients, their families, my employees.
Then, one morning, I was in my office, and I saw an email under my “family” tab. I hadn’t seen that light up in a while so I clicked on it. It was from someone I love dearly. This person knew I was involved with Brad and that we were together even before most people knew. Technically, the person is no longer family but will always hold a special place within me. The message was short.
I’m so glad…that you have found your place; you have moved forward and have even a greater purpose than you did from days past…Walk forward…with life less complicated than it needs to be…This is your place and your gift…You prioritize the heart.
It was loving and while it welled my heart, it tightened the space between my chest and my neck almost instantly. At first I didn’t believe them. I didn’t think I was worthy of such kind words. This person went on to share, later, they were sure had I not experienced my past, my current set of circumstances could have been far more challenging.
I’ve had folks tell me they weren’t sure about me at first. Some people thought I’d kind of…disappear. I was told it was because, well, who in earth can handle something like this when the relationship is brand new? Others shared they thought I was going to try and steal the limelight. I was told it was because, well, it’s Brad and…well…media…
I so appreciate their honesty and candor. I do. I love these people. The only thing I wanted to disappear was this tragedy and I couldn’t do that. So, I created a safe place for Brad wherein he could disappear. The only thing I wanted to steal was more time. More time for all of us.
Looking back at my haggard and recent past, I have clarity and realize that yeah, it could have been a lot worse.
Had my friend not been there for me I wouldn’t be here for Brad.
She carried me when I fell last year; she (literally) held me up when I couldn’t hold myself. She helped me find my strength, stability and sense of self, again.
Though fragile on the exterior, she helped me light the fire deep in my belly and solidify convictions. She didn’t let me quit on life and reminded me. She reminded me who I was, who I am and what I’m capable of. Because of her, I made it through and was able to be present, wholly and fully, for someone who needed it.
So, I’m writing to thank my friend and encourage you all to take a page out of her playbook, and…one out of Maddy’s. There is so much more to be gained by being kind instead of being right.
Being kind is a gift we give to others when we receive it from others too.
Thank you, my friend. I love you.