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The Gift From Loss

Jacks Smack 07152020

A year ago, yesterday, I lost my business partner and friend.

I would have written about it yesterday, but I was ‘high’ on meds from dealing with the teeth recall I mentioned last week. So, even if it’s not THE DAY; I need to talk about her. Our Kuel Life Community has grown so much over the last year. I suspect many of you don’t know about Robin, And, you should.

Until a few weeks ago, she was still on my list of ‘favorites’”

I’ve thought about Robin everyday for the last year. All 365 of them. Anytime something wonderful would happen in our Community, I would reach for the phone to call her. Setbacks felt harder and lonelier than before without her optimism and encouragement. Until a few weeks ago, she was still on my list of ‘favorites’ – those of us with iPhones know what that means. I would occasionally indulge in hearing her sweet voice on her voicemail. About four or five months ago her phone was finally disconnected. 

I know many of us have experienced great loss at much younger ages. Ruby Stanley lost her entire family at the budding age of nine. Cindy Scurry lost her 22 year old son to a motorcycle accident. Each of these brave women turned their unimaginable tragedies into life-long gifts. If you haven’t read their Share Your Story interviews; you should. 

But, it does feel to me like we are heading into the season of life where loss becomes more common. Robin would be turning 58 this year. By all rights, still young, vibrant, full of hope and dreams. I wrote her an Open Love Letter last year upon her death. In it I share what kind of woman she was. I want all of you to know her. 

An Excerpt From My Letter:

“Did Not Finish (DNF) is a term used in racing for a competitor who drops out of the contest, for whatever reason – injury, fatigue, dehydration. What happens when that competitor is taken hostage by Stage Four Colon Cancer?”

But, that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today, I want to share my gifts from loss. 

Fast forward, past copious hair pulling, kicking, and screaming”

My son speaks, reads, and writes Spanish. This is the legacy from the loss of my Papi´ (Dad). The afternoon of his death, I stood next to him and whispered into his ear and promised to him that his grandson would be fluent in his (my father’s) language. Fast forward, past copious hair pulling, kicking, and screaming (both, from me and my son); Aidan is fluent. What’s most amazing about this particular gift is that Aidan now owns it himself. Even applying for, and being accepted into, a college-level Spanish class, at UNC Chapel Hill,  for his Senior year of high school. At almost 18 he expresses gratitude that I ‘forced’ him down this path. That somehow my emotional, last minute, offering to my dying father turned into a life-time benefit for my son.  

A Decade Later:

Many years after that deathbed promise, I found myself lying next to Robin in her oversized ‘hospital’ bed. She had been able to go home and spend her remaining weeks overlooking the San Francisco Bay. We lay there silently, holding hands, watching ‘Jane the Virgin’. Mindless TV helped distract her from pain and the hardcore reality of what was happening. Much like the moment with my Dad, I found myself making Robin a promise. I would fight the good fight that we had started for the both of us. I vowed to her that I would ‘figure it out’ and not give up. 

While Kuel Life is far from a ‘huge’ success (yet), my mission to change the paradigm for midlife women is unwavering. I know I am on the right path. And, the best part is I am not alone. Our Community increases daily. Each and every woman, with whom I speak, ‘gets it’ and wants to be part of it. From our growing list of top experts in their respective fields, to the woman-owned brands, to the supportive Members who put their ‘money where their mouth is’; we are unstoppable. Whilst my final promise to my Papi´ proved a precious endowment to my son, Robin’s is a gift to us all.

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19 thoughts on “The Gift From Loss

  1. Paula Sellars says:

    Thank you for sharing your process, your pain and your promise. I can’t imagine losing my business partner. That must’ve been devastating. But you have carried on joyfully it seems and that’s a tribute to all that your partnership was and is. Blessings to you both. I am sure she is never far from you.

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      Kuel Life says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Paula. You are absolutely right; she’s never far away. And, I have a great deal of joy in my life. Welcome to Kuel Life. Please, reach out if you have any suggestions or ideas for areas of improvement.

  2. Maria Mendez says:

    Such a beautiful tribute to Robin. I believe the legacy of our lost loved ones stays alive through us.

  3. Kathrine Eldridge says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing the growth that has come out of your pain. You are making Robin proud by all that you have done so far. I’m sure there is lots more to come.

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      Kuel Life says:

      Thank you Michele. Love that you even got the accent mark right. So happy to have you as part of our Kuel Category Experts. I loved your tips for aging skin. Very helpful.

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      Kuel Life says:

      Thank you Liza. I am grateful Robin found you. I get to have you in my life and as part of the Kuel Life Community. It’s a privilege.

  4. Gayle Petrillo says:

    WOW so poignant and powerful. A wonderful tribute to two people who positively impacted your life and so many others.  My sister and I made a promise to my dad on his death bed that we would respect, enjoy and learn from each other. We have done that and more!

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      Kuel Life says:

      I love that… sisters are the most amazing gift. I have that kind of relationship with my sister, as well. Thank you for reaching out with your thoughts, Gayle.

  5. Tamara says:

    Beautifully written about Robin. What a great gift to have left such a mark on this world although gone from it. It’s a true blessing to have experienced this type of friendship. Awesome job Jack keeping Robin’s memory alive.

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      Kuel Life says:

      Thank you Tamara. Robin was quite unique and I am grateful that we began the Kuel Life journey. I am not sure I would have tackled the beast alone from the beginning. And, it’s not just me keeping it alive… you, participating in Kuel Life, are also doing just that.

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      Kuel Life says:

      Thank you Julie. I was reading it to my sister this morning and had trouble getting through it myself. I am very fortunate to have such wonderful gifts come out of such great losses.

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