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.