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Chapter 1 - Endings and Beginnings

Updated: Feb 25

Wrapped in my favorite blanket I sat on the back porch of my Florida home, watching the Spanish moss sway in the trees. At the far end of the yard, the blue-green intracoastal waterway continued its eternal flow, mimicking the new and groggy feelings that have arrived since I returned from my dad’s funeral just two weeks ago. 

As I sat in my grayness, a surprising visitor popped her head around the fence from the AirBnB next door. Dressed in bright colors and big, gold earrings she waved to me. 

“Hey there,” I smiled, half-heartedly. “I’m sorry I’m not being a cheery neighbor,” I apologized, failing to mask the swirl of emotions.

“Oh no, don't worry. You’re fine.”  She smiled big.

I paused for a moment contemplating whether I should explain my sullen mood to this happy stranger who was clearly on vacation, but before I could hold back the words slipped from my tongue.

“My dad died,” I blurted out, feeling like a wounded child with scraped-up knees, bare, and exposed.

Some people pull back when you tell them sad news about your life. They cluck their tongues, say “sorry for your loss” and then move on. But this gal seemed to lean in.  

She stepped onto my patio, shining brighter than the warm Florida sun.

“Oh, you don’t have to apologize. I understand so well…I’ve seen it all. I am a retired hospice nurse.”

She now stood over me, this new, foreign character on my private patio looking down on me like a loving mother does when her child is sick in bed.

“I didn’t sleep well,” I told her, feeling it was safe to share. “I kept waking up with short intense nightmares. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy.”

“That’s so normal. In fact, nightmares are good. It means you’re working through stuff.”

I sighed.

Then dropping herself in the chair beside me she reached her hand out and said, “Tell me all of it. I’m here,”

I smiled to myself now convinced that an angel disguised as a bright-eyed, wine-drinking visitor from Michigan had just arrived on my veranda.

And so I talked…and talked.  I released all the stuff plaguing me these past few days…

…and she listened.  

I soon learned that not only was Connie a hospice nurse, but she also specialized in pediatrics. Her specialty was sick and dying children. This woman had seen grief in its most dramatic forms and yet all I could sense was joy beaming from her skin.  

Here is Connie in my office during our interview last week

The next day I asked Connie if she'd like to be my first guest for my newest book project (the one you're reading right now!) She happily agreed. We sat for an hour and I listened as she talked about the magical tools of joy and laughter that she has used throughout her career…and her life. Simply being in Connie’s presence has helped me heal.

Ever since my divorce five and half years ago, a strange kind of magic has arrived in my life. It’s become almost a constant companion. Synchronicities, perfect timings, and mysterious occurrences happen a lot. Not when I ask for them, but when I need them most, twinklings of love arriving with a message of reassurance as if to say in a sparkling myriad of ways, “You are loved. You are loved.”

Contrary to my pre-divorce life, which was filled with parties and people, and all sorts of noise and commotion, now at the age of fifty-one I spend a lot of time in solitude, observing life, studying myself, meditating, dancing, writing, and meeting folks like Connie. It’s a strange sort of life, driven by feeling, intuition, and gut.  

Although the verdict is still out as to whether this is a good and proper way to live, this strange technique of tuning in specifically to what I need in each and every moment seems to put me in the right place at the right time. Rather than forcing life to happen, I’m learning to come into agreement with it. Here I am - and here it is. 

So yes, here I am. I’ve put myself in a sort of living experiment, surrendering myself to the flow of life’s cosmic river, swimming… dancing….splashing….feeling the grand agony and brilliant ecstasy of being human on planet Earth. 

Lucky for me, Connie and her husband are staying next door for a few more weeks. Since our first visit, she’s popped in every day to check on me. She’s teaching herself watercolors. Yesterday she brought me and my daughter this gift that she painted while sitting at the pool.

Thank you so much for reading. If you'd to be updated on future chapters please join my Facebook Group and sign-up for my mailing list.

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1 Comment

Beautifully written and inspiring, as always. You feel, you share, and others feel, too. You, Becky, are a beautiful drop of watercolor paint, gliding through life, spreading color in your wake, creating form as you go, turning all the places where there was nothing into something bright, nuanced, and special. Good luck in your new venture.

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