I’m writing today to share something deeply important to me.
You see, I’ve spent the past 5 years working with people to help them transform and heal their lives. I started out on this mission because of a deep healing I was able to access for myself.
It was so profound that I wanted to share this with others and help them get the incredible relief from panic, anxiety and fear I was able to feel after healing a debilitating anxiety disorder.
That was my “why”.
This was enough to get me started but I’ve since learned that I had a deeper “why” buried inside.
I was helping some people and it was certainly rewarding but I never felt I was making the BIG impact I really wanted to make.
I even had a period of time where I went back part time to the profession I had retired from because it was “safe” and “known”. But quickly I felt dissatisfied with this and knew I had gone as far as I could there in my comfort zone as even it was no longer “comfortable”.
It was right in the middle of that period that I got the biggest wake up call of my life.
I got one of those phone calls you hope you never get.
I was just getting out of teaching a yoga class and turned my phone back on to see missed calls from my mother who I knew would not call that many times in a row unless something was wrong.
I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.
I called my mother back and she asked me where I was. Her voice sounded as strange as I’ve ever heard it. “I’m driving home, why?”
“Call me as soon as you get home.” I could tell she was trying to hide the panic in her voice.
“It sounds like something is wrong, why can’t you tell me now?” I was starting to get really freaked out.
“Just call me as soon as you get home” she repeated with conviction.
“You’re scaring me, are you ok?”
“I’m fine, just call me as soon as you get in the house.”
We hung up and I was at least 45 minutes away from home in heavy traffic. My mind raced as I tried to imagine what could possibly be so wrong she couldn’t tell me while I was driving.
I tried to stay calm and even tapped a little because I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my system and my heart rate was increasing.
As soon as I pulled into my driveway and was getting out of the car I was dialing my mother back.
She answered as I was stepping onto the front patio and very quickly said to me, “There’s no easy way to say this so I’m just going to say it……..
“Your brother committed suicide.”
I heard these words as I put the key in the door. I slipped into what felt like a slow motion state.
I actually wasn’t sure if I was awake or dreaming for a moment. I came in the house and stood inside the doorway and dropped everything I was carrying in my hands as though I had lost all strength in my limbs.
I said, “WHAT?!” as though I needed to hear her say it again to make sure it was real.
“Your brother committed suicide.” she repeated.
What came out of me was a sound I’d never heard myself make before. It seemed to come from a deep place I was not aware of and I heard myself as though I was watching from the outside.
It was like a scream but not one I had ever made before. Sort of a guttural wail.
My wife ran over to me as I handed her the phone like it was on fire and she took it from me.
I think I ran into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed but it’s still a bit fuzzy.
That was the shock. After that, all the stages of grieving came.
It’s been 18 months since that day and what I can share with you is that through the painful process of losing my little brother, I was able to derive a beautiful and profound awareness eventually.
You see, I went over and over in my head for a long time trying to figure out if there was something I could have done to prevent what happened.
I worked with my coach for a long time to release guilt and shame around it.
I knew my brother better than anyone in his life.
Yes, he struggled with addictions and mental issues but that is not an answer to why he was driven to end his life.
He tried many times to overcome these afflictions but ultimately failed.
I’ve told myself it was because he just didn’t have the resources and the support he really needed but the truth is no one will really know why he did what he did…….
And that’s the painful part.
Sometimes I still think if I just tried harder to reach him or been more persistent I could have gotten through to him or made some sort of difference.
“I should have tried harder” is the voice that visits me.
My brother and I had not spoken in over 2 years before the incident.
The last time I saw him alive we had a huge conflict and big drama that affected the whole family.
He told me never to contact him again…… and I didn’t.
I can’t tell you how much guilt I had to work through about the fact that I had considered calling him on what was going to be his 40th birthday. He passed away two weeks before that day.
If I had just called!!!! Why was I waiting? (oh, the guilt)
Who knows if calling him would have made any difference or given me any insight into why.
What really matters is I’ve accepted the truth that no person can be emotionally responsible for another person regardless of the kind of relationship they have.
Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Extended Family, Spouses, Friends, Co-workers.
It doesn’t matter how close you are to someone. You can’t “fix” their problems for them.
I believe we are all on this planet for a reason and we came here with the resources already inside of us to heal ourselves.
All we can really do for another is hold a space for their own healing and empowerment.
If you try to take someone’s lesson from them by removing their pain, you deprive them of the victory of healing from within!
No one wants to see those they care about in pain. But there are times when we have done all we are truly at a loss.
The rest is up to them and we cannot judge their path no matter how unnecessary it appears to us.
What I observed in my family members and myself that seemed to cause the most pain around my brother’s death was not knowing the reason why he did it.
Sure, there were circumstances around the event that may have contributed to his unstable state of mind, but he left no note.
We’ve speculated and speculated but we can’t seem to be able to logic our way out of it.
After many months of deep self work, this is where I’ve arrived.
What I feel intuitively is that the pain he felt which drove him to leave this life was the pain that comes from not being able to feel truly loved, whole, connected, and fulfill his potential.
He never told me this, but I just know it in my heart.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I could not “save” my brother.
I’ll admit it still hurts that we don’t ever talk about what happened to him in my family. I realize they have to deal with the loss in their own way and I can’t expect them to grieve the way I do.
My old pattern would be to worry more about their needs than my own and try to “fix” them.
I’ve learned (slowly) that I can’t fix my family members nor do they need fixing.
I’ve learned to focus on my own healing and needs. By using the painful parts of my past to reveal the things that needed healing in me, I’ve become empowered.
Learning to stay in the present moment and show up for myself has been a remarkable experience.
I now focus on how my experiences and struggles can benefit others and pave the way for them.
I can’t change the past but I can facilitate healing and transformation for those who are ready.
I can affect the future by helping others change their genetic destiny and heal on the deepest level that they pass this healing through generations.
Instead of passing on generational trauma, we can create a legacy of emotional wellness, peace and joy.
In ourselves, our families, our communities and the world.
When we work from the inside out we can truly change the world.
Now that’s worth passing on.
So, having used this painful life event to connect with my deepest “Why”…….
“Helping people heal, transform and reach their highest human potential”
So many other things in my life have aligned and I rarely struggle with doubt.
When I wake up in the morning, I know what my mission is and I know that life wants for me what I want for myself.
I’ve learned to trust life and I finally feel true freedom.
I still deeply miss my brother but I know that he is cheering me on from wherever he is and that brings me peace.
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