I don’t know about you, but this time of the year can get absolutely crazy! The kids are finishing out the school year, spring sports are wrapping up, graduation parties are everywhere, and your inbox has more “evites” than junk mail!
A moment to yourself is rare, but this past weekend was absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t help but put aside my “busywork” so I could soak in some sunshine. I left the dishes in the sink and my emails unanswered, grabbed the latest issue of “Self” magazine and headed outside. The cover story had been tempting me all week… “71 Foods that Peel Off Pounds”. Really? There are actually 71 foods that do this? Why are you just telling me this now? I could have used this article back in February before swimsuits hit the racks!
Normally, when I see a headline that sparks my interest, I turn immediately to the page. For some reason, maybe because I was trying to relax, I started reading from the front cover. I learned what certain celebs eat for a quick lunch, the new exercise trend is “floating pilates” and I now know 15 things that Miranda Lambert will never apologize for. Perfect patio reading material!
So I turn to page 34 and see, “Rediscovering life – and love”, an excerpt from The Letter: My Journey through Love, Loss and Life by Marie Tillman. I have to be honest here – when I first saw the title I thought, oh come on now…I was just learning about the best bold lip gloss for the summer season and now I’ve got to read an article on grief and loss? I don’t know if you ever have those things happen to you, but there are just some days when you don’t want to go there. Sunday was one of those days for me. I could have skipped ahead and saved it for another day, but I found myself reading the article because there was a connection. Yes, all I wanted on Sunday was to get some sun and learn about pound-peeling foods, but I felt compelled to read Marie’s story. And even though I knew there were easy beauty tips beyond these pages, I kept on reading.
I’m sure many of you remember when Marie’s husband, Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in 2004. Pat was a former Arizona Cardinals football player who left his lucrative NFL career to enlist in the Army to serve his country. He was there only 3 weeks. Marie was suddenly a 27-year old widow.
It didn’t take long for me to become completely engrossed in her writing. Yes, our situations were completely different – she lost her husband suddenly, I lost my husband over time – she didn’t have children, I had two – she was 27, I was 37… I could have stopped reading right there. How could she offer me any meaningful insight into rediscovering life and love? Our stories are so completely different! I realized as I read on though, that regardless of our very different circumstances, her loss and my loss bear the same weight just as all of our losses do. Just because one person loses a loved one in a different manner than us doesn’t mean that the loss is any less of a loss – just different. I have learned that we all have insights and personal stories of love, life and loss that carry very important messages that can help not only ourselves, but others.
Marie’s story moved me and I hope it does the same for you. I am attaching it here and will guarantee you that by paragraph 6, you’ll be hooked. I won’t be a spoiler and tell you what she says but I will tell you that she is an inspiring woman who has struggled, lived, laughed, loved and lost with the rest of us.
P.S. – I still don’t know what the 71 foods are that peel off pounds but the next time I get some patio reading time, I’ll be sure to share!