The Incredible Value of Uncertainty

Oh, life! How it plays with us, pushing us here and there like a well-chewed catnip toy. That is my experience of present as I start to rebuild my life from a place of nothing. And what I know is

that my fear of this looming, uncertain future is the fear we all share.

Uncertainty sucks, in a nutshell. But, actually … does it?

What I’m feeling right now as I contemplate leaving my former home, my ex-husband, and my son … the very place I defiantly drove a moving truck away from two years ago … is true terror.

The last time I left I cried and felt vulnerable for sure. But now I am leaving as a humble, very small woman. For a new unfolding is happening in the wake of the sudden death of our 22-year-old daughter Teal.

What’s happening is that I am waking up.

Life’s unpredictability has been visited upon me in extraordinary measure. Because children are sacred.  We rely on them as one of ‘certain things’ in an uncertain world. More importantly, our job as parent becomes our rudder in life.

And now that rudder has been disturbed, and God is taking me on his own course to places I cannot imagine.  Yet this is all part of a divine plan, isn’t it? For how else can I hold it?

When Teal suffered the cardiac arrest and the brain damage that killed her six days later, I was drifting. My love relationship was over, and with it went the home we were living in. I had also let go of a successful business to create a new body of work for women at midlife. And that work is emerging at it’s own perfect pace.

And so here we are … moving towards some bright light in the future that is not here yet. A light that my mind and its propensity to plan, control, organize and manage can barely tolerate. Because that light is so bright it is frightening.

What if I am consumed by it? What if it is too bright to touch – and my path to it just keeps getting longer and longer?

What if my doubting mind plays with the plan just enough that I cannot reach this place of exaltation, of consecration, of peace?

What if I die with my potential still unlived? My ultimate gift ungiven?

What if birthing these two amazing children is the only gift I will really ever give? Does that count enough? Will God be disappointed if somehow I can’t fulfill the rest of my promise in this life?

What am I to do, exactly, next and next and next? Where is the sweet rhythm of the predictable in my days? Will my life ever be knowable and certain again?

Or is everything ripped raw of expectation and planning – so I, too, must be opened up.

We are nothing but heart in the end, my friends. We are just love, poured into a complex package of bargaining, wielding, measuring and managing. And our ability to return to that sweet uncomplicated love is what guides our growth.

And so uncertainty must be our teacher and our master. Its guidance is complete in its void. For when we just go with that murky flow, we really ‘are’ nothing. And so then, the love just naturally comes pouring in.

It has to, just as water must flow through a sluice. There is no stopping this natural movement towards love and happiness; it is what God has mandated for all of us. All we have to do is honor it.

No worry. No regret. No mucking around in the past. No writhing in self-pity, guilt or a thousand complicated stories.

Instead, simple clear eye on the future, and hand on the rudder is what is indicated here. And so I am learning to tolerate this new emptiness.

And I am finding a certain beauty in living out of a suitcase, in not knowing exactly where I will live next. What I know is that my writing and speaking is guiding me, like a port in a storm. Each time I surrender to the words that want to come out, I feel sanctified.

Teal’s essence pops in now and then … last night I dreamt about something extremely beautiful – what I can’t even say. But Teal popped in with a hearty, ‘YEAH!’. And I woke up knowing that yes, the path to joy is actually the plan here.

Joy as in deliciousness – like the perfect lemon fluff. Or comfort — like the perfect ray of sunlight streaming into my kitchen. Or the perfect joy of singing, or making love, or running, or writing.

And so uncertainty has led me squarely back to the bright light of joy, and why should I be surprised. It is how we all come into this life, isn’t it?

And how, if we are paying attention, we may return.


Getting From Pretty Good to Great

My daughter Teal (L) and friend Karina leap for joy.

Something powerful and subtle has been happening to my view of the world since my daughter, Teal, died a little more than a month ago. Put simply, I no longer have any tolerance for that which is ‘almost’ in life.

As in … almost good enough. Almost the right fit. Almost true. Or almost satisfactory.

Instead, what I am left with is a burning commitment to my own personal truth in a way I have never known before. So often in life, I accepted what was pretty good as I assumed I could never get what was ‘great’.

I took pretty good jobs in advertising, which was a pretty good career in that it yielded nice money and interesting travel. Despite the fact I was doing something I did not believe in at all. I clung to that career for 18 years.

And though much of my marriage was truly great, the last several years were only pretty good because I knew my sexuality was changing. I could not bear to admit that I was no longer a straight woman with some bi leanings, or that I am gay.

Instead I did what we so often do in life … I hid what was really true from myself. I clung to the beautiful past of my marriage, when my dear husband and I were so aligned; I lived in a bossy blend of sentimentality and control. But who can blame me? I was afraid.

What I know now after the wake up call of my daughter’s death is that our lives are extremely short. And furthermore, we may not be as in control of our destiny as we might think. We are only ‘players’ on a stage, as Shakespeare put it; we have our ‘exits and entrances’ and we play many parts just as life would have it.

And so we become lulled to sleep by aging and the natural progression of events, so undisturbed for so many of us. We expect to grow old, spend our pensions, find or keep our comforting love, and let our dreams and impulses die a quiet, secret death.

Oh, my dear friends. That is simply not what we are being called to do in this radical time of change; not at all.

Now we are being challenged to step forth and tell those visceral truths in life nearly all of us avoid. We are being requested to shake up the system … to, indeed, take our destiny in our own hands. To wake up and surrender to what is true – and right before us.

A few truths I’ve been observing go like this …

  1. We get fascinated by our own story. And it stops us. Our story is certainly noteworthy, and full of intriguing turns and twists. But it is only what happened once to us. And today is, indeed, a different day.
  2. We have vast creative powers, far beyond what we can even imagine. Even brain scientists humbly admit they cannot explain this. And yet, how we forget. We believe we are hamstrung by circumstance, or we buy into the pathos of the moment, or again … we sink into our story. And so we live as little souls instead of big ones. Because we forget that life is magic.
  3. Something about suffering seems noble. And yet, is it really? Why isn’t fun a deeper, higher, more glorious value? For this is when we are truly alit by God – when we are in the heart-fired experience of joy. That joy can be the simply sharing of a smile from the heart, or it can be when we are creating in the ‘zone’ and time slips away. Any and all of it counts.
  4. We forget to take glorious care of ourselves. Why should we, if our world view is that life is hard? And yet … our bodies are a gift from God. And in that body is a specific code that will tell you just what it needs to thrive in beauty, energy, and blissful good health.
  5. Our true work is easy. It is what we were wired to do from birth; it feels familiar even if we know nothing about it. And to discover it, you only need to pay attention to your desires. They will navigate you to just the perfect work in which you can tap into flow and sail easily along.
  6. You deserve a life of beauty and bliss. And so the real question is … can you stand it? Can you open your arms to yourself and receive all this joy and happiness? Can you exist in bliss? Can you give yourself exactly what you want and need?

And so it goes. The mortal coil is full of lessons for all of us at any moment. All you have to do is listen, feel and discover.




Making a Move Forward

Last night I took a big step and bought a plane ticket back to California for early October. I’ve spent the last few weeks here in my former home with my ex-husband Larry and our son Luke. Like drowning people clinging to a raft we have hung on to each other, just trying to grok the reality that our girl is gone. And it has helped.

And now it is time to move on.

I can’t tell you the terror that brings for me. Well, OK, terror is a highly dramatic word … perhaps dread is more accurate or even just plain fear. Because San Francisco was our town, me and Teal. That she was just across the Mission made the urban harshness so much more livable. That I could call her up and take her to dinner made my aloneness in my new life in California so much easier. She was my link, my anchor, my family.

Ah, but now I have learned something so important in this shaky time. It turns out that despite a settled divorce and the creation of separate lives, my former husband Larry is still family to me. After 23 years together how could we not be? And we are finding our way as friends now, especially now, in a new and tender way. And we do still love each other as I suspect we always will, though we are no longer meant to be together. The clarity and sweetness of this is a great gift.

As for our beautiful son, Luke, I am more proud of him than ever. And even though he lives in the East and we will not see each other often, I know he still needs his mom just as much as I need him. We will find our way through this, I know. I’ve promised him that now I have one child, I will be “Uber-Mom” … which we laugh about. At least, I will try to the extent that phone and Skype allow.

And it even turns out I have friends – amazing friends – all around me in California. Somehow, embarrassingly, I thought I didn’t. Earlier this year after a bad break up, I buried myself in shame and regret. Occasionally I’d lift me head out of the big dog hole I’d buried myself in, and cadge a few laughs here and there. But then I’d scuttle back, satisfied that I was ALONE. Door nailed shut. Barricaded.

But beautiful souls will not let shame and regret turn them away. And let me tell you, these people have beautiful souls, every last one of them. Particularly sweet has been getting to know some of Teal’s dear friends I’d never met. These people are so wonderful it makes me even more proud of her.

And so, even with no particular place to live at the moment, even with all the uncertainty of one business ending and another beginning, even with no relationship at present, I am going home. Because at the moment, home is not a place – it is the embrace of dear friends.

Even more importantly, I am befriending myself. It is as if Spirit determined how low I would have to go to finally sink to my knees in surrender … to say, “OK, God. I’m yours. I no longer plan to ‘think’ my way through this life in any way, shape, or means.”

So this is now true: I will follow your directive with all my heart; detached from all that I once knew as important, devoid of ‘stuff’, living out of two suitcases and a briefcase while you prepare me for bigger things. I won’t question it. I won’t resist it, and most of all I won’t worry.

So I linger on my knees in this month since Teal died, knowing that I am delivered to my God. Knowing there is only reaching out for support at this point as I share my truth. Knowing that for once in my feisty, bossy, independent life I can ask for help and get it. And knowing that I do, indeed, deserve it.

As do we all.


The Ceaseless River of Joy

I am beginning to understand the source of Joy that has been pouring through me intermittently since the unexpected death of my 22 year old daughter Teal a month ago.

The Joy … and yes, this is Joy with a capital ‘J’ … is an innate Joy we are all born with. It is a sacred elixir we are gifted with when we are born, and it as precious to our being as mother’s milk. Teal understood this Joy and lived into as passionately as a person can.

No, she didn’t graduate from college. Nor did she put much value in earning a ‘good living’. She got along on a tiny amount of money that she created herself. When we moved her things out of her rented room in an apartment in San Francisco, it took all of an hour. Her bed was a freebie from a friend. She had a broken bureau she found on the street. Most of her clothing was found in some paper bags in the basement of another house she had occupied along the way – which, in typical Teal style, fit perfectly and looked great on her.

She was as happy as a person can be. Her Joy was the contagious sort – that of a person who loves their friends, loves having fun, and feels lucky to be alive at this time and in this place. Her epilepsy and her frequent panic and anxiety attacks (potentially caused by her anti-seizure meds) were on her mind but they did not control her.

She was excited to be going back to college to study again, and was poised to become the San Francisco leader for her beloved women’s support group, Tribal Truth.

In her short life she had done so much … marital arts, cake decorating, skydiving, teaching English in Ghana, singing blues in Austin and Dallas, hula hooping, street busking, song writing, organic farming in Europe, and solo backpacking all over the world from Denmark to Laos to Morocco. She even auditioned for Broadway plays, and had a role in a feature film when she was 15.

And at the end of her life, what Teal loved the most was facilitating groups for women who wanted to live their dreams.

Two days before her heart failure, she called me up concerned. ‘The last three or four days have not been good,” she said, saying she was close to a big seizure and was having a lot of panic attacks. We discussed going to a local neurologist, something she resisted strongly. “No, Mom. They’re just going to put me on another drug and that’s the last thing I want right now.”

The meds for epilepsy are invasive, scary and they tend to work pretty well. And they are heavy duty. Over the years her side effects had included compulsive eating, weight gain, short term memory loss, spaciness, wild mood swings, exhaustion and intense anxiety. She had had enough.

The conversation shifted to how much she wanted to heal women with these same panic and anxiety attacks. We talked about the purpose of the panic and anxiety in her life, and she began to relax. She knew that in order to heal others she would have to heal herself first … to find her way through her current experience to a place of peace. “Thanks, Mom,” she said. “I feel so much better now.”

Neither of us could have imagined that her death from an unexplained cardiac arrest would come as her relief at this moment in her life. Or that she would be given her stage as a healer only in her death. And yet, this is what happens when one is gifted with Joy and is as attuned as Teal was to the ministrations of the other side.

We all pay attention when someone like Teal dies because we must … not just because of the tragedy of losing someone so young, but because she lived full out.  We know that incandescent Joy of hers, for it is ours as well … and yet, how often do we live it? Many of us touch it at times, but do we truly embody it?

We are, first and foremost, instruments of joy. We are run by our desires for good reason – not because they are meant to shame us, but because they are meant to enlighten us as we enlighten others. These are our purest desires, not those that do us or any other harm; they are the pure gold and silver born of love and gratitude.

And this living river of desire pours through us freely … but only when we let it. It is this desire that suggests instincts to follow and talents to pursue, friendships to begin and adventures to have. Yet, most of us are afraid of such freedom – for to ‘unplug’ and follow your desires carries with it so much uncertainty.

At such times, however, uncertainty truly is to be trusted. There isn’t a neurologist yet who has been able to say why Teal died. She did not have a seizure at the time of her death; her heart failures truly are unexplainable. So we can only conclude they happened so she could continue her path to Joy even more completely.

And in doing so, lead us to our own ceaseless, rushing river of Joy.

A few days before Teal’s death she began appearing to friends and to her father in visions. In them, she was serene, happy and truly content. “It’s all goooood on the other side,” she seemed to be saying. “So relax, y’all, and go have some fun.”

We’re listening, Teal. And believe me, I am writing about this Joy as fast as I can.



Why You Are Not Alone

I am here to report that I have been changed by the death of my 22-year-old daughter Teal. And I have gratitude for this change, for I believe I will emerge a better person.

Teal died recently of an unexplainable cardiac arrest after six days of being kept alive by life support. What such a radical experience of the quickness of life and the finality of death does for you is put you on notice, basically.

Now I suddenly find myself naturally living all the time in my Higher Self, and through no thought or inclination of my own. It’s just happening. I am on my best behavior, looking out for all around me as I begin to see that we are all in this short life together. Gone is the natural piggish inclination I have always bungled through life with, and it is replaced with a new humility.

I am now officially one with God and so must behave accordingly for that is the only way that feels right.

And it is a natural thing, this super-caring. It first came to me as I sat with Teal in the hospital one afternoon as she was dying. We were alone in room as ten different monitors whirred quietly, displaying their digital directives around us. She remained unconscious and her body was encased with tubes, and bandages; the medical team caring for her still operated as if she would live. Yet I knew in my heart that she would die. The ethereal version of Teal had already told me she would cross over soon.

Something happened between us in those moments that I can barely explain. It was so tender and intimate, the wordless exchange between us. It was as if a knowing passed between us – a knowing that life is to be trusted, all of it – the good, the bad and the desperately sad. And it was not unlike the knowing that passed between us the morning she was born, as her tiny, swaddled self was laid on my chest and she calmly looked me in the eye.

I felt lifted out of my old way of being in that stillness. All at once I knew there was no longer anything to be feared in this waking, walking life. Not even death – and not even the death of one so beloved as my girl. I could simply trust the surrender I was experiencing and know that God is, indeed, always benevolent.

I understood that every path leads to growth and expansion ultimately. And that, as they say in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “Everything will work out in the end, and if it hasn’t then it is not yet the end.” I also understood that even the path of grieving and sadness has its own beauty and even majesty. There is power and magic to claim in the tears we all must cry in this short life. And this is nothing more than the power and magic of claiming life completely.

It really would be a great disservice to avoid grieving, or to practice a handy spiritual bypass and be too evolved for some good, gut-wrenching sobs. In fact, what I am experiencing now is not just the grief of losing Teal but other, unexpressed grief as well such as a recent break up that hadn’t been properly grieved. And in a way, as sad as I feel when I wake up every morning, I can also appreciate the tenderness and beauty of this sadness.

The thing is that such grief knits us all more tightly together. The outpouring on Facebook of love and support for me, Teal, and our family has been stunning … And it would not be happening, of course, if we could not feel our humanity in times like this.

So this is how I have been changed most dramatically. Like everyone else in this little planet, I was born from love and will return to that love when I die. And yet in between … well, let’s just say there’s be a considerable bit of struggle. And I know I’m not alone here – for this is what we do.

We forget about that natural ground of being, that pure state of love and consciousness we swim in at birth, and we get busy making our lives so difficult. And so very much of it has to do with our hearts. We close them, again and again, to each person we disagree with, are afraid of, or feel vulnerable or exposed with. We make the world wrong, and ourselves along with it, until we begin to hate everything except a few primal pleasures.

We forget that we spring from the great primordial soup together, and that we must swim around this tiny ball, hopefully not doing too much damage as we bump into each other. For that afternoon as I left Teal in her unconsciousness, I knew this and I still do. That day I felt nothing less than the love of Jesus in my heart.

As I walked out of her room and down the hospital corridors, I observed them all — the orderlies and nurses, the mopping custodian, intent looking doctors and weary med students, the occasional homeless person — with a new empathic tenderness. These people were my people … and in fact, they are your people, too. But only if you can open up your heart and claim them. Only if you are bold enough to understand that you are not any more special than anyone else. And that all of us, strangers and friends alike, need each other desperately.

The judgments that you may have grown up with, those you harbor against others and most of all against yourself, are simply illusions, dear friend. There is nothing to them, for they are simply stories — just wisps of consciousness you created in self- protection. And they get bitter and brittle over time until eventually, they turn to dust when you die.

Do not lose sight of your beautiful heart, dear one, for it is your direct link to God. Here you will reclaim yourself, but only if you are willing.

So please ask yourself … can you open up and love the rest of us? That is the only question that truly matters here and now, in the quick of life.





The Point of Life is Joy

Joy is a very high space, the highest. And it is our path in this lifetime to move as rapidly as possible towards it. When we don’t, we simply languish.

We let fear, guilt, indecision, a sense of loss, loneliness, and the empty feeling of not being enough pervade us. Yet that is not the point of life.

The point of life, dear friend, really is to move as rapidly as possible towards joy. Then we are liquid, alive, and fully engaged. All five senses are working for us as we move naturally towards what we most deeply want. We are living our purpose cleanly and effortlessly. We are no longer lost – we are found! And so we begin to know God.

Ironically, many of the religions of this life impose their rules of iniquity on us and plunge us into guilt. And so remove us from our deepest experiences of God. Yet even without religion we can do that job for ourselves. We believe we are not to be trusted. For then we will mire ourselves in all the toxic experiences of life. We will become nothing but greedy devourers and gluttons; we will lose our character, our backbone, our courage!

They fear we will be lost forever from our sacred humility.

Ah, but dear one, when you move with commitment towards that which you love, you become far more humble! For then you fall in love with life. Your delight becomes so strong then you are no longer obsessed with suffering, and your own needy path to find one little grain of goodness.

Instead you naturally begin to turn towards others with pure love. And so you do, indeed, discover your sacred humility.

Then you are no longer all about your wounds, your sadness, and the injustices you suffered at such an early age. You are no longer a woeful story – but instead you become a radiant being. And so you are delivered to the grace of God, and thus know the eternal peace that is the point of life.

Now we are at a point in time in which all of us are being invited to know this greater Grace. And to do so, one simply must become radiant again – to allow joy to become the point. This is exactly what is happening now as much moves around on the planet, and we are delivered into a new time-space continuum.

We are shifting as the Earth shifts; our attunement is being tightened up several notches, like holes being added to a favorite old leather belt. But we are suspicious of this joyful new way of being, for we were taught so long ago not to trust it.

We believe that it will flee as soon as we do ‘all the work’ required to get it. Or that it will not serve us well. Or even more, that we do not deserve to live in joy. Suffering seems so much more familiar and right, somehow, doesn’t it? And so we keep ‘trying’ to get to joy … but we keep getting stuck in a cheap imitation marked by doubt and a vague sense of guilt.

Ah, but dear friends, creating a path towards what you truly desire for yourself simply must happen now. For without it, you will lose the greatest opportunity of your life. It requires courage, of course. You will have to take positions and make requests that may come as a shock to some people — or be profoundly upsetting.

You may lose a few friends along the way – and become less popular with those you once considered friends. Yet, perhaps they were voices in the wind who supported your personal limitations. Perhaps they also know the so-called security of staying small in self-limitation … and so they urge you to hang on to yours out of self-preservation.

Do not be afraid, dear one. You can trust your bliss. That is why it was delivered to you in the first place. You can trust the finely tuned crosshairs of your dream because it knows exactly where to go and what to do. And it will inform you as you go. Your only job is to receive.

For you are not as alone as you think – there is a heavenly chorus of angels, archangels and the realm of God looking over your shoulder as you go. And there is your own profound, sweet soul wishing for once you would listen.

But will you? Because if you do, you have nothing less to discover than the kingdom of heaven made manifest on Earth. That is what we are all up to now, at this time, in this world.

Can you allow yourself to emerge to become the being you truly are?

Because believe it or not, for you to become anything less really would be a disappointment to us all. You matter, dear friend, more than you can imagine. And all you must do at the end of the day is tune in, determine what you desire, and go for it with all of your heart.

Returning to Bliss

It is often thought that in the best of times, we are in bliss … and in the worse of times, well, life is simply hell. I’d like to argue that point.

What if even in the worst of times one can experience an unusual sort of bliss? That is what this particular moment has called for from me as I adjust to losing my 22 year-old-daughter Teal.

Not long ago, she died suddenly of a unexplainable cardiac arrest. And I am now in the sort of transition one would usually call a tragedy or even a crisis.

Yet, in the heart of this, what I am experiencing more and more is a remarkable sense of peace.

I have, of course, been radically changed by this experience, as have Teal’s father, Larry, and her brother, Luke. And yes, we are grieving, sometimes together and sometimes alone.

What is happening more and more for me, personally, is an emergence, a blinking into an entirely new light. This is a place that is beyond explanation, control, or even comprehension, really. It is truly a field of bliss – and it continues on and on, expanding when I allow it, to fill my heart just a little more every day.

So what am I so blissful about, one might ask, now that I can never see, speak to, hold or even talk to my beloved daughter again? Now that I can never listen to her on the phone, perhaps crying with fear or frustration, or possibly excitedly reporting her latest win? How in God’s name can I be blissful of all things?

I can only say that this mysterious bliss transcends such small concerns. It is a state of grace that is liquid, potent and transports me instantly – so I literally transcend my circumstances when I let go of the suffering I could so easily subscribe to, and I allow myself instead to surrender to it.

Our logical minds want so badly to make sense of this old world. How we want to figure our path through uncertainty, imagining untold conversations and envisioning outcomes. And yet … there is no certainty to be had, ever, under any circumstances. All of that is truly just illusion, dear friend.

An illusion must be dashed in order to know this extraordinary bliss.

Believe me, I did not sign up for this experience willingly – nor did I resist it unwillingly. I just went with it, from the minute I got the call from San Francisco General Hospital telling me my daughter was in critical condition. I knew I had no choice … even when neurologists were telling us about her irreversible brain damage, and that they could do nothing more. And even when her father, her brother and I held her, dying, in the sweet, spiritual silence of her hospital room as we felt her slip away.

Really, there are only two ways to respond to anything that troubles you in life – accept, surrender and go with it … or resist. And to resist that this packed and powerful 22 years was all that our Teal would have is to simply miss the point. She was not misfortunate to have died so young. She was extremely fortunate to have had a life at all … and certainly to be born with a character so willing, so free, and so committed to joy. Teal’s life truly was brilliant and shining.

And so her death is not a tragedy but a reminder to us all to live just a little more each day. To honestly treasure the minutes we have, for real – not just with some polite PC lip service. But to really get in there and embrace our lives.

That means eradicating what is not true and aligned for you – the situations, relationships, agreements and bad ideas you’ve gotten yourself into. And not next week or next year or when you have more money or time, but now, dear friend. Now.

Ask yourself where you have held yourself back from joy? What are you resisting that must simply be owned, and ultimately honored?

This is where the bliss is. It is a rightness that you simply know in your body; it is You talking to you. And it is nothing less than your soul informing you of what must shift, right here and right now, so you can truly surrender to joy.

And why not, dear friend? All that you will gain is happiness, no matter what you must stop resisting. And no matter how much pain you must endure to begin the letting go. This is the true path back to peace and happiness, and now the choice is yours.

Will you surrender to the bliss that awaits?

Teal’s Dads Thoughts Upon Her Death

Yesterday I posted something I wrote immediately after our 22 year old daughter, Teal, died unexpectedly of an unexplained heart attack. Here is what her Dad, my former husband, Larry Barns, wrote in tribute to her. I love his words here.

Teal, our beautiful free spirit, died last night about 10PM. A CAT scan yesterday, the first they dared give her in the proper position, showed massive brain damage far beyond what they had originally assumed. And the meds being given to her to stem brain swelling had been pushed to the limit.

The decision was made by us and her team of neurologists to slowly remove the various medications and assistance devices she was on, and finally let nature take its course.

An eerie calm settled over all of this when the unplugging began. After a week of riding the emotional roller coaster, a sense of peace, calm and acceptance settled over Suzanne, Luke and I.

I was secretly hoping that during this time of weaning off of life support, Teal would decide to come back to this side and use her incredible healing powers to do so. But she has chosen to stay on the other side, her soul free from what we believe were the anxieties, panics and other consequences she lived with from the drugs that controlled her epileptic seizures but seemed to interfere with other aspects of her life.

She has chosen this path to inspire all of us to use our talents and follow our dreams. Teal was not without strength which she used constantly. Her solo travels with a backpack took her all over Europe, Asia and North Africa. She skydived with friends from a plane two miles in the air. Her incredible crystalline or bluesy voice, depending on what she was singing, will never be forgotten by anyone who ever sat in her presence.

Her compassion for others was enormous. Her innocence and naivete (and I say naivete in the best possible sense) were at the core of her existence. She was a seeker and a generator of kindness and peace in the world.

It was such a gift to me to meet the endless stream of visitors from her life in San Francisco, from Nacho who made music with her to Sarah Alice, her housemate from Georgia who stood by teal and us like a rock, fixing us meals and tending to us at the hospital, to Amber her acupuncturist, to Alex and Bunkerd, who taught her jiu jitsu and kick boxing. Teal was light in their lives as they were in hers and now are in ours.

The nurses at the hospital who had shifts with Teal repeatedly told us how they were so moved by Teal, her music which we played by her bedside, and our family dynamic overall including the maturity of Luke with his thoughtful and piercing questions.

One of the nurses who was supposed to be with Teal on the final night came up to us in the hallway as we were leaving. She said that she had had to excuse herself from Teal’s duty because she wouldn’t have been able to conduct herself according to the nurses professional code. Simply because she felt too personally connected to Teal.

We were told by the head of neurology, in the presence of his team, that our family dynamic was an inspiration to all of them. And they had learned so much from Teal and from our experience with them.

Teal has donated all of her healthy organs and tissues so as many others as possible may enjoy a longer, healthier life.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers and energy you have been sending our way. They have been, and continue to be so helpful throughout this whole totally unexpected and transitional experience.

Thoughts Immediately After Teal’s Death

I wrote the following the day after our daughter died — August 20th — and I wanted to share it here. This piece, to me, really captures everything I wanted to say at a time which is so huge in my life, it’s impact cannot be fathomed. So this was what was present for me then … Perhaps you will find some value for yourself here.

Here’s to our beautiful Teal … one of the most vibrant, free spirited souls I will ever know. Teal, I was so blessed to know you in this lifetime — your compassion, courage and just plain old sense of fun were extraordinary. And to be your mother … well, that was just an amazing, amazing privilege. I am so proud of you!

Every day of our lives together I learned something more … about life, love and how to be a better person. (I can still hear Teal saying, “Mom … PLEASE don’t interrupt!”) Her pace was a little slower than mine, and her sensitivity towards others absolute. So she literally did guide me on how to move through the world with more grace, sensitivity, and far deeper loving kindness. What a great thing to learn from your child.

When she passed away last night, about six hours after we took her off of life support, so many nurses came to us with tears in their eyes, moved by Teal. Even the Chief of Neurology teared up when he told us what an ‘amazing family’ we are. And we felt it … and continue to feel it. And that has a lot to do with Teal’s deep desire for peace and love as she has walked through this world.

This is something Teal says is ‘the unified field of love’ … all of us coming together in grief, comfort, Spirit and trying to understand. There is only one message, according to Teal. And that is Love and Happiness. So I am not suffering as much as you’d think right now. Instead, I am feeling a profound sense of peace, and even gratitude for this experience, with occasional bursts of sobbing and grief. The ground of being now is one of love — for what else can one take from this?

Going through Teal’s end of life — from the call that she had suffered a cardiac arrest and was in critical condition — to her final hours and the decision to donate her organs, was the most profoundly spiritual experience I have ever had.

Thank you, dear friends, for all of this love and compassion.The three of us truly appreciate your outreach, though we are not so able to speak or communicate with everyone right now. Know that we know you’re there, you’re sending us love, and it’s really helping!