The Gift of Brad

Yesterday I drove down to Phoenix to spend some time with my friend Brad. It was actually the first time we’d met in person (we got to know each other online through a mutual friend), but it already feels like I’ve known him all my life. We had this long, rambling, tangential conversation that wandered through music, favorite novels, religion, friendships, our personal experiences with grief and loss, and just about everything else. He cooked dinner; we drank wine. He played some of his favorite music for me. I cried. At night we sat at the pool, dangling our legs in the water, and talked some more. Basically it was one long conversation interrupted by a good night’s sleep… and continued in the morning over a cup of coffee.

Driving home this afternoon, playing a CD he’d made for me, I reflected on the many gifts I was taking back with me. Two CDs, every song carefully chosen with me in mind, and the loan of one of his favorite novels, those are the tangible gifts. But the more important gifts are those intangible things… the gift of unconditional acceptance, of understanding and validating the journey that I’m on.

We talked a lot about that journey, about how the most important thing for me right now is to take care of myself, to do whatever it is that I need to do to heal and begin to live again. I told him that since Mike died, I’ve been feeling this sort of shell growing around me, sealing me off from the rest of the world, from really living. I feel the need to DO something to make me feel alive again, to take risks, get the adrenaline flowing. And I’m not afraid. (After all, the worst has already happened. Compared to losing my soulmate, everything else is a freaking cake walk.) But other people are afraid for me, afraid to see me take risks when I’m vulnerable, afraid I’ll make a mistake and get hurt again.

“It’s your mistake to make,” said Brad. And that one sentence sums up the biggest gift that Brad gave me: permission to take control of this journey I’m on, to do whatever I feel I need to do for myself, to make my own mistakes. I came home feeling lighter.

Thank you, Brad.

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~ by hourbeforedawn on July 8, 2010.

7 Responses to “The Gift of Brad”

  1. what a profound simple statement. thank you brad! i’m so glad that he has entered your life right now! what a gift he is!

  2. I’m very glad you’re not afraid to go forward, doing whatever you feel you need to do to heal. The people in my life have had similar fears about my travels. I do my best to allay them, and try to be careful and aware, and keep in touch with everyone so that they don’t worry too much. Beyond that…. well, what happens happens. That’s life. Brad sounds like a good and wise friend.

  3. I think it is so wonderful that you and Brad finally got to meet in person. He is such a giving, caring, thoughtful soul.

    I can understand why that shell would be developing and I love that you are so self-aware that you can see it and want to do something to prevent it.

    Much love!

  4. that is so cool that you guys never met before in person either…truly a gift from god. i can understand the shell forming thing…i have faith that you will always find a way to keep moving forward…your posts are always so inspiring whether you realize or not…and here’s to adrenaline inducing experiences! woo hoo! 🙂

  5. perfect. Sovereignty. Not many understand that you have the right to your own journey, and that, seriously – what’s the worst that can happen at this point. brad – thanks.

  6. I love this. I am so glad you have such amazing support…

  7. It’s what I do. Here’s the simple thing, and there’s really just no getting around this. When I called you a warrior and said that they haven’t invented the thing that could break you down completely, I meant it. YOU GOT THIS. That’s why I never worry about you, I just go about our normal thing until or unless you need something different from me, and then we figure out what that thing is and go with it.

    All you need from anyone is for them to understand that what THEY want for you isn’t always what YOU NEED for you. All you want (aside from what you can’t have and are learning to make peace with) is to be given time and space to figure all this shit out and decide what is next, and for people to take a minute before piling on you to consider whether or not that’s what you need.

    We talked about an awful lot of things, and several times I saw your face light up when I just said what was on my mind instead of sugar coating it all, and felt waves of gratitude from you for letting you talk or cry or laugh or whatever without changing the subject if it felt uncomfortable.

    In my opinion, the real gift is constancy. Having things or people that can be depended upon to always rise to the occasion, to always be the same kind of true, and that are anchors in the form of a soft place to land. Sometimes it is just as simple as knowing that we have those in place already that makes it all bearable, even when we don’t need them at that moment.

    YOU get to make the mistakes or not, YOU get to make the decisions about who you’re going to be, and YOU are the only one who gets to decide that stuff. It’s all perception, like I said about the word ‘widow’. You can be that if you choose, once you decide how it identifies you, or not – it’s just a label. Like ‘bitch’ – that’s just a label too until people choose to make it an entire design for living, then it’s an identity. Demystify the word so that it doesn’t become an entire identity or reality to live in forever, because you’re too many different things and only you know what best fits you. The only rule is you have to be who you are – no matter who likes it or not.

    XOXOXO

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