My big sister died seven days ago. I’ve had a weeklong roller coaster of emotions. The stories I could tell! But, I won’t. We were opposites. While I embrace sharing stories in public ways, she was an extremely private person. She didn’t even share how sick she was. My sister wanted no obituary and no funeral. We must respect her wishes. We loved each other, yet our beliefs about what was proper were so far apart.

I have done the math and know that I have 5,230 days before I turn 80 and my plan is to live each one of these to the fullest. For the record, there will be a big party to celebrate life (before my death if I know it’s imminent or at my 80th to celebrate life, together). I hope you can join us. We will toast the importance of our stories.

When we are raised in a birth family that doesn’t fit, we can go on to grow a family of our choosing. I have done that in many ways. My ‘wasbund’ (he was my husband for 36 years) and I aimed to be the parents we wanted to have. I have close friendships with people that I would have liked as siblings. I treasure forty-year friendships that have remained tight through thick and thin. I love my ‘faux’ parents. I relish the Spoken Lives community which shares the power of stories to heal and provides life lessons to others. I celebrate the listeners. I am so grateful that I kept searching for my ‘peeps’.

This community has helped me in ways I didn’t expect and all the while I thought I was building it to support other people. I learned that while preparing our stories to share, we better understand what’s important to keep and what can be let go. I know that expressing ourselves through our stories helps us to see the personal actions we took to alter the outcome. I now understand that we can provide a beacon of hope for others when we share our own stories openly and honestly. I have embraced our stories and have been told how these stories have provided hope to others.

I have learned so many life lessons from the 200 women who have shared their stories through Spoken Lives. I know for sure that there are five more wonderful stories on May 31st. Please join us.

We will press pause while I launch my next passion project. I will stay in touch through this newsletter to let you know what’s next for Spoken Lives. We have some ideas brewing. I’ll let you know when they’re ready.

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