Farewell Summer

An honest explanation of my hiatus

I had no intention of taking a summer hiatus. Of course there were vacations scheduled and conferences to attend, but like many women, I thought I could supergirl through all of it and still crank out consistent content. But when I lost a great friend very unexpectedly, I hit a wall.

Summer was a great supporter of my projects and one of the most honest sounding boards in my life. Be it work or professional, she would tell me exactly what was on her mind. When she loved an idea I ran past her, she would nag me until I showed her the framework and progress, and completed work. When she didn’t love an idea, she’d refill my wine glass before she started to explain why. She was truly a breath of fresh air. And then she was gone….and for a little while; it was like I couldn’t breathe.

Grief hits everybody differently and at different paces.

For me, it was very sneaky. I could hold myself together through the workday, smiling in meetings and drafting pro forma, but like a trigger, when I would cross the threshold of my apartment, the tears flowed. It was one of three times this season that I would be reminded how very little control I have over my own body.

Towards the end of July, I went to see Star Trek on IMAX. Three minutes into the previews, not only did I have a splitting headache, I knew I was going to be sick. My friend and I had just spent $45 on tickets, so I figured I could just put my head between my knees for a few minutes and let the feeling pass. I was wrong. It got worse and about 20 minutes in; my friend insisted that we leave. I barely walked two steps on the theater’s sidewalk before losing my lunch, dinner and breakfast. While I initially wrote it off as vertigo, after a couple weeks of pure exhaustion, I found out I was pregnant.

This was surprising but happy news. Made even more special to me when I thought about the fact, that if I had a girl, I could honor my friend that I had just lost and have her name live on. I found great comfort in this as I started to plan this new phase of my life. It was just a short time later at a routine prenatal checkup when we found out that we had lost the baby. While this would have brought great sorrow on its own, I had managed to compound it with this whole name thing. As silly as it sounds, it was like I lost Summer all over again.

Typically, when something sad or bad happens in my personal life, I pour myself into my work. This has led to some amazing career moves, promotions, and discoveries. But this time, I couldn’t.

For a minute, I simply stopped caring.

Don’t get me wrong, work got done. But I didn’t try to make any new client relationships, turned down a couple speaking engagements, and became one of ‘those people’ that I had never understood. Without the distraction of work, I really had to face this loss head on. I desperately tried to find a reason, everything had happened, but in the end realized that didn’t matter much. It had indeed happened and now I needed to find a path forward.

Like many, after losing someone close I started to hear the “You only live once” whispers in my ear grow a little louder. With an unenthusiastic shrug of the shoulders, I started adopting this mantra. It started small with just complimenting a stranger {something that terrifies an introvert like me} but then I started saying yes to bigger and bigger things. While this blog isn’t to bore you with my adventures, I’ve spent the remainder of the summer jumping off boats into the Mediterranean Sea, dancing in the streets with the locals in Barcelona, and conducting interviews with my dad about his family and childhood as we approached his 80th birthday.

At brunch with Summer just two weeks before she passed away, we were talking about the next product I wanted to create for my business. “You should do it!” she exclaimed as she smacked my arm and then grabbed my hand and repeated, “You should do it.” I can still hear her voice and so many times these past couple of months, when I had a new idea or opportunity, I swear, I can hear her say “You should do it!”

And with that in mind, I am back.

I am back to share with you thoughts on marketing and branding and property management…and maybe sometime something less relevant to our day-to-day work and maybe a little more personal. I understand that kind of transparency might be a little risky, and I understand I may lose a couple of readers in the process. But you know…you only live once.

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