Grief is the Price You Pay for Big Love

Moana is my favorite kids movie at this point in time. Most kids programing is painful garbage. But I can get down with the voyager princess.

It could possibly also be that every time I watch that movie or hear a song from it, it reminds of my Nana. I love being given a reason to think about her. To feel that small hole in my heart, that came when she left so many years ago.

I don’t mind the hole. I don’t want it to close. If grief is the price you pay for love, i’ll take it. Cause her love was big and the effect of her love shaped my entire life.

As a natural overthinker, I make an effort to not get too caught up in the “what ifs” of life. Yet, this “what if” loomed over us for years. Whether it was spoken out loud or not.

What if we had her a little longer…

What if she was alive and I could have moved in with her during high school when my parents couldn’t save themselves during their divorce?

What if she was alive to slap my Dad upside the head and say “Bloody Christ Mark!” when he left and didn’t take us with him?

What if I had gotten to have a conversation with her as an adult?

What if I had gotten to learn more from her?

Alas, everyone in your life is a traveling professor. Whether they are awful to you or they fill you up. Everyone shows up to teach you something. You don’t get to decide how long they stay.


I find peace and comfort just from the fact that people have told me I remind them of her. She was who I wanted to be when I grew up.


 When she loved you. You  knew it. When she was mad at you. You knew that as well.

She loved everyone for exactly who they were. She told you when you were messing up. She had enough love for everyone.

I know all 9 of my cousins hold a secret feeling in their heart that they were her favorite. They would all be correct. We were all her favorite. She knew how to make everyone feel special. Not by material things. By attention, praise, singing, you name it.

She was the first strong woman I had ever met. Nice as can be, but you didn’t mess with her.

Nineteen years old in London, marry an American Airforce pilot and head to rural farm Massachusetts in the 1960s to raise four boys.

She stuck out in that town like a sore thumb. But instead of being worried about being different, she embraced it. She loved it. Giant sun hats and crazy costume jewelry. Broaches that Flava Flav would be proud of.

She taught me what a good Mom looks like. When a child would go to her complaining of another cousin. She would listen intently. Ask questions. Validate that is indeed not a good situation. Then once she had calmed you down. She would ask, “Well what are you going to do about it?” “What’s your plan?” Sometimes we would write down a brainstorm list of all the things we could think of to make the situation better. Then she spun you around and sent you back into the wild pack of kids in the basement. She was always there for you, but she wasn’t going to do it for you. 


Her values live on in our family. How do you positively affect your community? What do you bring to the table? Stop worrying about what people aren’t doing. Start worrying about what you are doing.

Fun is something you bring with you.


During yoga teacher training we were laying on the floor of the studio one night at 11:30pm. We had been going since 9 am. I’m exhausted and the floor is holding me up.

The teacher tells us we are going to do a guided meditation.

I lay there and close my eyes. I wonder what’s supposed to happen. I’m too tired to move.

She says visualize this cool calm place trees blah blah.. Insert whatever stuff.

I see nothing.

My eyelids are black. I can see the inside of my eyelids? Ugh my butt hurts. I got stung by a greenhead hornet at the beach the previous weekend…

Oh crap. I’m meditating.

I forgot. Oh yes.. Calm. breathe. Where’s my breath? Am I breathing?

Ok count the breathe Britt. 1 2 3 4

Wait I lost count.

Ok she says we are on a lake now. Alright should I be seeing something?

I see the inside of my eye lids.

My tiredness starts to take over and I just breathe.

I realize I haven’t been listening for the last couple minutes.

Her voice comes back into focus and she says “Okay look across onto the shore, who is standing there cheering for you?”

And like a butterfly effect brain burst, there they were.


The crew she had taught how to cheer for people. How to be happy for each other!

That life isn’t a competition, there is enough sunlight for everyone.

You are the sum of the people you spend your time with. So choose wisely, then once you have your tribe, love them so hard that they can feel free to be the best and most authentic version of themselves.







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