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I Choose To Feel


Today is my brother’s 20th birthday.

I spent the first waking moments of the day reading by my friend Chase Reeves.

This. Post.

This. Fucking. Post.

Chase makes beautiful things online more beautiful.

Ice To The  Brim and Fizzle are just two of his many projects.

But in this post he opens up his soul on what will easily be the most difficult experience of his life for some time to come.

Holding his newborn son in his arms. His dead newborn son.

I laid in bed and cried this morning. Cried for Chase, his beautiful wife Mellisa, his son Aiden, and his son Rowan, who didn’t get to take his first breath.

I just had drinks with Chase two weekends ago on the rooftop of the creativeLIVE studio in San Francisco. He was so full of life and excitement, the way a man looks when his wife is nine months pregnant.

A piece of me was hoping I’d get to watch him take that call and bolt out to his car. I would say something like “Go get em brother!” or “Serve her well” and be grateful to have been a small piece of the experience.

But it didn’t happen. I was mildly disappointed.

Imagine how Chase and Mellisa feel.

Going from a +10 to a -10 on the joy scale in one sentence from the doctor’s lips.

Does a broken heart hurt more when that heart was just seconds before full of love, excitement, joy, and anticipation? Only a small handful of us will ever know.

So what do we do now?

What do we do when we’re crippled with sadness?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. I cried in the fetal position in my bed this morning for several minutes. Then I decided to write, because that’s what I do in times like this.

Sometimes I share my writing. Sometimes it goes in my journal. I wavered on whether or not to share this one, but here goes nothing.

In three hours I’ll be grilling, drinking, and entertaining college kids in my board shorts for David’s Birthday BBQ Pool Party Jamboree.

But this morning, I gave myself permission to feel.

There’s no prescription for dealing with loss. Especially when that loss is the loss of a life of someone you love very much.

But for me, I choose to feel.

Because even though it hurts sometimes, at least I know I’m alive.

And instead of carrying around unfelt emotion for weeks, months, or years, I feel fully into it and let it take its course.

Then I make steaks for 20 year olds while hip hop music blares in the background.

Yes, I choose to feel.

How about you?


PS – Chase, Mellisa, and Aiden, all of my love goes out to you today.

[Photo Credit]

  • Ash

    I am currently going through the most crushing heartbreak of my life and when my friend advised me to think of something good that is coming from this, the only thing i could think of was exactly what you said – even though its not at the end of the rector that I want it, i now know the full extent of how much i can love. thanks for sharing mike…

  • Matt Bailey

    Wow, that’s really horrible that that happened. I can’t imagine the pain that comes in that situation.

    I also choose to feel. I think there was a time when I chose to not feel. Probably somewhere between age 18 and age 24. I felt like a machine. A friend once told me that as well. I don’t know why I chose to grey everything over but I did.

    I think it’s better to grieve fully and then move on. My dad told me a few months ago that he had prostate cancer. It’s unknown whether its serious or not yet but only time will tell.

    I remember looking into his eyes and he let out a very quick whimper of a cry and then held it in. I held it into as I didn’t want to make it seem fatally serious.

    But I cried that night. Not necessarily because it might kill him but because I realized that I could lose him. At any time really. To any thing.

    Time is precious. I choose to feel.

  • Bree Reese

    Mike, again I’m bottom-of-my-heart grateful for your choice to share. Sending all the love and light possible to Chase and Melissa and Aiden. And you.

  • Christopher Sunyata

    Feeling and opening to what your heart is experiencing takes real courage. I also send my love and prayers to Chase and Mellisa. My own deep loss and sorrow has changed me and has shaped who I am. How we meet these life-awakening, shocking turns is where we find out who we are and what is genuinely of value in our life.

    We will all face events like this in our lives; we will die, our lover will die, our children will die, every one and everything we care about will die or die to us. It’s only a question of when and in what order. What remains? What part of us existed before we were born? For me it is love and this expansive openness of life.

    For me the writings of Pema Chodron speak to this deep painful place of loss and sorrow. How to live through such pain? I recommend people to read her book “When Things Fall Apart” – compassionate advice on how to open through whatever life my throw at you.

    I was reminded of Sinéad O’Connor’s song – Thank You For Hearing Me. A great song of compassion and gratitude. The last lines have touched me deeply:

    “…Thank you for breaking my heart
    Thank you for tearing me apart
    Now I’ve a strong, soft heart…”

  • niwaroll

    That. Fucking. Post. Beautiful. And Sad.

  • Camille Macres

    i know chase. crazy. well, sort of knew him a little, but we have a bunch of mutual friends from our former church days in SB…i had no idea about their loss :(

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