Learning to Stay

There is a heart throbbing quality to being alive, pain, joy, laughter, tears, they pull us every direction. Some we grasp onto for dear life, others we push away with every ounce of our strength. We see and we search outside of ourselves for meaning, when all along it was right here. All we need is right here. right now. nothing more, nothing less. Love and pain flow together tangled and beautiful.

My birthday doesn’t always elicit open self reflection, I usually crawl into myself, feeling my joy and pain in my own private world, no one the wiser.  Yesterday, my 39th birthday, was a day I felt incredible gratitude.  Tears leaking down my face throughout the day, not sobbing, just slowing flowing like a stream.  My amazing wife knowing that what I needed was an afternoon off full of sensory deprivation tanks, a glass of wine over lunch and a quiet family dinner. I am in awe of my life, of the grace bestowed upon me to be surrounded by incredibly authentic and loving friends and family.  The relationships in my life have forever left the superficial, how’s the weather, how’s work blah blah platitudes and entered into the depths of fully sharing a human experience, maybe Facebook aside.  The humanness of holding gratitude and grief together – of allowing for both, of holding space for whatever is, love, heart wrenching loss, pee your pants laughter, madness at the state of our world, the bliss of the perfect bite of a homegrown tomato, or general apathy. The real shit. Open and exposed. Everyday.

Space held for how grateful I am to be a part of my beautiful family, Amanda and Henry are my world, and space to miss my boys, Jack and Finn.  Two years ago on my birthday, which was also mothers day that year, we announced to the world Henry was going to be a big brother.  Amanda 18 weeks pregnant, healthy and happy.  We were terrified of twins, and as those memories pop in, little twinges of guilt accompany them.  As the next month passed by and we knew the boys were at risk, we leaned in, toward them, fully believing we could will them to stay put, hang out another 10 weeks.  While Amanda lay on strict bed rest our friends surrounded us with love and support, regular visits, food deliveries, book deliveries, everything in their power.  We named our sons, Jackson Vincent and Finnean Mathew, we connected to them, we talked to them, watched them move in amanda’s belly, Jackson the feisty one who never sat still and Finny the low key buddha baby.  We wanted to know them.  As the next month passed and each day deteriorated, we continued to believe in the possibility that they would make it.  Almost a month to the day of my birthday later, they were born.  And even as they were being born, there was this crazy irrational hope that maybe they would survive, be the miracle babies you sometimes here about. Their tiny bodies and breath connected to our hearts, they were never separate, holding them and loving them and whispering prayers and chants to them until their last breaths.  They are never separate.  I would give anything for them to have been toddling around our dinner table last night, and every night.  Accepting losing them as part of our life, a part of our beings is both pure pain and pure joy, we hold both together.


I am in my 40th year.  I lost many loved ones to sickness, cancer, addiction, and unknown causes.  I am still here.  I am a mother of 3 boys, a wife, a friend, a sister, an entrepreneur, a daughter, an aspiring bodhisattva, a human. I love my flaws and my strengths.  I recognize life moves forward, as long as I allow it to.  Allowing for what will be one day at a time.  Compassion, anger, fear, love, gratitude, acceptance.  One day at a time. Learning to stay. I am grateful.  Just being.


  1. Stephanie Wargin says:

    So beautifully put. So happy your birthday was such a warm, satisfying day. Hugs to you!!

  2. reading this was such an incredible way to start my day. i love your writing! thank you for sharing this and so glad to hear that you had the beautiful birthday you deserve.

  3. beautiful Kel. Love you guys. xo

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