I can remember collecting seashells each summer as a child.  I would walk the golden shoreline feeling the familiar squish of sandy goodness between my toes. With a sun hat atop my head, secured by a simple bow beneath my neck, I was on a mission.  Any shiny, dull, colorful, plain, smooth, bumpy shell would end up in my hand; basically each and every marine mollusk was welcome.  I did not discriminate.

When I didn’t have a bucket on standby, or one was being used to support a sandcastle rebuild, I would place as many shells as I could in my tiny palm.  I would use my other hand to secure the loot.  Then, I would run as fast as my little legs would take me back to my beach towel.  After all, I had to examine my spoils.

During the mad dash back to my beachfront home base, a few shells would fall by the wayside.  They would simply slip between my fingers, hitting the soft crystalline earth with little or no sound. Sometimes I would stop, try to pick up the fallen treasure.  More often than not, tiny jewels were left behind.


There is only so much that we are able to hold in our hands, in our hearts and in our minds. Memories, good and bad, are like seashells in the palm of a little girl trying to grasp as many treasures as possible. Recently, I feel as if my sun kissed inner child opened up her hands and let everything fall.  I see the shells scattered below and I am watching the tide take them away.  I am too shocked to react.  With each pull of the ocean, I can feel the weight of wet sand piling atop my feet.  I am unable to move.


It is strange how the universe works.  How seemingly impassive events can lead to a breakthrough or a breakdown.  Honestly, I think the experiences are one in the same.

Twenty years ago, I experienced a great trauma.  That trauma incited yet another trauma which then lead to another.  I strove for control, for normalcy and acceptance.  Most of the time I was able to juggle, to hold all the seashells in my hand.  As time has gone by, as I was faced with the greatest trauma of my life – Aiden’s cancer – the shells started to slip.  My grasp weakened.  I was trying to hold too much.


I am blessed with family and friends who love me.  I am also lucky to have met new people who have left, and continue to leave, imprints on my heart.  I am in a continuous state of learning.  I knew that I was starting to unravel and was not at all ashamed to ask for help.  I met with my pastor, my doctor, my therapist and even took a long weekend respite to visit a dear sister-friend.

Not one thing incited this domino effect.  Rather the weight became too heavy to bear, my grasp too tight, and I decided to simply let go.  To let the pieces fall and to deal with the debris at my feet.


Over the next several weeks, months, even the rest of this year, I will be writing my book.  I will be blogging.  I will continue to heal.  I will be sharing stories of hope, experience and inspiration.  I have already spoken with so many people – strangers, acquaintances and close family/friends alike – who have their own tales to tell.  I will also be their voice.  We have so much to learn from each other.

More than anything, though , I will not hold on to more than I can carry.  I will be thoughtful about the seashells I choose, the memories for which I hold.  And I will always bring a bucket or a good friend.

None of us have to go seashell collecting alone. We all come into each others lives for a reason.  It is a beautiful, messy, magical exploration.