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My Story

Letters from the Precipice

Letters from the Precipice…

“50/50”, the ER doc said a second time. “Maybe 50/50 he’ll even make it off the table”, and the ground simply fell out from underneath me. Four years ago I was catapulted to the edge and forced to take big gulps of the deep end and had no idea what was going happen.

Since that moment I’ve clocked a lot of hours leaning over the rail of that precipice. Even when surrounded by friends I felt isolated, or alone, that no one could ‘really’ understand. But from the hundreds and hundreds of letters I’ve gotten from all over the world – many still unanswered, sorry! – we all likely see different views, but are most certainly not alone at the rail.

So each week I’d like to share your inspiring-wild-humbling-honest letters, lessons and stories. Perhaps folks from a safe distance away can feel a bit less scared if it is your turn at the rail – and those leaning far over, maybe you’ll feel a few extra fingers slid into your belt-loops, gently pulling you back…from the precipice.

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This is going to be short as I am now sitting in a hospital room with my husband who suffered a stroke after hitting his head. This lead to Brain Surgery on Saturday. I am in the same boat. My husband was financially responsible for mortgages, rent, car payments, etc… I was laid off 3 months ago. I have no passwords, documents, etc… We don’t know what the future brings us. We don’t even know if he will wake up. I happened to be in the room with my mother-in-law when she was reading your article in Redbook. She asked me to look at it. I went to your site, but am too exhausted to look. I just wanted to shoot an e-mail.
Thank you,

- – - –


Wow, just fucking wow.

I am so so so incredibly sorry – I completely and truly remember the feeling even tho it has has been almost 4 years since I found myself in the free-fall of the rabbit-hole you have been flung into, against your will, not sure where you will land.

It is unimaginable – and now you get to just be there, breathe in and out, listen to what the docs are really saying.

I might be very much talking out of school here – but here is what I would say to me if I could go back in time and give myself a hug:

Just BE THERE – be aware of being out of, or staying in, your body. no criticism, just be curious.

Whatever works for you – As Frank Sinatra said, “Whatever gets you through the night.” For now, do that.

The noise of all that other password shit is LOUD, I got you, but it is noise, it is not more important right now.

Right now everyone in the universe is feeling for you, and cutting you some very deep and wide slack, take it, take all of it and then ask for more – even if that feels very unlike you.

Now, call to your highest, calmest, most peaceful self, the one you know you really are, and she will answer – you can do this, whatever it is, it can be done – ask the doctors what they mean, to explain it again if you don’t understand, take up a ton of space and let people hold you up.

It will not always be like this – you are more than the sum of your circumstances – and you really can do it.


  1. Muir says:

    Shedding tears for Michelle. But sending her tons of strength, healing vibes and prayers. Even though we don’t know you, Michelle, just know there are a lot of people and angels out in the universe rooting for you. And ready to hold you up. And cut you more slack. And answer your questions. And just be here for you. Blessings….

  2. Pingback: Letters from the Precipice | Get Your Shit Together | All Things Palliative - Article Feed