Life has been most interesting for me (at times, far too interesting), and my journey has included incredible highs and devastating lows.
Among the highs, I count the joy of having my three children, representing Australia in Karate, becoming a citizen of the country I love, starting a successful business (Healthland) in the fitness industry in my 20s, coaching numerous athletes to aerobics and karate world Championships, 2 World Aerobics Championship title in the 90s, and, of course, creating Elixr.
On the other end of the scale, my lows have included trauma of boarding school at 11, three bouts of depression (from childhood until my 40s), bankruptcy as a result of a failed restaurant business, divorce and the death of my ex-wife. But nothing comes even remotely close to the abyss of pain that has come from losing my beautiful daughter to an accidental overdose.
Some of my challenges may still carry a stigma, but I have come to terms with them, and I don’t give a hoot what people think about them. Take depression. It’s something that so many people deal with today, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I’ve experienced the best and the worst of life, and I choose to continue to see the beauty and joy of life while I learn to carry my grief. These days, I’m happy to pursue simplicity, contentment and joy. We all have only one chance at this accidental life, and so I work on living and experiencing it to the fullest. I know this is what my daughter would want.
I find great satisfaction in sharing my success, joy, awareness of harmony, and zest for life with my family, friends and the Elixr community. I have learned to share my pain with those who can and are willing to help me cope with my difficulties with empathy. And I’ve also learned that we all have our own stories and tragedies to deal with.
Dennan, my son has expressed his pain in the following poem.
The day after her funeral and you’re still numb. It’s your brain’s best defense – an umbrella in a cyclone. Brace yourself. Brace yourself.
Something isn’t right. When you inhale, the oxygen doesn’t go in properly. A little gets stuck each time. Increments of detriment. You were wrong about something not being right – nothing is right. There isn’t enough air. There isn’t enough anything. Tastes and colours are drained. Were they ever there? It doesn’t matter. You can’t go back to how it was, not when you’ve been here. She deserves your suffering. And the more you suffer, the more you loved her.
Everyone just carries right along like nothing happened. Traffic chugs, buildings grow, the world churns its mass through space. The twisted planet that keeps twisting. You try to twist it back the other way.
Gravity is different. It sucks you to the ground, yanks your head. Your eyes, mouth and cheeks all sink. Its cruelty makes you look stupid instead of sad.
The night sky sparkles. Is that her? Smiling through the stars?
No. She doesn’t smile anymore. She doesn’t do anything anymore. You cry. But it’s not any crying you’ve done before. This hurts. Like dry retching. Your insides are raw and parched.
You try to drink and drug the pain away. Wish it away. But it lives deep in your marrow, where the drugs and wishes can’t reach. What if you could do a deal with God? Rewind the world until before she existed and never meet. You would never know her. You would never know this pain.
Never. Your time with her was worth it, it was worth anything. This pain is part of your being and it is beautiful. Just like her.
Happy New Year! What does your path to success look like in 2022?