“The difference between a good race and a bad race is how you manage the (inevitable) pain” Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack on triathlon.
Just a little over a year ago I wrote an article entitled “Embrace the Suck“. The premise was based on the statement above. Macca was then, one of my favorite triathletes. He emphasized no matter how much you prepare for an Iron Distance triathlon there is simply no way to avoid the inevitable pain that comes along with it. In the article I equated that sentiment with life in general. I talked about how we need to learn to lean into, and embrace the suck rather than fight it. You can’t avoid the suck..
Well here we are a little over a year later and I am living proof that you cannot avoid the suck that life is going to throw at you. Who could have predicted just over eleven months after writing that article, the woman I loved would be murdered in her own driveway. Who would have thought her light would be extinguished as we were just starting to explore this crazy, beautiful, twisted, and unpredictable thing that we call life, together.
No amount of preparation could steel me for what might happen on the morning of October 2, 2015. A murder/suicide by an estranged ex-boyfriend. Inconceivable. It’s been 7 weeks, 5 days and it is still extremely difficult to believe.
“Our rational minds can never understand what has happened, but our hearts will find their own intuitive way” – Ram Dass
The reality is I have been forced to Embrace the Suck on a level that few could ever fathom. I made a couple of decisions very early on in this process
- Most importantly, I wanted to ensure the beauty of Colleen Lois Sillito lived on.
Make certain her story did not end here. Commit to share the sheer and unadulterated beauty of the woman I loved with as much of the world as I possibly could . A woman who forever shaped who I have become and taught me to see the world through the eyes of love. Colleen will forever be with me.
- I wanted to ensure that I did not, and do not squander this experience.
I know that may sound callous, and hard to understand. I can assure you, remaining conscious and aware through this is exactly what Colleen would have wanted. We often talked about the lessons life threw at us and how it continued to throw them at us until we “got them”. I became determined to fully taste, feel and embrace every moment of the grieving, mourning and healing process.
I have been given an opportunity to experience something that very few others will ever get to experience. I have been given the gift of knowing true love. Of finding my soul mate. Many people will never have in their entire lifetime what Colleen and I had in our short time together. For that time I will be forever grateful. I will cherish those moments, memories and feelings for the rest of my life.
Now that she is gone she has given me another waypoint on my journey most will never see in their lifetime. An experience I would not wish upon my worst enemy, and though a sad hand, it is indeed a hand those who loved her have been dealt. If I had any option to turn back time, any chance of rewriting history, any chance of making things different I surely would. Alas, I do not.
Since I do not have that luxury, all I can do is savor the taste of the bad medicine that life has prescribed. Soak up as much of it as I possibly can without drowning. The joy of the memories. The pain of the loss. The despair at the thought of never finding another true love.
I honestly feel like everything I have ever done in my life has prepared me for, and brought me to this point.
I will not numb myself with chemicals, alcohol or drugs. I will not harden myself to the cruelties of this world. I will not curl up into a ball and die, withering into oblivion. I will not close my mind nor harden my heart. I will not give up hope for humanity.
On the contrary, I will allow the experience, and the time I had with this amazing woman, whom I hope you have all had a glimpse of by now, to soften my heart. To open my mind and make me a better man. Make me a better man so that I can serve this world in a manner befitting the angel she was on this earth and continues to be now. Allow me to become the man that can serve the world in a manner that would make her proud. I will use this time to learn to become a better version of myself as I continue to sing the song that we started writing together.
Hers is a story that needs to be told. The world needs more Colleen. As I stare at a blinking cursor, with my fingers idle and my brain lost in thought, I can feel her nudging me. Feel her whispering “Don’t let me be your resistance. Don’t let me be your resistance. Tell my story, tell it well. Together we will change the world”.
For her, I will once again embrace the suck. I will take the gifts she has given me and I will not let them waste. She made things beautiful, I make shit happen.
For her I will “Make Beautiful Shit Happen.”
So no matter what you have going on in your life, no matter how much it sucks, the next time life throws you a curve just remember, it is on the other side of suck where the magic happens. Embrace it, experience it, live it, and learn from it. Take from it what you can, leave the rest. Use what you have gained to make the world just a little more beautiful than it was yesterday.
Embrace your suck, grow and make beautiful shit happen.
Much Love, Mike