A Season of Light in Darkness

portrait of kelly and erik

Christmas morning in Los Angeles

Erik and I want to send you all gifts of love and light at this, the darkest time of year. Whatever you celebrate with your friends and family, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or Competitive Pie Gorging, we wish you all the very best.

I wanted to take this moment to thank you all for your love and prayers since my aortic dissection on November 25th. (It’s been a whole month already? Time flies when you’re on narcotics!)  I feel like I have been held aloft by love all this while, and have been humbled, amazed and moved to tears by the kindness shown to me by everyone, from complete strangers, from surprising quarters, from my nearest and dearest. My survival of this event is a miracle, flat out. And I don’t know how to process that, except to live forward in deep gratitude.

It is not easy for me to write yet–the brain moves slowly and protests at too much labor. I’ve wanted to tell my story here, because so many people want to know more about what happened to me, but I’ve realized it might be a while before I can write that much. However, I can talk, so Erik and I will be doing a podcast about our adventure very soon.

But I wanted to share one thing here and now, partly because I know many people don’t like to listen to podcasts, and partly because it is perhaps the most important lesson I learned in all this, and it seems particularly relevant during the holiday season, when we gather with our friends and relatives.

On Black Friday, in the emergency room, when they figured out what was going on with me, the atmosphere became suddenly very grim indeed. The surgeons told me I would be operated on as soon as they could prep the room, and that it was basically the most serious surgery that could be done and that I may not survive it. After they left, the sweet nurse in pink scrubs who’d been with me all night said to me, with tears in her eyes, “Honey, I’ve been a nurse for a long time and…well, you need to call your loved ones. Now.”

Okay, so imagine being in this position. Imagine having to call your mom and tell her, in roundabout terms, that you might be dying soon. You may not see her again. To be sure, many are not even granted that much grace before dying, but my point here is that there are no words. Words are simply inadequate in moments like this. I don’t know who can summon eloquence in a crisis, and “I love you”, however true, seems hollow and of cold comfort when you think it may be your last time saying it, and it must somehow hold the entire weight of your regard for that person.

So the lesson here is to live every day like you are dying, so no words are necessary when the end comes, and those you love will know very well that they were loved fiercely every day that you drew breath. Never let them doubt it.


Leave a comment


  1. Wow! Keĺly, your message is so very important. I will remember it each time that I am about to overreact to some petty frustration.

    What a powerful message…let your loved ones know that you love them. No regrets later about neglecting this most important responsibilty.

    My wishes for your continued healing,

  2. Powerful words. And I thank you for them. A good reminder.

    Wishing you more strength and healing in the New Year.

  3. Reading this made my eyes a little misty; you are right about “I love you” not conveying all you would probably want to convey at a monumental moment such as the one you just faced. Yet…a miracle happened!! Thank God for miracles, so that last words don’t have to be last words after all. May your words go on for many years to come. Blessings and happy holidays to you both.

  4. That must have been frightening than anything else you ever experienced. I can only imagine how it must feel when you wake up the next morning with the first rays of sunshine (or drops of rain) touching your skin and with the doctor telling you that the danger has passed. Wishing you all the best Kelly, take all the time you need to get back on your feet.

  5. I just read this post and cannot believe how warm and beautiful it is kelly. You were a miracle from the time you were born and continue down that path. You were sent to us to do good things and are not going anywhere. I love you so much and never believed for one second that you would leave us. ❤️❤️❤️

  6. Hello Kelly and Eric, long time reader, first time poster – you embody that ‘fierce love’ in everything you do and it shines through here. I am so glad you get a second chance to do all that stuff you want to do Kelly – and thank you so much for this timely reminder to love each other fiercely. I am already composing letters to my kids for New Year telling them how much they mean to me, and all the love I have for them, and the joy they bring the world.. thank you xx

  7. thank you for sharing your story on the blog Kelly. I love blogs – I really just love reading how ppl live their lives day to day. Often an absence from blogging is explained in the vaguest of terms. What the bloggers fail to realize is that we the readers come to care about them, not in a stalker-ish way, but in the way we might care about anyone in the public eye. I wish you a speedy recovery. what a lovely couple you are!!!

  8. We are so thankful Kelly for your successful surgery and gradual recovery. As you continue to heal, know that your community surrounds you and Erik with love and prayers for the days ahead.

  9. You already know how lucky you are, so as I sit here pondering a comment, words fail. My dad’s first aortic dissection happened in 1982. By the grace of something, they operated, when the repair concepts for this condition were practically still experimental, and we got 25 more years. I pray for better diagnostic advances on this condition, and in the meantime, stories like yours give hope. Sending healing energy your way!

  10. Kelly-
    Congratulations, and welcome to the afterlife! It is just as good as I have imagined, only, even better, we get to spend it with all the people we love who haven’t died!!! any reduction of skills can be attributed to age and forgiven when faced with the alternative that you and I have both seen. Gratitude for science and skilled doctors cannot at all be expressed, as I don’t even know the language that the profession speaks. All I can do is be grateful to be in the hands that I am, and to continue to give them the best that only I seem to be able to produce. You as well have that gift, and from the sound of it, mission! May whatever blesses you continue to do so, Meanwhile, I will send you love and smiles, If there is anything I can do, let me know. I will drop by soon!

  11. Grateful you were able to share with us and share your love for this broad spectrum of folk who follow you two. Our prayers of love and light continue to surround you as you breath them in over there in your cozy nest together. Tina Mata

  12. Wow. Just wow. Whatever else happens in 2017, it will be a better year because you are still with us. Blessings and good thoughts.

  13. So much love is being sent your way. I am grateful for you, Kelly, and grateful that you are still here with all you kind, wise words. You and your writings are an inspiration to me and you remain in my prayers everyday. I am so happy that Eric is there with you. You are indeed a beautiful couple. Love and good energy to you both.

  14. Such powerful words! I plan to re-read this again and remember what is truly important-just being here, being mindful and present in the moment!

  15. Thank you for the reminder. You’ve now joined a club without choosing to join. There are many in this club and even we need to be reminded of the gift and blessing we have received. The recovery is part also of the learning adventure you are going through. Thank you again for the reminder to live.

  16. Kelly-what a beautiful and powerful message. Thank you for sharing, and for a very important reminder. Wishing you and Eric health and happiness this year.

  17. Glad you are with us to share this important message! Best wishes for a healthy and successful new year.

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