Melissa, Oak Harbor

On the drive home, I gave her my notebook and asked her to write me a letter. I wanted to remember the day that we, two friends meeting for the first time, took a journey together and shared our stories of pain and heartache and hope and healing. I wanted to remember what she said, about how days like these make the worst days worth it. 

Here is what she wrote:

This makes it all worth it. 

This is where it's at.

Every time we step out and allow ourselves to be vulnerable,

the magic shows up.

Thank you for allowing me to step out. I have always struggled with wanting to move past or escape from my current reality. Days like today make me feel alive again—they make me feel safe and at peace with where I'm at—even though my pain isn't gone.

You've already taught me so much in just one day. Thank you for sharing your day and pieces of your life with me.






"Everything added up, and at some point, 

I broke."



"I couldn’t pretend I was okay

because I couldn’t get out of bed 

and I couldn’t show up

for work ."



"I had to quit my job 

and I had to stop my public relations business.

I moved back home."



"We’re taught to push through, 

and if you don’t

push through, 

you’re weak.

Being overworked is a sign

of strength."



"Illness has a way of making you sit with yourself: with everything 

that’s wrong

in your life. 

There’s nowhere to go."



"I had to learn to be comfortable with where I was: 

even if that meant I was in pain, 

and I was suffering, 

and I was scared."



"The pain starts in my hips and migrates 

all the way down to my ankles.

It radiates 

from my bones."




has a way 

of breaking 



"But I have more 

and more days where I can see 

that I’m healing."



"I’ve been able 

to let go 

of some of my fear.


after so much time, 

fear is not 

controlling me."



"I’ve started to let go 

of the illness."



"It doesn’t mean 

that I don’t have more work 

to do, I just feel like I can truly believe 

that I don’t have to be 

sick any more."



"I used to always say, 'When I’m well, I can do this.'

I don’t want to say, 'When I’m well,' 


I just want to start 





I believe in myself 




"I can’t say what shifted 

so that I can 

acknowledge that strength 

that I have, 

that we all have, 

to keep going, 

to keep fighting, 

and to seek 

a place in the world 

where, even when everything is bad, 

we want to keep going, 

and want to be 

a light."



"It’s never 

going to be 




“But that is the point

of existence. 

That is why we are here 

in this world: it’s not for the typical 

successes. It’s for 

that genuine connection.”



"I’m finding that the more you seek it, 

the more it’s given 

to you:

the more you seek


the more it will show up.

I have found that to be



Read more of Melissa's brave words here:






Danielle ShullComment