What I’ve learned through a summer of loss.

This summer has been one of the lowest points of my life. Now, I have led a pretty great life these past 25 years, but this summer has been tough.

I share this because I want this blog to be an accurate reflection of my life. I think it would be easy to tune in each Wednesday and believe that my life is perfect. I travel, I read, I learn, I explore, and so on. And while that is all true, it is important to remember that those are the tidbits of my life that I most share.

So today I want to touch upon the other side of the coin. We all have low points, ones cast in a cloudy darkness, and the Summer of 2017 has been mine.


I was extremely excited to spend a summer with my family, but especially with my brother as we have lived in different states our entire adult lives. Needless to say, expectations were the enemy of reality.

Within a week of my arrival, my brother left on a month and a half flight expedition throughout the US. I viewed his pictures of Niagara Falls, the Gateway Arch, and Ground Zero with a resigned sigh, realizing the three months I envisioned together would be closer to three weeks.


25 was a hard birthday for me. I’ve been feeling a little Benjamin Button the last few years. By 23, I had been out of college for three years, was earning a salary over $60,000, and had been living with my then-boyfriend for three years. But by 24, I was single, unemployed, living at home, and gearing up to go back to school. Now, at 25, all I want is to travel, lessen my belongings, and find some direction. And while much of this feels authentic, it also feels extremely backwards. So that number – that 25 – doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t accurately reflect how I feel or how I act.

Right as I was turning 25 and this quarter-life crisis was hitting me hardest, I felt unsupported by one of my closest friends. Without reason, explanation, or warning, things shifted. An unspoken understanding that things were different.


That same week, my grandmother was diagnosed with Leukemia and possibly lung cancer. This diagnosis was soon over shadowed by her dementia, the same thing that reduced her husband down to so little many years ago. My grandfather has not known who I am for five years and it seems my grandmother is on that same path.

Her onset has been incredibly fast. Since August, my grandmother has been the victim of a scam, been in two car accidents, and ran a red light. Before we could fully process her physical diagnosis, we were battling her loss of cognitive reasoning. Our days, weekends, and dinner conversations were filled with scrambled attempts to prepare for what we had done just years before with my grandfather. In the span of less than 20 days, we have had to protect my grandmother’s money, strip her of her ability to drive, and find her a live-in caregiver.

As all of this was taking place, my grandfather began to fade. His dementia was so pronounced he forgot how to swallow. He passed in his sleep August 20th, one month after his 84th birthday. He is the first grandparent I have lost.

And to top it all off, our President is an asshole.


This has been a hard summer for me. Full of loss. Loss of loved ones, loss of close friends, loss of direction, loss of career fulfillment, and loss of time.

But it has been an extremely reaffirming summer. Everything – everything – was telling me to be home for this summer. I felt it in my gut so completely months ago in Oregon. And now I know why. To be able to spend three weeks with my brother, which is so much more than we have had in a long time. To be able to support my grandmother, family, and parents. To be able to see which of my friends truly support me. To be able to say goodbye to my grandfather.



Do you believe things happen for a reason? Let us know below.


14 thoughts on “Reaffirmation

  1. Tara

    Tess, your words resonate loudly within the chambers of my heart and soul. I believe things DO happen for their own reason and although we may never know or understand the WHY, we most definitely grow and learn from those things exponentially… we just have to give into the process and see it through to the other side. Your actions have been wise choices and it shows your wisdom at just 25. I commiserate with you during your loss. I’ve had a rough summer too. Hell, I’ve had a rough few years! BUT, I’ve never grown more, never felt so fulfilled and happy. It’s mind boggling how that works. Sending you so much love and light. Keep placing one foot in front of the other…. your path is your own, and what an enlightening adventure it IS and will continue to be. XO

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tara, thank you for your kind words! So beautifully written. 25 does open a new chapter of growth for me and I wouldn’t want it any other way – the good and the bad. Thank you for reading and commenting!


  3. Kate brady

    Thank You for your share. Everything does happen for a reason. It’s one thing to know it then another to experience it and trust it. Later you may or may not know why it happened. That doesn’t really matter as that you trust the universe totally has your back and wants nothing but the best for you!!!
    Please give you mother and family my condolences.
    Oh and regarding Bali. It’s been so long since I went. I think I was 25 !!
    Things have changed regarding tips.
    One thing to remember! Don’t get to close to those monkies ! They are cute but can bite.
    Have a wonderful time. Traveling taught me so much about myself and strengthened my spiritual path. I found my myself by getting “lost”. ( without a cell phone) I encourage you to use your device only when needed. :).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate, thank you for your sweet words! I am learning to trust the path and not fight the direction the wind is blowing. I will pass along your condolences.

    I have heard that about the monkeys. I will carry bananas and not smile with my teeth! I am very much looking forward to some time alone abroad. Thanks for reading and commenting!


  5. Jennifer Vaughan

    Oh Tess, yes everything happens for a reason. 😉 am so sorry for your loss and now with your grandmother….such sadness. But I must believe that yourt presence provided happuness and comfort as well. I know your mother must be grateful for your support as well. You are a good daughter, sister and granddaughter. You are a good person. Your presence makes a difference, listen to your heart, follow it always.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jennifer, thank you! Your words touch me. I will follow my heart – I know it won’t lead me anywhere I am not supposed to be. Thank you for reading and commenting!


  7. Ted Leibman

    Hi Tess:

    Sorry about your grandparents but glad you got to spend a little time before your grandfather passed away. I am one who doesn’t believe things happen for a reason, but that we bring reason to what happens. And that is what really helps us by teaching us how we can cope and grow from pain and fight through adversity and come out better on the other side. Life is full of ups and downs and as long as we make it through the downs, the ups are all the more sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Ted, I very much like what you said about “we bring reason to what happens.” That is very much how I feel about Parkinson’s Disease. I like your glass half full mentality. Thank you for reading and commenting!


  9. Jennifer Ferrara

    What lovely reflection by someone so young, so beautiful, so privileged. So many 20 or 30 something’s are self indulged without the foresight to realize that what matters now won’t alway be in the future. What are our priorities? How can we full loving lives? Sounds like you have learned this sooner than most.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jennifer Ferrara

    What lovely reflection by someone so young, so beautiful, so privileged. So many 20 or 30 something’s are self indulged without the foresight to realize that what matters now won’t alway be in the future. What are our priorities? How can we full loving lives? Sounds like you have learned this sooner than most.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Jennifer! I try to always leave some time for reflection, look at the bigger picture, and find the positive in a situation. It isn’t always easy but it is always worth it. Thanks for reading and commending!


  12. Pingback: August Favorites 2017 – From Brown Eyes

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