In May of 1993 I lost my two-year-old daughter, Chelsea, to leukemia. It was one of the darkest and most painful periods of my life. I was struggling on all fronts to make sense of this tragedy – to find some spark of joy for life again. And I was failing miserably at everything but feeling miserable.
During this dark time, I kept finding beautiful, smooth white stones. They were such a contrast to the way I was feeling inside. I would see them in the most unlikely places – a grocery store parking lot, by the slide at the playground, when I was walking my kids into school. And often, there would be just one. It wasn’t like there was a big pile of smooth white stones. It was as if there was one just waiting right there for me to find it. As they kept coming to my attention, I began to pick them up and put them in my pocket. I would bring them home and put them on my dresser. After a few months, I began to have quite a pile on my bedroom dresser. My husband, who frankly was a bit concerned about me, questioned me as to why I kept picking up rocks! My only answer was that I didn’t really know why, but I felt somehow they were connected to Chelsea.
This continued for months, and then one Sunday, I finally got my answer. We had a guest pastor on this particular Sunday, and she was interpreting the story of David and Goliath. She explained how Goliath represents obstacles in life. Big obstacles. Those things that seem huge and insurmountable. The things in life we just really don’t think we can defeat or overcome. I was all too familiar with Goliath!
Then the Pastor said, “And it’s believed that David used smooth white stones to slay the giant Goliath. Let me tell you what those smooth white stones are all about.” At that point, she had my full attention. And I knew the next thing she said wasn’t really going to be her words, they were going to be a message from Chelsea. She explained that those smooth white stones represent our ability to overcome anything. Those smooth white stones are a reminder that there’s nothing so BIG we can’t defeat it and come out the victor. I knew it was Chelsea telling me, “Mom, go out and slay your giants. Go out and beat this sadness that is such a part of you right now. Go life your best life. Go be filled with joy and happiness again. Go create the life of your dreams.”
I made quite a scene that Sunday in church as I sobbed with joy and understanding and connection to my daughter who had just told me what I most needed to hear. She had died but I was the one that quit living. No more. That wasn’t what Chelsea wanted for me. She wanted me to overcome this tragedy and come out on top – just like David did with Goliath. That was the first of many messages I’ve received from Chelsea over the years. But it was probably the most profound. It’s the one I have lived from for almost 20 years as I’ve navigated the grief process and the process of living fully again after losing a child.
I created the Slay Your Giants Bracelets as a reminder for myself and women everywhere that there’s nothing so big you can’t overcome it and NOW is the time to go live your best life!
I know. An angel told me.