September 27th, 2018: A Year Ago Today...

September 27th, 2018 Newsletter More Than Lyme

Good Morning!

The window directly across from where I’m sitting looks out over our garden; light green, burgundy, evergreen, golden curls, and a burnt red where our yard meets the sidewalk, all I can see are branches and leaves. It’s still dark enough for the lamp to be reflecting in the window, or maybe that’s the blanket of trees creating this illusion of early morning, regardless, I’m happily falling for it.

Today’s date is a significant one, and writing this letter to you without mentioning it would result in an incredible amount of pushback from my metaphorical-loving self.

You see, I’ve noticed something. Something that can’t be ignored. Something that without hesitation has entirely shifted the way I view myself, what I share, how I adventure, pursuits, friendships, loss, grief, the voice I have, strength, and a list that would surely go on if it didn’t feel so redundant.

I’ve always looked at a year in the traditional sense: January to January, and never once have I viewed it differently. In fact, a year can come and go without much thought at all (this sounds careless when I say it, but I trust you know what I mean). There are of course specific days or weeks, months even, that I hold close, but a year as a whole? I can’t say it’s been done.

That is until September 27th, 2017, a year ago today.

When I was encouraged by my good friend Julia to pay a visit to the Emergency room after she noticed swelling in my neck.

In walks in a blood clot and out walks a voice. How the two are connected is a bit of a mystery, and though there are theories, the root of it is not of concern to me, at least not anymore.

At one point, yes, that is for certain, but what took place between is now what captivates me most; small shifts and subtle nudges encouraged the writing of a daily poem, which then turned into a book that documented the first six months of living without a voice.

Encouraged the planning for and implementing of the first More Than Lyme Event in Portland Oregon this last Spring. Certainly a funny thing to do while sporting a whisper, however, if it weren’t for the support of all of you and my family, this adventure would have never taken place. In short: it continues to be life-changing.

Encouraged a month to be spent with the entire family unit, where conversations around death took place under dim lighting, between walks through the damp forest, during the making and eating of meals, and at the bedside of a grandpa who had more enthusiasm for gardening, grammar, history, and family than all of us combined.

Encouraged the buying of a house.

Encouraged over 20 flights to be taken to get to places wildly unlike my own home.

First to Indonesia, and with the same friend that noticed the swelling in my neck (infinitely grateful). A solo expedition to the east coast, as well as a month long trip to the UK, primarily Scotland, where I sloshed through the marshy hillsides of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland with my little (but also not so little) cousin.

Amongst a handful of equally impactful adventures.

Encouraged the coming back of a physical voice, but only after a doctor informed me that if I wanted it badly enough, I could get it back. In more straightforward terms: I was the only one standing in my own way. The only one keeping myself small, unseen, and unheard—to an extent. Nonetheless, it felt like a punch through my core.

Encouraged the continuation of doing, creating, processing, and working through, alongside healing. Healing as in the obstacles that, in one form or another, we all have to face if we wish to get from here to there in the most fulfilling (and hopefully impactful) way.

Curious what this year looked like for you, and if there are specific dates or periods of time that stand out more than others? That you think might have been part of a bigger shift. A shift that encouraged you to live a life more than___________?

Talk soon & love to you always,


Chloe O'NeillA letterComment