Monday, June 13, 2011

inspiration through loss: one year ago today

Jeff in the Redwoods
Today is a bittersweet day, and although I try to refrain from making sad or overly personal posts, I decided that I had to share this, because it's the reason that Bubby and Bean came to be.  You can read a little more about this on the Our Story page.

On June 13th, 2010, exactly one year ago today, I lost a precious friend and family member. Jeff was my dearest friend (in fact, soon after I graduated college, we were married for several years; and if me sharing that isn't personal, I don't know what is! ;)), and the co-founder of my other business, Mountains of the Moon. Although we split as partners (in business and romance) many years ago, we remained best friends, and I considered him to be my brother. I am grateful that I was able to talk to him just a few hours before he left this world.  His passing was sudden and tragic, but many of his loved ones came together in a way that was incredibly powerful. I flew out to Pennsylvania shortly after his death to help his family go through his belongings and to spend time with them, crying, hugging, and sharing memories.  I also hosted his memorial at my home, and friends from all over the country came to honor his memory in the only way he would have wanted us to honor it - with a party.

Jeff and Bubby
I am beyond grateful for everything Jeff taught me, showed me, and shared with me since we first met in Colorado, many, many years ago. He touched so many lives on such a profound level, and he will remain a part of all of us, until we meet again. I am also beyond grateful for my Robbie, who is the most amazing partner in the world.  He was my rock through Jeff's passing, which was truly the worst time in my life.  I don't know how I would have gotten through last summer without him.

After Jeff's death, I was a mess.  I decided to take some time off from my workaholic lifestyle, and re-learn how to follow my bliss. I traveled for a few weeks, visited old friends, and spent some time away from the city exploring nature, roaming estate sales, making art for fun, and letting go. When I returned, I felt inspired by Jeff's life rather than overwhelmed with sadness from his death. And it was from this new inspiration that Bubby and Bean was born.

Jeff and his mom

This is a blog about creative inspiration, and the biggest lesson I've ever learned is that from the greatest losses, sometimes, the greatest sources of inspiration can be found.  No matter how desperate or grief stricken you may feel, underneath the cloud, there is a spark of beauty in realizing the gifts that were given to you by whoever (or whatever) it was that you lost.  I think about Jeffery everyday, and how different my life may be had he never been a part of it.  Nothing is permanent, and when we lose those we love the most, there can be a sense of joy in embracing just how much they touched us.  I use this joy to fuel my creativity every single day.  And this is why I describe this day as being bittersweet.

Thank you for letting me share this with you.  And Jeff, wherever you are, I hope you are creating your art, dancing hard, and feeling the limitless sources of inspiration that you just weren't able to feel in this tiny world.

I hope your Monday is a beautiful one, and that whatever losses you've faced, you can find the inspiration behind the sadness today.  As I've said before, "there's beauty in the breakdown."  It's just up to us to find it.


  1. what a beautiful and heartfelt post. thank you for sharing, melissa.

  2. You have no idea how much this post means to me. I lost my first love and best friend in 2006. He had also lost his mother years before that. I am a follower, but now I relate to you on a completely different level. It was the hardest, and still the hardest thing, that I have ever had to deal with. It is good to know that someone else has gone through a similar situation and has stayed so positive. Luckily, I have my husband to help me through things, and even talk about him. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. This is so beautiful Melissa! I'm sure it was difficult to write. I followed the sustainable style blog you had before Bubby And Bean and I remember when this happened. I can't even imagine. Sending you lots of love today and I hope the commercial shoot goes great, that's major!!


  4. wonderful post! thank you for sharing such a personal story <3

  5. Beautiful post...I appreciate your sharing.

  6. How courageous and wonderful of you to share this with your readers Melissa. And what a beautiful lesson for us all to learn. You are an inspiration.

  7. You guys are the best! Thank you so much for the kind words and loving thoughts. As you know, I don't usually post too much about my personal life here, but I felt like it wouldn't be right not to pay tribute to Jeff today. I also hope that my story can inspire (or at least help out) others who have been through or are going through emotional losses like this.

    Thank you again. It meant a lot to me to read your comments today. <3


  8. This was beautifully written and touching to read. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal.

  9. oh that was/is heartbreaking.

  10. What a beautiful post. I think many of us who create are probably finding inspiration in lost loved ones on some level, and it's great that you can articulate that and use it as creative energy every day. I'm sure Jeff would want you to continue striving toward the dream that he was a part of. xo, Mary

  11. So touching! Thank you for being brave and getting personal.

    I lost my mother, who was also my best friend, in '04. It was heartbroken and lost for quite a while. Then, last year when I decided to open my own small business, she was the inspiration behind my designs and my business name. I wanted to honor all that she had given/taught me.

    Thanks again for such a heartfelt post :)

  12. Oh my, I wonder what to say. I can see that you have managed to take the best out of a sad ending and that is the way it should be. Maybe we all can learn from your creativity! Love is what matters. Although the people you love may come and go, love is the force!

  13. Beautiful post - thanks so much for sharing!


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