The transformation of grief to purpose is my life’s work.  Maybe it always has been, but I know for sure that it’s been my life’s work since the 27th of September 2015.

I’m not able to put together the “How I Did It” template on transforming grief to purpose.  However, I am able to share my story, and by doing so, I may be able to help others find their own way.

Frequently, people tell me how strong I am, but I don’t feel any more or less strong than I did before Angus passed away. They say that they don’t know how I “do” it…but I’m not even sure what “it” is.

I don’t know how to describe why or how I redefined normal and began moving from grief to purpose, but I know exactly where and when I became mindfully aware of my decision to transform:

  • I remember the feel of my iPhone and touching the screen to call Camille.
  • I remember the sound of my voice telling her that the Coroner had called and that Angus was found on a trail and that he was dead.
  • I remember her screaming.
  • I remember that it was around eight o’clock on Sunday night…and I was sitting in the floor in the hallway of my house in the dark.

When Camille could speak, all she said was, “He was gonna change the world.” At that moment, I mentally stepped back from the edge of a deep, dark abyss where I felt myself delicately balanced.  I consciously made the decision to turn and walk away from despair.  Less than 24 hours later, The Stardust-Startup Factory was created.

It’s six o’clock in the morning;  I’m sitting on a swing in eastern North Carolina on the 11th of September 2017 looking out over Bogue Sound.  Is my son any more or less with me right now than he was almost 2 yrs ago…when he was in Colorado, staying with his friends and having a heck of a great time laughing and smiling and learning and sharing?  I know he’s still with me.  He’s on this swing, and that together, we’re experiencing the high energy of this day.

As the mom of a young man who died at 22 of what some would call a “freak accident,”  I think most of my friends believe I’m crazy.  Most of them are at least thinking, if not saying, “Wait until she hits the wall and collapses into a heap on the floor.  It has to happen; she can’t keep this up.”

But it’s not at all pretend. There’s no “act” that I’m performing. I’m honestly at peace…and I’m happy.

When I enter the space of feeling the mortality of this body, when I feel myself going into a place where life feels helpless and hopeless, I mindfully back out, step aside, move away from that space.  These times happen when I forget that there’s a sky full of stars, even though I don’t see them.

This is about perception.

We’re having a bit of Hurricane Irma impact here on the Carolina coast this morning with gale force winds and crashing waves.  At this moment the sky is full of swirling clouds… Beyond these clouds, there is a sky full of stars, the vastness of space.  It’s all still there; it’s no less there.

I just don’t see it!

I remember one time, when Angus was in 2nd or 3rd grade—probably 2nd—when Jim and I were having a bit of a disagreement.  We were living in upstate New York, in Oneonta, and, thanks to lake effect clouds, it’d probably been a week or two since we’d seen the sun.  In the midst of a little squabble in the kitchen, Jim looked at me and said, “You make me so mad.”  And I commented that I didn’t realize I had that kind of power over him–to make him mad or happy or however I wanted him to be.  This didn’t help solve the situation in the kitchen at that moment, but it was a very interesting epiphany for me about responses to stimuli.

We are presented with circumstances every minute of every day.

How we respond to those circumstances is what we have power over.

Discovering opportunities, challenges, the different feelings of life without angus in his physical form have been interesting.  I absolutely miss his hugs, and I miss watching him dance and dive and drum and drive away in Yuri the Yaris heading out on some adventure.  I realize that many people I know are grieving Angus’s loss because they can’t imagine how they’d cope with the loss of their own child.   Many friends and family members don’t feel comfortable working with me on Stardust or talking positively and happily about Angus because they don’t want to face or can’t face or aren’t ready to face aspects of their own physical mortality or that of others whom they love.


The Stardust-Startup Factory is offering the Spiritual Alchemy group as an opportunity for community building and support. We’re offering a forum for sharing and discussion and discovery.  We’re not presenting ourselves in any way as spiritual alchemists.  There’s no conjuring that Stardust or Camille or Jim or I do that holds the magic that will transform you.

The Stardust Spiritual Alchemy group is an opportunity for YOU to mindfully transform yourself.  That’s where the power and the magic reside.

Sometimes we may not be ready to transform grief to purpose.

Grief is place where people find themselves when they are dealing with profound change, profound loss. Stardust’s Spiritual Alchemy group is not here to rescue you from grief.

But when you’re emerging from the fog of grief that we’re here to help you redefine normal.

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