I am in Thailand.

And this post has nothing to do about marketing.

It has to do with how much our love matters in the world.

And how much it is missed when it is gone.

Her name was Kylen. I met her through some community events in Edmonton. She had the most radiant spirit. I saw her so occasionally  at the Black Dog. But we’d always be excited to see each other and sit down for a drink together and talk about life. Try to catch up on the past 6 months. One of those.

I loved her.

I loved seeing her. I left every interactions feeling uplifted, enriched, loved and, somehow, more special. She had this sparkle in her eyes. So full of life. Such a capacity to have people know they were needed and wanted in the world. She grew upwards like a tree, the beautiful sap of this world being raised up from the Earth in her – and yet so grounded. I left our conversations a bit more comfortable in my own skin.

The other day, I heard word that she was missing.

Today, I found out that she committed suicide.

Like so many others (too many others) she reached her limits of how much suffering her heart could contain. Like my friend Tooker Gomberg. Who I still miss.

She was 20 years old.

I don’t know that I have anything to say here. Except that I miss her.

That suicide is not like any other kind of death.

That we can’t possibly over estimate the importance of kindness, empathy and compassion in this world. That we can’t possibly imagine the amount of pain that the people around us are in. I certainly had no idea with Kylen.

That judging and trying to fix others doesn’t help them. At all. Or us.

That every ounce of healing and wholeness we can bring to our own hearts matters. Because it makes us more available to be present for others.

That listening with our hearts matters (and that advice rarely does). That making someone a cup of tea and listening to their worries with kindness probably matters more than coaching them or telling them what we think they should do.

That no mother should ever have to lose her children.

That we, as a world, can do better than this.

That illness is not personal but collective. That a disease is carried by a whole community – even if it manifests through one person. We all have cancer – some people just carry it for us. It just shows up through them (for whatever reason). But it’s not just about them. That suicide says so much about our culture and our planet at this time. That suicide is a bitter flower that grows out of the shared root system of unresolved grief.

That grieving can, somehow, make us more whole. That Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ words are true:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

That the answer to so many of the world’s problems is to love even more, to make our hearts bigger, even more generous.

That pain can, somehow, be transformed into beauty. And oh Kylen. May all this terrible pain we all feel give birth to so much beauty.

That we need each other so much. That we are a part of each others’ hearts.

That sometimes it takes a long time to heal from grief.

That time doesn’t heal wounds (or make them disappear). It deepens them. Like rivers deepen the valley. Until they blend with the landscape.

That, somedays, I have no kind words for the universe.

That, if you’re struggling, I hope, so much, that you have someone you can reach out to for healing.

That I dream of a world full of grandmothers who, when your heart finally breaks, will invite you under the covers in their bed and hold you as you fall apart.

That, sometimes, it’s not going to be okay.

That life will break you.

That sometimes, we lose the very best parts of us.

That there are some people we will always remember. No matter how briefly we knew them.

Rest In Peace Kylen.

I am heartbroken.

About Tad

  • I’m so sorry, Tad.  She sounds like a beautiful soul.  I’m sad that she was is so much pain.

  • Sallylrobertson

    A searingly beautiful piece.  What a heartbreaking, tragic loss.  My thoughts are with Kylen and her family as they grieve.  Thank you for sharing this.

  • Nothing but a look into your eyes, a knowing nod, and a deep hug.

  • Anonymous

    I’m so sorry Tad. :(

  • John B

    Hi Tad

    I’m so sorry to read about Kylen’s passing, I pray she has found peace.
    We have got to find a way to learn to listen. We must slow down the pace of our lives so that we can truly reach out and care for each other. For people who are in so much pain that they see this as a solution. Very sad.

    I hope that you have someone to reach out to as you process this news, while you are away in Thailand.

  • Natasha

    So sorry tad

  • Powerful sharing Tad. I’d like to say that your ‘kindness and empathy’ shine through in all your materials and all you do, at least to me. So thanks for doing your part, and encouraging more.


  • I just am sobbing, Tad.  You write so beautifully, it’s just so Beautiful…
    sobbing this way feels Beautiful, too.
    Thank you for sharing and thank you for feeling so deeply, and letting your feelings deepen you, like the river you spoke of so gorgeously.

    I’ve been a person people come away from uplifted, as I’m sure you have, too.  Regardless of what role we pay for others, at any age we can come across our own demons, and if I had misinterpreted others’ need for what they called my “light”, I might have thought “others are too overwhelmed by their own shadows to be able to ‘welcome me under the covers to fall apart’.”  But luckily I knew people like you, who don’t give advice, who just share their pain, who just cry when it feels right, who bring Life to the table.

    What a beautiful imagination you have.  It’s so important to know that image, Tad, the image of the Grandmothers.  Thank you for sharing it, and for all of this prose From The Heart.  It gives me strength for the next time I fall apart… and come together.

    So sorry for your loss.

  • Eileen Pardini

    Staggeringly beautiful post. With so much gratitude…

  • Julia Kious Zabell

    You put into words the exquisite pain felt around this kind of loss.  I have loved ones whose hearts were done with the crap out there and chose this path too….It doesn’t get easier, but there is clarity around their Why. 

    And the What can I do.I can love even when it scares the shit out of me to be so vulnerable.  I can open up more to the beauty, even when I feel like contracting. 

    I can tell everyone that they count.  That they are more than just a beating heart.

    I hope that you’re able to find some love and beauty to be with you through this.  From my experiences, Thailand has some perfect nooks and crannies for healing.  Will be holding you and Kylen’s family in my heart.

  • Su

    Hey Tad, I was just in Eton and was thinking about you. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your words are beautiful and Kylen a very special person. Thanks for sharing this with us, there is so much heart and truth and what you say.RIP Kylen.  Su

  • “We all have cancer – some people just carry it for us.” I am so grateful for your ability to express your feelings and write so eloquently during this time of loss.  I’m sorry to hear about your friend.  She sounds like such a beautiful light and sweet sensitive soul… an empath who took on so much of the world’s suffering as her own.  Sending a heart hug and wishing you blessings,comfort and peace. 

  • <3 thank you

  • Amy

    Thank you, Tad. This is so beautiful and heartfelt… sentiments of a person who deeply feels. You are so right on. I really feel like I am just continually guided to material that highlights the value of genuine listening and compassion, truly that is more valuable than anything else I ever think I have to offer. I am also sorry for the loss of your friend. Much love…

  • Kostya

    Don’t want to hurt your feelings but since my arrival in this city 4 years ago I’ve been stunned by what I can only perceive as a “fake politeness”.. “How are you” is a formal greeting, that’s OK but the answer is a fake smile as nothing else is expected from you anyway.
    There is no time in London to be sad.

  • Leia

    Beautiful, Tad… Just beautiful.