The Gift of Hope

I have healed a lot of wounds. I’ve forgiven, even myself. I continue to release the past patterns and hurts. I continue to peel away layers and gain a deeper understanding of me. Each time I experience a struggle, I gain a deeper understanding of my lessons, my path, myself. And ultimately these help to define me; not so much the struggles anymore but the awakening, the new learnings, the path I’m destined to walk down.

For so long I defined myself solely by my struggles, my pain, and I judged these terribly. I was the woman who couldn’t keep a relationship, hence 2 divorces. The woman who made bad decisions when it came to love. I defined me as the woman who lost her brother. Loss, loss, loss was how I defined myself.

I also defined me as strong, independent and resilient. But for a very long time I let the struggles take over my identity. I shared the struggles I faced versus the healing and strength that came from them.

This weekend I had the great fortune to attend a fundraiser for the Gift of Hope. This South Florida organization helps women during the treatment for breast cancer with their household bills. My cousin, a breast cancer survivor, is Hope and is the Executive Director of this organization. She is a courageous, positive spirit. She lit up the room during the evening. I was so taken by how she used her struggle in such a beautiful way.

Back in 2012, at my nephew’s wedding, she and I spent some time together chatting. I was focused on whether she was healthy. I kept asking her if she was really ok. A few days later, I sat in my car at the parking lot of the gym I had joined 6 months prior. I was ready to work out with my trainer and continue on the first leg of journey to weight loss and fitness. I called her to apologize for my barrage of questions. I felt bad. I let her know I realized I had been over the top, focused on her cancer instead of her. She was not only gracious, but she said something that, now that I look back, transformed me and how I thought about my identity.

Hope’s response to me was, “Cancer doesn’t define me.”

Pow! I realized at that moment that I had let all the struggles, all the difficulties be the lion share of my identity. I allowed that negativity into my life. My focus on healing my wounds, my depression, my self-talk, became crystal clear at that moment. I was crying as I hung up with her and sat there for quite a while.

I walked into the gym and Lauren took one look at me and just hugged me. We walked to the boxing cage as I knew that was what I needed to do that day, hit the bag. As I hit it, a jab here, an upper cut there, tears streamed down my cheeks.

That began my transformation; my journey to now. So pivotal for me. My cousin is an inspiration to me and how I define me. She has helped me more than she probably will ever really understand.

She lit the path that I was to walk.


  1. Wayne Steinman on March 1, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    <3 <3

  2. June on March 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Morning Suzy. What a beautiful post. Thank you. As I was reading it, I could visualize a shedding, a really healthy shedding, revealing all the beauty underneath that was actually there all the time. Hugs

  3. Suzy on March 1, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you June! Shedding is something I feel like is happening a lot these days!

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