Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

Grief is funny, isn’t it? Well, no it’s not actually funny. It fluctuates between a warm, loving hug of memory, while other times sneaking up when your guard is down, washing over you with a final, cold punch to your throat.

Sometimes grief catches you in a paper gown at the doctor’s office, Googling acronyms you’re not familiar with, and glancing back up at the monitor to check your numbers against notes in your phone. The familiarity of the green and black screen immediately transports you back to your dad’s hospital bed, precisely to the moment a tearful doctor asks…

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

Monday, 8:53 pm — I’m on the bathroom floor, hyperventilating and gasping for air between guttural sobs. Just got off the phone with my brother, who gave me the most loving, funny pep talk. What is wrong with me? How did I end up on the bathroom floor? Why can’t I breathe? Why can’t I focus? Am I going to throw up? Am I having a panic attack? Is this a coronavirus symptom? What the heck is wrong with me? Hands shaking, I fumble to SOS text my therapist for an appointment. Done. Gasp. I roll over against the wall…

Photo by Sydney Sims @fairytalephotography from Unsplash

It was a beautiful, hot summer Friday in Miami. The sky was cheerfully blue. The white clouds were full and sunlit, and I walked out of the hospital dazed and emotionally broken. “Fuck you for being so joyful today,” I told the world. Moments before, my mom, brother and I stood at my dad’s bedside in the Critical Care Unit, granting a teary-eyed doctor permission to stop trying to resuscitate my dad. His already dead body flailing under CPR and cardioversion. He was 62 and he was healthy a month prior.

This is our friend: anxious emoji

A recent visit to San Francisco, overflowing with meetings and precious time with friends, reacquainted me with my brightest self and darkest demon: ambition and anxiety. Since the start of the year, I have been in an emotional, exhaustive ping-pong tournament between the two. Unfortunately, anxiety had been winning more battles than I like to publicly admit and I felt absolutely helpless. Sleepless nights, 4 am note-taking sessions, constant dark eye circles, unannounced tears on the elliptical, hours of research and failed attempts at meditation tools, constant conversations with my best friends asking, “What is wrong with me?” …

It’s 5:14 pm on the last Thursday in December 2017. I return home feeling mentally heavy, and ambivalent. My eyes are wide open, searching, but also energized, looking for direction. Then I robotically text my brother, best friends and boyfriend and say, “I can’t believe tomorrow is my last day at work.”

My exit interview took place two hours prior, but I didn’t really hang out with the idea of leaving my job until now, when I vocally report to myself, “Jade, tomorrow is your last day at the firm.” …

Jade Reichling

Miami native. @Harvard alum. CX expert - people first, then talk data to me. Sociologist at heart.

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