Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself...
Updated: Mar 7
My name is Melissa. I am a former Rock Radio DJ and TV host, an animal lover, cat mom, loud laugher, picture taker, traveler, avid reader and student of people, life and myself.
The past few years have been tough for me, and yet some of the most beautiful, educational and inspirational years of my life.
Two years ago, I left my home in Los Angeles, my family of friends, my long-term job as a DJ at radio station KLOS, and pretty much everything I thought defined me.
After being diagnosed with a debilitating Autoimmune Disease I was falling apart at the seams physically and emotionally. My big brother encouraged me to move to Florida to get the love, nurturing and support I had disconnected from when I left home at 18.
Fast forward a year and things were looking up. I sought help from a functional doctor and left what in some ways had become a toxic work environment and a toxic city. My Hashimoto's Disease was in remission. I rebuilt bonds with my family, and most of all re-connected with myself for possibly the first time in my life.
Having re-gained my physical and emotional health, I was feeling the best I had ever felt. I got a job as a DJ at radio station "The Shark" in Miami, where I met some of the most amazing, talented and supportive people I had ever worked with. I was starting to date, make friends, and much to my surprise, fall in love with Florida.
I went back to Los Angeles in February 2020 to make peace with a city I had had a "complicated" relationship with. I went back to some of my favorite places and saw some of my favorite people. I was reminded what I loved about the city, and what I hated. After a short visit, during which I celebrated my birthday, I walked away at peace.
Little did I know what was around the corner. Just three weeks later the world was in chaos. The pandemic, lockdowns, fear and uncertainty, the loss of my radio job and ultimately a decades long broadcasting career were things I had never seen coming. I hunkered down, practiced self-care. stress-management and all of the hyphenated buzz words, and counted my blessings.
Once again, little did I know what was around the corner. One morning in August I got a text message from my frantic sister-in-law. A few hours earlier my perfectly healthy brother, and only sibling, had suffered sudden cardiac arrest. He was on life support. She was with the Chaplain.
His body was there, but he was gone.
We spent the next few days trying to wrap our brains around the unfathomable.The situation was made even more surreal by the fact we couldn't be with him because of COVID. The doctors and health care workers were absolutely amazing, suddenly taking on roles they hadn't been trained for as therapists and grief counselors. They played Beatles music for him as we requested, held the phone in front of him for as long as we needed as we face-timed with him, alternating between begging him to come back to us, and telling him if him if he needed to, it was ok to let go.
On August 17, 2020 we helped him make that decision. We were thankfully, finally, able to see him to say goodbye in person.
He was an organ donor and in his final act of generosity helped many people.
We could not have a funeral. We had a Zoom memorial service. To this day I have not seen nor hugged my extended family or friends.
And here I am today.
I have lived my whole life with goals, aspirations, and dreams for the future. I have none of those anymore. It's not as dire as it sounds. In some ways it's a gift. The only thing we are promised is now, this very moment.We might as well live in the now fully, something that we can't do if we are looking elsewhere.
I have lost,... but I AM found.
To quote Ram Dass, "The game is not about becoming somebody, it's about becoming nobody."
I get it now.