I was in Mexico, getting my joy on.

I was visiting my cousin. She’s not your ordinary cousin. She’s more like the sister I never had. We share stuff — aspiring stuff, personal stuff, funny stuff. We also share a similar energy and drive. We like strong. We like real. We like to work hard, workout hard, work hard again, eat plants, talk deeply, laugh loudly, and sip wine from a fancy glass that kisses our feminine spirit when cradled by a fresh manicure.

It was the last day of the visit. After meetings, a hike, and Pilates (where you are assigned a personal drill sergeant with a seductive voice and poetic accent), we went for a mani-pedi at the local salon. We sorted through hundreds of polish colors. She picked hot pink. I picked deep lavender. We sat down beside each other, but there was a partition left over from the pandemic, making it hard to talk. So, I took the time to call my daughter, Caroline. She had been on a run of seizures since I was gone. After over 18 years of fighting epilepsy, the news of seizures is still like the thud of a dodgeball into the chest. She answered my call with a sweet, cheery “Hi Mom.” My chest expanded a little as it relished in her good spirits. She reported that she had some bumps and scrapes, but I could still hear her light.

When I arrived home from the long trip, I called Caroline again. Her speech was still more slurred than usual, but her tone was upbeat. She told me about the new manicure she had gotten the day before. I asked her to send me a pic! In less than two minutes, I opened the photo of Caroline’s manicure and smiled. Deep lavender. Nail salons offer more colors than a Pride rally on Castro Street. Yet on the same day, some 3,000 miles apart, we had chosen identical colors. I had to snap a picture of my manicure so she could see that we were twinning! I put the two photos beside each other and in an instant, one screenshot captured history.

These two hands, which have been intertwined for over 30 years, tell a story. It’s a story of tragedy, of softness, of warrior energy, of holding up, and of holding on. One hand, despite the little scrape from the last seizure-meets-pavement, tells of a life lived slightly, putting great care, caution, and cognition into the simplest of tasks. The other hand is a virtual road map of life lived on a mission.

These two hands have traveled to every region of the country, in search of the final cure for epilepsy. One hand has led the other, asking for her to trust that one day, we will win this battle. But until then, put your hand in mine, and we will hold hope between us.

These two hands have a special language. When clasped together, one hand feels safe and the other feels fuel. While one belongs to a wordsmith, the other belongs to a young woman who struggles to complete a sentence. Yet when these two hands are joined, no words are needed. There is just knowing.

When I walk with Caroline, I like to take her hand. I tell myself it’s to keep her safe, to prevent her from crashing down. But I know, at best, I can only cushion the fall. I simply love the feeling of her hand in mine.
Today’s Talk to the Brain tip isn’t about talk. It’s about touch.
I know Caroline is not alone.
Without warning, life crashes down.
It’s better when we are holding hands.

With love and cheers,

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