A doctor friend asked, “Charmaine, what does unstoppable love look like?” I didn’t have an answer for him…until today.

Let me bring you up to speed. In 2019, as I was sitting alone in the sand looking out at the sunset on this beautiful island, this thought popped into my head. If I swim out just far enough in the ocean, I would be taken away and gone forever. I could end it all here. I could disappear quietly. I remember there were a few people off in the distance, but no one was near me that evening. I was supposed to be writing in my journal while the sun was setting, but I couldn’t write; all I could think about was ending my life. The feeling of hopelessness, pain, and fear shook me to my core. This was a new and very scary feeling for me. I sat in the sand for a very long time flooded with sadness and grief. Of course, I’ve been sad and had grief before, but the gravity of this felt unbearably heavy.

I sat still with my thoughts too scared to move. I don’t know how much time had passed, but the sun had set. I managed to get up and walk to my room. As I was walking back, I remember thinking several things…I have to tell someone about this so they’re aware of what’s happening with me. I need to get support. I should not ignore this. Wait, is this really my love journey? Is this really happening to me?

I wish that was the one and only time I felt that way, but it wasn’t. This was the beginning of a reckoning in my life.

I always saw myself as a “strong” person. Like most people, I’ve been through some tough stuff in my life, but maybe this is where it was all coming to a head. I was “becoming” alright− becoming undone− at least that’s how it felt. My job turned out to be a big disappointment and I was newly separated from my husband who I love so deeply. The latter cut me deeper than anything I’ve ever felt. The last thing I wanted to do was have a pity party for myself, but once I returned to the U.S. that’s exactly what happened. I had several nights of pity. I would be in mid-sentence with a close confidant and just start crying. She hung in there with me and at times I cried so much she was crying too. What was worse was those dark thoughts coming back a few times. I was scared of that.

Each time I started to feel that way I sat with it and addressed what was coming up for me. I worked through it because I didn’t want it to get worse. It also felt dangerous to me because I was still functioning “well.” I was working, exercising, maintaining as many friendships as I could handle, kept my place clean, hiking, reading…but I felt like I may turn out to be another person where people would look back and say, “wow, we just didn’t know something was wrong,” after my death. This was not how I wanted to be remembered. I was clear that I wanted to live a life full of love and happiness, so I needed to put in the work of dealing with what was happening. To do that I was going to have to go through my pain and fears; not ignore or numb myself. And I definitely didn’t want to inflict my pain or fears on to anyone else.  

The last two years were tough, but I’m so grateful. It’s been a beautiful journey even on the days when all I can do is place my hand on my heart and breathe. It was my will to live, my belief in love, the support of my friends and family, and the professionals who helped guide me through that kept me going. 

So, my friend, to answer your question.

Unstoppable love is loving myself through some of the darkest times of my life. It’s leaning into love a little more each day. It’s addressing my fears and pain even when it feels like I may break into a million pieces or die of heartache. 

Unstoppable love is self-care.

Unstoppable love is being courageous. It’s never leaving me even if others do. 

Unstoppable love whispers messages like, keep going you’ve got this. It’s time to get up and dust yourself off kid. Don’t give up. 

Unstoppable love taught me how to forgive myself and others. It taught me to be more compassionate. 

Unstoppable love says love because not despite. 

Unstoppable love gives me hope in myself and humanity. It’s brave.  

Unstoppable love encourages me to be a light, especially now when my country feels so dark. 

Unstoppable love is giving and receiving.

Unstoppable love is music, laughter, and meaningful conversations. It’s healing. 

Unstoppable love says yes that hurts but keep going. And forgive.

Unstoppable love is reflecting on my experiences and using the reflections to grow. 

Unstoppable love seeks to understand. It’s genuine. It’s letting go of my ego. 

Unstoppable love is giving myself time to step away and take care of my heart. 

My friend, unstoppable love looks back at me in the mirror every day. Unstoppable love is me and you, my brother. Let’s never give up on love.

And yes, unstoppable love means I am never alone. Thank you for that, Dr. Dan.