>  Moments   >  Always Trust Your Gut: An Impassioned Plea to Do The Thing

The sad news has come. Someone I loved has died.

I had planned to post about my recently completed flight attendant training this week. To offer up my insights, my likes and dislikes, to take a shot at Corporate America and the declining standards under the capitalist race to the bottom (among other, more positive remarks). But things have changed. It doesn’t feel so pressing, anymore. Feels weird, if I’m honest, to talk about something like hospitality, when something serious, tangible, gut-wrenching is happening.

*Has happened. It doesn’t quite feel real yet, to switch from present to past tense.

I’m not ready to talk in depth about my friend, gone too soon. But what I do want to say, loudly, clearly, and with all the force in my being is this:

Do the thing.

Make it happen.

Spend the money.

Call out of work.

Show up.

I made a last-minute decision to journey to the UK, with just one day free, before a 9-day stint in Florida for a mandatory work training. It wasn’t convenient or easy, but the feeling nagged at me— ‘You must go.’ It was 20 hours of flying and 8 hours in airports in a matter of three days. It was little sleep and the stress of getting to where I needed to be, on time. It would have been easier to go later, on April 8, when I didn’t have so much going on, could take a few days off. But in these situations, you never know how much time is left. So, you make a judgement call.

It was 5 hours of sitting in a hospital room with someone I loved once, hated once, and have always cared for deeply. It was redemption.

And when I got the news, on Wednesday, April 3, that he had passed, it was validation of the decision I’d made. It was “Thank god I went when I did.”


This post is a little bit about my whirlwind trip to spend 24 hours in the UK saying goodbye. And more than that, it is an impassioned plea to trust your gut. To do what you need to do, to show up.

The Trip


I departed Boston at 6pm, on an overnight flight to London. I hopped a train to the next terminal, because Heathrow is enormous, then boarded my flight to Manchester, arriving at 9:30 in the morning. I booked a hotel from the bag claim area, while waiting for my suitcase, choosing a place based on where I could check in early.

I gathered my million-pound bag, packed for twelve days away, and went outside to find my Uber driver to take me to the hotel. I had to pay thirty pounds to check in early, but it was well worth it to be able to catch a little sleep before seeing my friend. I didn’t know what condition he’d be in when I arrived, and I thought being rested might just help my emotional state and the quality of our visit. I got to the hospital at 3pm, not knowing what to expect. I braced myself, while walking through the doors, the glass-covered corridor to his wing, a place so familiar it was almost comforting, and hoped for the best.

My emotional support candy, what carried me through the long journey.

The visit


The visit was just what it should have been. We didn’t cry or rehash the past. Instead, we caught up. We talked about his numerous, snowballing health ailments, about my upcoming training, about family. I steered clear of topics I thought would upset him and left myself open to taking the encounter as it came. He was sick, to be sure. I had cried on my way to the airport the day before, the two-hour drive giving me the downtime I needed to let my brain trace circles around what was really going on. What must it feel like? To know you’re going to die? To feel it lapping at your ankles, unrelenting, despite the treatments, and your age, and all the people around the world praying for a miracle. “He must be so scared,” I thought, aloud, in my car, through tears.

When I sat with him in the hospital for our final goodbye, he was in too much discomfort to be afraid. The body comes first. Our physical needs are so palpable, it is hard for us to think beyond them. He didn’t cry or bemoan the situation, though I think I might have if the roles were reversed.

We played quiz games. High fived one another after a particularly successful round—in science, of all things. We reminisced about the pub quiz we nearly won in The Cotswolds in December. And by ‘nearly won’, I mean didn’t lose. The low-ceilinged pub, full of warm light and chatty locals, where they called me ‘The American’ and the bartender helped us with the picture round (a fill-in map of the town, impossible for outsiders to know) will be one of our last happy memories. On the walk home through the pitch dark, where our breath crystalizing in the air was the only discernible landmark, he’d said to me: “We’ve always been a good team, when we work together.”

There are a million earlier memories we could have talked of. Sweeter ones, without the sour sting of Cancer lingering on our tongues. But we didn’t rehash the past. It’s all there, safely in my memories, in my iCloud photos. I wasn’t there to love him, not like I used to anyway. I was there for support, for forgiveness, for one last time to let him know: “I’ve got you.”

Just one example of those happy memories we didn't rehash.

I left the cancer hospital in Manchester feeling a quiet relief, a deep sensation of rightness. We had done it. We overcame the obstacles, the hurt feelings and disappointments, we forgave and accepted, and I was once again in the inner circle, offering up my best. The Uber ride to my hotel was peaceful, and the sense of gratitude I felt at dinner, having spent the afternoon with a young man who could no longer eat, was immense.

I didn’t make it on my flight the next morning and had to sit in the airport for four hours, waiting on the next opportunity. I made my flight to New York, then had to take a flight down to Florida. I woke up at 6:30 am in the UK, and closed my eyes for the night at 2:30 am, Eastern Standard. A twenty-five-hour day that felt well worth it. A profound exhaustion that felt only good. I’m so glad I went. So grateful I got to see him that one last time. So happy for having trusted my gut that said “Go, now.” So proud to have showed up.

Decisions, Regrets, Mirrors


It is not always easy to make decisions. Life is busy, time is swirly and winding. Illnesses happen, and so do miracles. Good news comes as often as bad. Navigating these things can be hard. But I’ve come to a place where the thing I hope to avoid, more than exhaustion and inconvenience, more than doing too much or spending too much or being too quick to jump to action, is regret. I want to live with as little of this as possible. To show up in the ‘just-in-case’ moments as often as possible. To recognize and appreciate that some things, like money and sleep, can be made back, caught up on, and some things cannot. I want to keep this in mind for every decision I make. Just what are the stakes? Just how much regret can I live with? Just what do I want to see, when looking at myself in the mirror?

There is privilege inherent in everything I do. Being able to call out of work when I need to. Being able to fly very cheaply, at the last minute. Having only to worry about myself, and not a spouse, or children, or pets. The ability to hash out the pros and cons and make decisions not only based on physical need, but on my emotional well-being. I acknowledge this, and to those of you making hard decisions with fewer options: My heart goes out to you.

But for everyone with options—even the hard ones—my unsolicited opinion stands. Go with your gut. Make it work. Do the thing. Show up.

I’m so glad I did.

I want to thank you all for the support you’ve given over the months, and especially in the past couple of weeks after my last post about saying goodbye. For someone who finds it difficult to ask for anything, your kind words have made me feel held, comforted, understood, and less alone. I’m wishing all of you going through grief, or other difficult situations, as much love and support as you’ve sent my way. If I know you personally, I would be honored to be able to support you, too.

In the future, I think writing about and talking about Will will be cathartic, therapeutic, and emotionally satisfying. For now, this is all I’m willing to share publicly. I’ll be leaning on my friends and family and those who knew him.

Next post will be back to business as usual, because, shockingly, incredibly, against all odds, life does go on.

Sending love.


airplane logo


  • Jim Hope

    April 4, 2024

    Love this photo of Santiago and the memories I hold, like you that are so dear! So sorry for your sorrow, but glad we can feel things inherent be being human. I will include you in my prayers..

  • Corey

    April 5, 2024

    I love all the pictures and the beauty in your heart felt words. Your story has touched my heart more than you know, and I know it will touch other’s just as deeply. Thank you for sharing this with us all. As I metaphorically zoom out, remembering all the way to the beginning with your excitement and planning for the Camino, I believe this has been one big spiritual experience. It still is now, even for me. You are deeply loved and forever supported. xo Love you and see you real soon ♥️


post a comment