Time passes. Life goes on. Or does not. We hope for joy and love and health. But sometimes life’s challenges grip us in a cloud of despair and we long for peace, for the gentle embrace of happiness. At times, feeling good seems elusive.

Over the past year, the global pandemic has given each of us pause. To be thankful for the grace to survive intact and healthy. Or to mourn the loss of a loved one, a job, a way of life, or myriad shifts in life many of which seemed unfathomable before COVID-19 gripped our world. In the magnitude of duress, heartache, and fear, it can seem virtually impossible to take a step forward without a sense of trepidation. For those fortunate to step forward with relative ease, it is on us to help those struggling amidst and around us to navigate back to life.

This spring, I have been particularly drawn to the blades of grass I observe, fascinated and inspired by their innate ability to just grow. No thought, no struggle, and even if stepped upon, up they shoot towards the sky. When I can really FEEL that sense of ease, letting go and moving forth with grace and faith, life blossoms and miracles spark. When I encourage my mind to go to what I want to see in my life and allow my imagination to percolate, I get signs that I am manifesting what I wish to manifest. At night in bed, I often open randomly to a page in Wayne Dyer’s book, Wishes Fulfilled. I am forever grateful to Wayne, a luminary who shared wisdom that put into practice can be life enhancing in the most glorious of ways.

Inspired by Wayne’s teachings, I incorporate them into my endeavors. I have always admired most those who transform adversity into helping others. And for better or worse, I have been given the opportunity to practice this in my life.

Today is my son Josh’s birthday. He left this world at age 15 ½ in October 2002 when he was struck by a car as he casually walked down a suburban sidewalk en route from the pharmacy for a snack to his tutoring appointment. A blessing that began after his passing, Josh continues to “communicate” to me, let’s say “beyond words.” I feel them and my brain gives them language. Over the ensuing years, I wrote a book to honor Josh’s legacy and to share his recipe to celebrate life while breath and a heartbeat are still ours.

The manuscript for Rising in the Mourning: Ways to Celebrate Life has been completed for a number of years, leaving me frustrated that it is yet-to-be published. But at this time, I know why. Its time has come. The book is a testament to LIFE, to rising in the mourning, whatever one is mourning. Prospective agents have provided feedback that people don’t want to read about death. Mistakenly, IMHO (H being humble). Rising in the Mourning: Ways to Celebrate Life is a book about LIFE, not death. It is about rising from adversity and challenges, whatever they may be, and embracing the gift of life while it is yours to live. That is not to negate or overlook the tremendous pain and suffering that many have or are experiencing be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Rather, it offers a template to find hope and inspiration to step forward into LIVING.

Deep in the anguish after Josh’s passing, my husband, now ex but to whom I am forever grateful for what we shared together and continue to share with our children (the gift of 2 living and lovely daughters whose resilience is inspirational), I said to myself and metaphorically to Steven, “Do you want to live as if you are dead or LIVE until you die?” By the grace of God and a three-decade meditation and spiritual practice prior to Josh’s “death,” I was able to glide into the latter part of this phrase, choosing LIFE.

And so, grateful to Arianna Huffington for her suggestion that I post excerpts of the book on her exceptional Thrive Global platform and thankful to be a contributor on the site, I am stepping forward to share Josh’s remarkable vision for embracing life, even amidst its inevitable hardships and challenges.

To begin, please see this post that I shared this week on Thrive Global as a steppingstone into the excerpts from Rising in the Mourning: Ways to Celebrate Life to come, 21 Ways to Celebrate Life. There is a chapter in the book that illuminates this enduring “list for life.” In fact, as others have told me they are doing today, I too am going to honor Josh by doing all 21 ways…and posting this message about “our” book. #11 is complete when I post this, something I have been wanting to do for years to get this book “out there”! And #19 too, as composing this message now is following the path that matters.

I thank you for embarking on this journey with me and hope Josh’s inspiration sparks the light of life in you.


  • Nancy H. Rothstein, MBA

    As The Sleep Ambassador®, sleep expert Nancy H. Rothstein is on a quest to help people live life fully 24/7. Nancy helps people rise in the MORNING and rise in the MOURNING.

    As The Sleep Ambassador® Nancy inspires a new respect for sleep and its impact on all aspects of work, life and well-being.  Through consulting, public speaking, media engagements, and other venues, she presents strategic solutions selected to empower people to make lasting shifts to optimize their sleep quality and quantity, both for the public and for the corporate world. Nancy consults and lectures to Fortune 500 corporations and other organizations, awakening leadership to the ROI of a good night’s sleep for their workforce and providing sleep education/training initiatives for employees at all levels.   Nancy's LinkedIn Learning Course, Sleep Is Your Superpower, has engaged over 300,000 seeking to improve their sleep. Nancy is the author of My Daddy Snores; published by Scholastic, which has sold over 400,000 copies. Nancy serves or served on the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board, the Steering Committee of Myapnea.org, the Board of the Foundation for Airway Health, the Advisory Board of the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, the American Sleep Apnea Association, and working with other organizations that foster sleep health.   Not only does Nancy help people rise in the morning, she also helps people rise in the mourning, inspiring  people to embrace life with gratitude and joy amidst its many challenges. With grace and authenticity, Nancy's forthcoming book, "Rising in the Mourning: Ways to Celebrate Life," offers insights and guidance based on her personal experience with the passing of...and reconnection with...her son. Excerpts appear on Thrive Global.     Nancy has a B.A. from The University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.