It’s always personal… what I feel moved to share. Yet this is most personal, and as I write, tears of sadness and joy flow down my cheeks like mighty rivers flooding to the sea.
Twenty-two years ago, I moved from my beloved home in Hong Kong, taking up residence in Coronado. As most of you know, I had a broken back, a failed surgery, and a broken heart from the loss of a career as a global journalist that was my complete identity. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was massive PTSD. Not from all the wars I had been on the front lines of, but from the loss of who I was, the confinement to a body brace, the inability to sit up for meal, no longer feeling like I deserved to be alive.
Somehow, like a miracle, a man came into my life named Captain Gerry Brummitt. He was retired Navy, a hero during Vietnam, and a member of the church I occasionally crawled into seeking some way to lessen my pain.
Gerry put an arm around my shoulder one day and said, “We’re going walking on water.” Thus began endless trips in San Diego Bay on his sailboat, the Shaman. He virtually had to lift my broken body each time and lay me down on the long padded seat by the helm.
In the silent song of the water, gentle shifting breezes kissing our faces, utterly immersed in nature, we spoke of victory and challenge, of love and loss, of politics and philosophy. We were from different generations with wildly different viewpoints, yet we listen to one another and, in doing so, softened the edges of our convictions.
I came to believe that an angel had sent Gerry to keep me from falling so far into the abyss that survival was not possible. In time, I realized that Gerry WAS the angel. My father had passed more than a decade earlier, and slowly – ever unspoken – Gerry became my new father.
As I ultimately found my way towards healing, the years passed and Gerry eventually needed healing of his own. To this day, it is the greatest honor to have had him come to me for guidance. We did therapeutic yoga together in the early morning hours, meditated, breathed deeply and moved closer to spirit as we walked on the water of the body/mind/spirit medicine that had transformed my life.
Here was a Navy Captain, a conservative, a devout Christian, never once blinking at the spiritual practices of Yoga from the opposite side of the Earth. He was open, authentic, at peace with who he was and at peace with stepping outside of all his boundaries.
A few days ago, I was at Captain Gerry’s bedside. In his late eighties, he was in near coma. I held his hand and felt a gentle squeeze returned to embrace me. I whispered, “I love you so much, Gerry.” I swear to you his heart whispered back, “I love you, too.”
Gerry Brummitt has now flown home to the angels. Oh dear God, thank you for this gift in my life… in everyone’s life who had the profound privilege to know this amazing man.
Gerry, I know you can hear me now. In my heart and soul I will always be walking on the waters of eternal spirit with you. Thank you, thank, thank you my brother, my, father, my mentor, my friend. Thank you. I love you so.