A Letter from the Organizer

The Survivors Summit is the culmination of a number of different things in my life.

Two years ago, I went through a tragic event that changed my life forever. For the longest time, I wondered if there was any point to my continuing to live. I’d been through so many different challenges, some of my own making and others that weren’t. And I simply felt done.

I had no interest in what tomorrow might bring because I already knew it was only going to bring more heartache.

Perhaps you’ve felt that way before?

Then a friend helped me to see that giving up or giving in only perpetuated the pain and kept me anchored by it. I could choose something else if I wanted. I could choose to let that tragic event be the catalyst for something more, something better, something that would redeem the soul-wrenching pain I’d been through.

And thus began a journey…

That journey led me to meet each of the speakers I’ve invited to participate in this conference, and to become friends with quite a few of them.

It led me to write my latest book, The Best is Yet to Come, and write my signature talk, “Finding the Gift in Grief.”

It prompted me to keep my heart open instead of retreating into my grief and pain; open even to the idea of falling in love again. And that gift has blessed me each and every day.

At a recent event, I heard someone share a story that was originally told on the TV show The West Wing, during one of the Season Two episodes. In the show, Leo McGarry shares this story with Josh Lyman.

This guy’s walkin’ down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you! Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole; can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. “Hey, Joe, it’s me. Can ya help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are ya stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”

In reflecting on my own life, I realized that’s what the last two years have been about for me.

This journey I’ve been on has allowed me to meet a truly unique set of speakers, each of whom have a heart for jumping into the hole you’re in, and showing you the way out.

It’s also brought a wonderful graphic designer into my life who helped me create just the sense of hope, comfort and inspiration that I desired, both for this website and for my book, as well as within my own heart and mind.

I hope as you join us on this journey, you no longer feel alone. I specifically chose this time of year to bring you these speakers because I know the holidays can be hard, especially when you feel hurt, frustrated, lost and alone.

Believe me when I say you are not alone! We’ve been here before, and we know the way out.

About The Survivors Summit by Organizer Tara R. Alemany