What Mel Did
What Mel Did - Male lion

Courage doesn’t always roar – or walk over hot coals

My twin sister and I once went to an Anthony Robbins convention. We’d made it to the final day where he was convincing us to walk over hot coals. (Don’t.)

Not usually risk adverse, it was my twin sister, however, who stepped up to the plate when the time came. I teetered at the edge of proceedings. My thought, apropos of everything, was “What if this doesn’t work and my feet fry?”

So, saying “we” had been brave is a reach.

The other side of feet frying, my sister watched in surprise as I dithered in indecision (read: frozen solid in blind terror).

Then that ‘thing,’ which often pushed me to do the thing I think I cannot do, kicked in. The voice of Bronnie on my shoulder whispering, “You’ve got this.”

Bronnie’s belief in me was legendary.

So, off I went. Petrified.

I sprinted across those taunting red embers.

I told the “Walk don’t run,” piece of advice to go to hell as I charged.

There may have been hollering.

I collapsed the other side, a hot mess of sweltering madness.


Later, I had a cup of coffee with Running Over Hot Coals and we decided to go our separate ways. It was amicable. There was cake.

During my now eight years without Bronnie, I read another feat of courage which has stayed with me. Fellow blogger, Jax Blunt, wrote:

“I keep getting up. Every day. I go on.”

Some days, just getting out of bed is one of the most courageous decisions we can make.

I am often asked “How do you do it?” as though there is a choice, especially when you have children. No, that’s wrong, there is always a choice. It’s just some choices suck when you have children.

But that’s how I have negotiated my life as a widow thus far.

Like running over hot coals, I don’t think, I just go.

I don’t think of all those scary days ahead.

I narrow my focus to a series of moments and go through the door daily pretending to be a whole person. Pretend I have whatever it is Bronnie saw in me to stare down each day and not be the first to blink.

To get over those hot coals whichever way I can.

Some days that’s striding confidently through, like my sister all those years ago – or staggering and hollering my way through.

Either way, it’s momentum.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

– Mary Radmacher


  • It’s easy for an observer to forget that there are some things you don’t get over, you get through the rest of your life living with it. A poignant heads-up and so important to share. Sending you lots of love. xxx

  • This is so beautiful and honest Mel. This is my first time reading your blog. Your brother in law Matt was just here in Maryland with us for a weekend. It’s hard to believe that it has indeed been 8 years! One foot in front of another, a step at a time is good advice.

    • Thank you, Markella. I appreciate your reading and reaching out. That is indeed a hard part of the bereavement process. The years pass so quickly and you stay in the memories like it was yesterday, whilst the world just gets on with the business of turning. My best to you and yours. Mx

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