This month, I didn't play the guitar every day and take time to write. I didn't clean the basement and organize the pictures. I didn't even learn to make the perfect Gin and Tonic. I did, however, learn something completely unexpected. I was raised to believe that you should rely only on yourself and, though I have never believed that intellectually, I recognize that it is one of my default coping skills. When my mother died, I wanted so badly to be stoic in the face of my grief, to acknowledge it but to carry on unchanged. I managed for awhile but I eventually started to crack and, when I did, my friends stepped in to help. Let me tell you, when I chose these people to be my family, I really outdid myself. They had me over for dinner. They made me Gin and Tonics. They helped clean my house and weed my yard. They watched The L Word with me. They played Scrabble with me. They called me to chat. They held me and listened. They watched over me with kindness and compassion. They did all of this despite my insistence that I was fine, that I didn't need anything. The truth is that I did need their support and, even more shockingly, I wanted it - I just never realized it until after it was given. I believe that things happen for a reason - this is the closest I come to faith. I finally understand what I was supposed to learn from my mother dying while my partner and best friend was so far away. This month, I learned to receive. Now, I am ready to go. I am leaving in an hour to catch the plane that will take me to my family in Lisbon. I am ready for a vacation. Bring on the good bread, the good wine and the beach. Vacation's all I ever wanted...right, Belinda?