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11 Things My Son Taught Me about Life & Business


  1. Wendy Piersall says:

    Thank you for writing this today, Rae. I really, really needed to hear it. My online business has totally tanked in 2013, to the point where I’ve considered giving up. And then you come along and remind me that ass kicking isn’t just an option – it’s mandatory. :)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      There’s been plenty of times I’ve considered giving up on varying things for varying reasons – you just gotta keep on moving. :) I’m not saying to try past the point of it being sane – but definitely try past the point where it gets really hard. Good luck Wendy!

  2. Aaron Friedman says:

    Rae – this was inspiring, amazing, and I truly don’t have any other words to share other than that… Thank you

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Aaron… he taught me so much and sharing what impact he’s had on me makes me feel like his ripple effect in life can continue, even though he’s onto the next chapter. :)

  3. Garret Stembridge says:

    This is truly inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing. I love your outlook on life and will apply your life’s lessons to my own life.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Garret – I didn’t always have this outlook – it was something learned over time. At times, I still slip. But I definitely am a changed person as a result of being lucky enough to be his mom. If others can also take something away from his struggles and use it to make positive change, all the better… all the better. :)

  4. Thanks for this, very true, very moving. Not giving a fuck what other people think is an important life skill – I’m not quite there yet ..but I’m working on it.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Mike, it definitely takes time to get over something most of us were taught from childhood up – giving a crap what other people think. The first time my son ever had a seizure in public, I was pretty embarrassed. I’m sure some parents might not admit that but I was. It definitely takes being embarrassed to learn the reasons why you *shouldn’t* feel embarrassed. I was nodding at Julien’s post when he said to go do something embarrassing… it really does empower you to not care. By the time my son had his 20th seizure in public, it was like “what? he has seizures. deal or fuck off”.

  5. Matt McGee says:

    Where’s the +1,000,000 button?

    One of my favorite phrases: “This is not a rehearsal.” Same idea. Every minute matters. This is real. This is it. Wish I hadn’t wasted so much time letting life happen to me when I was younger, and instead had started making it happen back then — just like you decided to do. Amen.

    Thanks for sharing this, Rae.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Matt. Hey, like I said, the wasted time is already past – and, honestly, it likely wasn’t a waste. I have no doubt you learned some lessons in there that have helped you end up where you are today. I’m one of those people that believe that even a missed elevator has some weird purpose in your personal timeline. :)

  6. Charles Ngo says:

    Amazing post, it’s my first time stopping by and it’s quite a hard hitting entry. So sorry for your loss.

  7. Maria Ross says:

    You’re amazing and reading this, I both teared up and yelled, You Go Girl. I’m so sorry about the loss of your son but thankful for the time you had with him and the lessons he taught you, that you’re now sharing with us.

    I’m a brain aneurysm survivor (4 1/2 years) and it was all about getting over the Old Me and learning to adapt to the New Me. Until I got to that point, I was treading water. I wrote about this journey of recovery and the lessons learned in my book Rebooting My Brain (I’ll send you a copy if you send your address – that’s how thankful I am for this post!). I now speak about brain injury and patient advocacy and feel that is why I was given a second chance to use my voice again and why I had such an amazing recovery that even shocks my doctors.

    You are a brave, ballsy, admirable woman. And I wish I’d known your son. He could teach all of us a thing or two.


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Congrats on getting through that – and with a (obviously) good attitude and paying it forward to others that will unfortunately share your experience. Even your use of the word survivor says volumes. In the first year or so after my son had his stroke, I would often refer to him as a “pediatric stroke victim” – one day, someone from the AHA said to me “You know, he’s a stroke survivor, not a victim” – those words always stuck with me.

  8. Michelle Robbins says:

    It’s posts like this that underscore why I both admire and adore you, Rae.

    Keep ’em coming!

  9. Amazing and inspiring story.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thank you Dan – I only hope everyone who reads it can take something – no matter how small – away from it with them.

  10. Thank you writing this. I lost my daughter Jori at 8 months of age to PMG. Like you when we learned of Jori’s brain malformation and that she suffered not 1 but 2 types of siezures…well I found my new normal. I wasnt going to let that put me under. I was going to fight for my baby and do everything I could for her. Sadly her little body couldnt take it and she passsed on Feb 1 2012. I miss her every day but she taught me so much. I have even writen a children’s story about her passing to explain her death to her two older sisters. Its titled Princesses and Butterflies. I hoping to self publish on Amazon soon. My goal is to start a foundation in her name and all royalties will go to help other families with PMG kids and help them the way we where helped.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Toni – I’m very sorry to hear of your loss. However much we may learn from an experience, I know there’s not a single one of us that wouldn’t give up those lessons in a heartbeat to have our child not have to be the one who had to teach them to us. Giving back does SO MUCH for the soul. It’s a big help in the healing process.

  11. Clarke Henning says:

    One of the most inspiring posts that I’ve read in a long time, thanks for sharing. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Clarke – thank you for the thoughts and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I sat down at the keyboard to write it after reading Julien’s post and it sorta just “fell out”.

  12. Melanie Nathan says:

    I officially love you.

  13. Lynn / Power Chicks says:

    Rae, first off, I’ll say I’m so very sorry for the loss of your son – what an incredibly difficult experience. But I’m grateful that you learned such lessons from him and share your guts, strength and fortitude with us here. I’m new to your blog and can’t wait to explore more. Thanks!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Lynn – well then thanks for visiting. :) Honestly, he’s the one with all the aforementioned attributes. I just try my best to follow his lead. :)

  14. Muddaser Altaf says:

    The most important thing is to accept what is not in your hands, your son’s situation was not in your hand and you accepted that, you still remain satisfied with the Creator, then you start to find out ways.
    So one more thing learnt is accepting the situation and acting accordingly.

  15. Tara Jacobsen says:

    my husband and I were looking at adopting one child out of the foster care system, turns out we have a chance at a group of three. was REALLY stressing…are we capable of that, do we have enough money, can I still have some of my business…well damn girl…you posted this at just the right time…you will never know the impact you have had…thank you

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Tara – like I said in #7 – we don’t truly know what we’re capable of until we’re presented with the situation. If you had asked me a week before my son’s stroke if I’d have been able to care for a child with his needs, I’d have told you it would break me. Turns out, it didn’t. But you only find out how strong you are with “doing” most of the time. I wish you he best of luck with your new family. :)

  16. Barry Doyle says:

    Rae –

    This should be required reading for anyone, especially small biz owners, who are having a pity party for themselves feeling like they can’t fix the circumstances they are in. For me, a timely kick in the pants. Thanks!

    We met a few years back at the Injury Board conference in Tampa and sat together at dinner and you shared with me the story of how you got into the Internet business, something that I never would have guessed in a million years when we sat down. I know how devoted you were to your son and have wondered how you are doing since his passing. Hope you are doing well ….


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Barry – I do remember you – as well as that place in Tampa that was serving LeBatt Blue as their only Canadian beer choice haha. :) Life is what it is and we’re making do and getting used to the outcomes it sometimes has – I try to remember the good moments, and remind myself wherever he is now, he’s undoubtedly having more of them. :)

  17. Hey Rae,

    I was really sorry to hear about your son. At the time I did not know many of the details you wrote about above. Thanks for your open sharing. It is clearly the result of some very hard and honest self-work on your part. Also a good reminder for many of us to be a lot more grateful for what we have, and what part mindset plays in life.


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Tim – I’ve had a few folks tell me after his passing that they never even realized the ins and outs of his condition. I never wanted to “platform” it so to speak or seem as if what I was saying was “poor me” or “poor him”. In his passing, that’s something I’ve been able to let go of because now it feels like sharing his impact on both myself and the surrounding world is more about honoring his memory. :)

  18. Bryson Meunier says:

    Rae, thanks for sharing. I know your blog in an SEO context, but your story transcends that. I’m sorry for what you and your family have had to go through in life, but it’s clear that you’re a better person because of it. Glad to see others in the comments are taking these lessons to heart.


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Bryson – thank you. I’m also glad to see his existence can continue to have an impact even though his body is now at peace. I’d obviously trade it all for his health, but, I’ve tried hard to take whatever I can from the experience since we had no choice in going through it. :)

  19. Martypants says:

    Thanks for this Rae, and the link to Julien’s awesome post…I needed the reminder today. Cheers again to CJ – appreciate you allowing him to keep inspiring us thru you celebrating him.

  20. Pat Grady says:

    The best article you’ve ever written Rae, and that’s saying a ton.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      LOL… thanks Pat. You know, it always seems like the posts that just “fall out” are those people like the most. This post flew out of me in about 90 minutes time.

  21. Stella Wilson says:

    My life has been too easy! Why?

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      I don’t know that I’d be upset if life has been too easy. ;-) We all have our own challenges and luckily, when the net is used how it was envisioned to be use, many of us can find insight in experiences we didn’t even have to go through on our own – myself included when it comes to other types of challenges I’ve read about. :)

  22. Dear Rae,

    Jenni Field at Pastry Chef Online shared your link, and I was immediately moved by the photo of your son. I did not think at all that he had a disability until I started reading your post. There was such strength, courage and fight in his beautiful eyes. I am so very sorry for your loss, but may he be at rest and in peace in heaven.

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and powerful message.

    God bless,

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thank you Jamie. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t purposely pick pictures to use where his multiple handicaps were not the focus. I’m pretty protective of him and that likely comes out even in the pictures I choose to share. Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on the post. :)

  23. Joe Hall says:

    Big fan of #9! :)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Somehow, that doesn’t surprise me Joe – Lord knows you’ve told the world to “bring it” in your life and have been the victor many times. :)

  24. John Cole says:

    Hi Rae,

    I met you once at my first SMX conference a few years ago. You’d thought I was someone else and gave me an excited HELLO! Then we realized we didn’t know each other. We talked for a minute and then I went on to talk with others. A friend & long-time SEO whispered in my ear, “John, that’s Sugar Rae you were talking to!”. He apparently thought you were a big deal, I thought. I’d recently met a handful of big names SEOs who had treated me like I was invisible, and so I bucketed you into the same category.

    Then I saw this post come up in my Facebook news feed today. A page into reading it, my heart was opened. I felt love and inspiration and got all misty eyed here at the office.

    I’m so proud of the decisions you made for yourself and your family, and I am glad you decided to share what you learned with us. There is great wisdom in each of your learnings Rae. I’m honored to have you as a colleague in the industry and I hope to call you a friend at some point.

    I think now, that perhaps my friend wasn’t saying “You just talked to Sugar Rae” because he was impressed with your success…but perhaps because he had some inkling of the quality of who you really are…and from what I’ve learned from this post…I consider you a wise sage with a heart of love.

    Thanks again for opening up for us all to see. What I see is beautiful.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Dang it – I know I’m horrible with names, but I always try to be good with faces haha. Guess you must have a doppleganger somewhere. :)

      I am however sorry if you ever felt like I was someone who would ever intentionally make someone feel invisible. I actually hate the “rockstar” bullshit. :) But, I definitely get what you’re saying. I met my husband at a conference and he’d shared being made to feel the same at his first ever national conference when he tried to introduce himself to some of the industry’s “known”. Honestly, someone treating me as “Sugarrae” always makes me feel uncomfortable – which causes me to retract – which in turn, I guess, may come across as me being disinterested. In actuality, it’s that those kind of situations make me feel very, very awkward. :)

      Glad to know you’ve now put me in a different “bucket” at any rate. ;-)

      When CJ passed away, one of the biggest commitments I made – to myself and to him – was not to let his memory, impact on the world or his ripple effect fade – thus, the fuel behind these kinds of posts.

  25. Simply amazing and inspiring Rae.

    Reminds me of a favorite quote:

    “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
    ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

  26. Jeff Sliger says:

    Rae, I have to say first that you and your son CJ are both inspiration and courage. The fact that you have shared this so freely is to your great credit. No one could have done it better than you did. Through tragedy you have made triumph. Your attitude is heroic. Thank you for sharing.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Jeff – posting this was actually a living, breathing example of #6. Will people see it as me trying to get “pity” so to speak? Will people get sick of the more personal themed posts as of late? Will people see it as… it doesn’t matter. I know what it was and why I wanted to say it. :) And I’m glad you – and so many others – took away something positive from it.

  27. I’ve avoided reading this for days. Largely because I knew I’d need either a stronger constitution or a box of kleenex. It was a wonderful tribute to a wonderful person. Thank you.

  28. I’m on the verge of giving up online. Thanks for this inspiring post. It’s given me what I needed to remain focused on my goals!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      You’re very welcome Joel. Also, if you’re having a hard time vs. defining quitting vs. knowing it’s time to move on, try reading “The Dip” by Seth Godin – great book for making practical vs. emotional decisions.

  29. Dragan Palla says:

    I admire you courage, firstly to share your tragedy with others and secondly to make the best out of your life no matter how hopeless it was.
    There is a lot to get out of this post and thank you for that.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Dragan, I appreciate the kind words. It definitely did seem hopeless at first, but you soon learn that attitude is half the battle. :)

  30. Where do I begin?? Thanks for sharing your story! I wept with a smile as I read your blog. I have a son with developmental issues and a “wasband” who is absent from his life.

    I am profoundly appreciative for your words of wisdom – and I have seen the proof of the truth in your lessons. I gladly get up everyday with gratitude for the gift of his presence in my life. I am determined to prosper in spite of the lack of financial support of his father. I too have gone on and started a Yoga business that provides a stable community of healthy “family members” and a bit more financial stability.

    It is about attitude, perspective and perseverance! I would love to have a further conversation with you – please email me when you have time!!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Congrats Debbie! So good to hear about other determined parents who have made “it” happen. :)

  31. Tony Davis says:

    I could write a 3,000 word essay on how your story touched my soul. All I can say is THANK YOU! Your story has helped me reevaluate a few areas of my own life.

  32. Arnie Kuenn says:

    Rae – I never knew the whole story. I have read every word of this twice now. IMHO this is an epic blog post. Thank you.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Arnie – well, I’m glad you got to know us a bit better via this post then. Thanks for the compliments, they’re much appreciated.

  33. THANK YOU for writing such an amazingly poignant and honest article! You spoke to my heart and I fully relate with every point you made. My son Jacob passed away in November (age 2) from a rare genetic disease and those who have not suffered such a tremendous loss will never understand what we parents go through, yet you articulated it so well — sort of a survival roadmap. Very inspiring! Such a lucky boy to have you as his momma!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Sarah – I’m sorry for your loss, but happy to see you are keeping his memory active through your blog. It’s definitely a challenge some days, but I wouldn’t give up a single moment we were able to share with him.

  34. Stacy Williams says:

    Wow. Just wow. You are truly amazing.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Stacy – what’s really been amazing to me is all the feedback on this post. Thank you again. :)

  35. Rae,
    Every step of the way, you found the silver lining. That takes a strong person. Thank you for sharing your personal trials and tribulations with us, and showing us that – yes, we can. And if it’s not easy – well, that isn’t failure, it’s just an obstacle.
    YOU are an inspiration.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Neena – some days, finding that silver lining is admittedly hard. And, I’ll also say that some days, you need a day to throw a pity party sometimes – but it needs to be a blip on the overall radar. Thanks much for the compliments on the post. :)

  36. Prashanth says:

    Hi Rae,
    Really amazing and very inspiring. I believe it will surely help many of them. My son has been diagnosed with NPD- type B he is just 3 years and i am also fighting it out with the faith.

    Once again thank you for a wonderful post.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Prashanth – I didn’t know what NPD – type B was, but I just looked it up. I’m sorry that you – and your son – are going through that experience. I was glad to at least see that Type B will hopefully give you many more years with your son. My thoughts are with you guys.

  37. Tony Dimmock says:


    I’ve read and re-read this post countless times and there’s a level of honesty and candidness in this that isn’t and won’t be found elsewhere. Why? Because you’ve lived through the many challenges you’ve faced and fought for everything you’ve achieved, especially when the outside world “attempted” to pull you of your rails.

    It’s now printed and will re-read every day, especially if I think I’m having a “hard” time…

    A quote I heard a long time ago, that epitomizes you and your spirit perfectly : “What doesn’t break you, makes you”…

    Thanks again for sharing Rae

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Tony – glad you enjoyed the post and found it inspiring. In my head, if he can continue to help people reassess and learn, then his memory continues to not only live on, but his ripple effect continues to grow. :)

  38. Melanie Egerton says:

    Hi Rae,

    What an amazing, inspirational post,I’ve printed it off so I’ve always got it to hand when I need a massive kick up my ass cos I’m feeling sorry for poor little me.

    The strength and courage that both you and CJ showed during his life time serve as a lesson to us all.
    You were blessed to have known him, even for such a short time.


    p.s…what beautiful eyes the little dude had.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Melanie – thank you. And yeah, he was a happy kid – he’d often make sweet eyes at waitresses in restaurants and make noises at them that we referred to as the sound of blowing kisses. ;-)

  39. Rae,

    I have known little about you until I read this. I shall also add it didn’t instill a paradigm shift in my perspective. But I assure you, even if its one simple thing that I learnt from this, I shall strive to live by it, to my best knowledge.

    You are awesome lady! salute!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Nivetha – if anyone takes one thing from this post, no matter how small, then it set out to do what I meant for it to do, which is awesome. :)

  40. Thank you for sharing such a personal struggle… it’s an article that I’ll mark to read again whenever I am struggling with my own business goals.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Karen, you’re very welcome. Heck, I think half the reason I wrote it was to have a reminder for myself on tough days as well. ;-)

  41. You are my hero… thank you for sharing your story and your struggles. You are an inspiration to so many people. This article truly brought tears to my eyes. There’s so much BS on the Internet but this is one site I’ll never stop visiting – this just gave me the kick in the ass I need and reminds me that THERE IS NO EXCUSE.

    • Pamela Mukherjee says:

      Thanks Rae for writing this. I was so upset when my boy friend died. I then started seeing at the incident as a lesson. I tried to point out at the things which I learned from the incident and would like to carry on in my life till I die. This article made me stronger. Thanks again.

      • Rae Hoffman says:

        Pamela – you’re very welcome. Just keep your head held high and your eyes on the future. The best thing you can do, in my opinion, to honor someone’s memory is to make the most of every opportunity in your life that is presented to you. :)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Kathleen – thank you – and get it girl! :D

  42. Stephen Hopson says:

    Wow, that was so incredibly powerful. Thanks for sharing.

    You’re right – it doesn’t matter what the fuck other people think. I felt like slapping that woman who loudly said to another person that you shouldn’t have brought your son in. OMG.

    But then again, the woman probably needed more love than your son because she was ignorant. There are a lot of them in this world.

    Love, as your son taught you, is fucking powerful. Thanks for letting me share and curse (which I know will live on in infamy once I click “post comment.”)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Stephen – ha, I felt like slapping her too. ;-) You’re welcome for the post and yep, cursing obviously doesn’t bother me, haha.

  43. Hi,

    I’ve been holding on to a sense of grief for 8+ years since my daughter passed suddenly, from a rare disease, at age 34. She has 4 children, mostly grown now.
    I want you to know 2 things from me about your essay.
    I am so freakin grateful it didn’t end, or refer to an ethereal entity at any time.
    And, you know what(?), You just might have been a catalyst for a leaf turning in my thought processes in my 64th year.

    Thanx Sister

    You Tube/Google Artis the Spoonman, please. I’d love to entertain you.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Artis – I’m sorry for the loss of your sister and I’m sure her kids are amazing tributes to who she was while she was on this earth. As far as an entity – I love that people find different ways to take strength out of a situation. For some, that is faith in whatever entity they believe and I say more power to them. For me, I’m not big on religion – though I was raised Catholic – and faith doesn’t play a large role in my life – thus why it wasn’t mentioned in the post.

  44. Absolutely inspiring. My sister is going through a rough patch in her life right now. Will ask her to read this. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Balaji – you’re very welcome. I hope she finds it in her to push through the tough times and look towards the future. :)

  45. You always share so much and so candidly Rae. Thank you.

  46. Brian Dean says:

    This may be the only blog post I’ve ever read that really stirred my emotions. Thanks for sharing your insights as I’m sure this wasn’t an easy post for you to write. I’m very sorry to hear about your loss.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Brian – you’re very welcome. I think it’s slightly becoming a kind of therapy to me in addition to honoring his memory. Cheers.

  47. Can’t help to shed a tear while reading your post about the loss of your son but that’s the way of life and we must continue on living. You inspired me with this lessons. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  48. Rae…words can’t describe how I feel about your situation. Just as you mentioned in the article, I truly believe that it is these very life experiences that push us to be the best for those that we love.

    “#4 Self education is one of the best ways to empower yourself”

    In this day and age, “schooling” does not teach us anything worth learning. Sure it might get us a nice corporate job, a nice car, nice house….but we sacrifice our freedom. I strongly believe in that line right there and I am glad there are thousands of others who are right there with me in this affiliate community who believe the same.

    Thanks for your inspirational post Rae.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Mike – thank you. And I agree – most of the affiliates I know are self made – even if they did get a formal education, it’s in something completely unrelated to their affiliate career.

  49. Ja Nae Duane says:

    This was an amazing post. I am sorry for your loss and I am grateful to know that your son was such a remarkable young man. Glad I found this. Everyone should read this.

  50. Hi Rae – so glad I saw this post via Erika @ red head writing. I’m making some much needed changes in my life and planning a new business and I really needed to read what you wrote today to remind me that life can be ridiculously difficult at times, but its what I do with it that makes the difference and that I just need to keep going – so thank you!

  51. Kate Luella says:

    wow – I read this and I think – this is me, I need to write and think like this – you are an inspiration for sure, so many challenges, and you always took the lead (eventually), and your beautiful son had a wonderful life, albeit unfairly short, because of you and your family…

    thank you for taking the time to write this to inspire others like me, because it has.

    :) Kate

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Kate – thanks for reading – and digesting. ;-) But he was the inspiration – he just allowed me to be a part of it and now share it. :)

  52. Thank you for writing this, it is touching and inspiring. I’m so sorry for your loss, but thank you for sharing the lessons you’ve learned.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Natasha – it definitely is a loss, but his life will always trump that loss by being such a “win”. :)

  53. Janina Lear says:

    Wow!!! What a brilliant inspiring post from what I see to be a brilliant and inspiring woman. I LOVE these type of stories. My life has not been nearly as hard as yours but I sure have been thrown some challenges and I turned everything around in my 40’s from finally learning these lessons. Go You!!!!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Janina – I’m glad you liked it – now take any inspiration it gave you and rock it! :D

  54. Judy Waldron says:

    Wow. This story is so powerful! You are an inspiration to me… love your attitude, and love your honesty! I am so sorry for your loss and appreciate you sharing so openly all of what you have learned from your experiences with your son. He looks like such a sweetie!

    Btw.. I found you today after doing a search for “how does merchant circle work” and came across your blog. I was so impressed with your attitude and honesty- I just had to check out your website and it led me here. I am so inspired by your story… thanks again for sharing!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Glad you were able to get some info on MC – I’m (obviously) not a fan, LOL. And glad you got something out of this post!

  55. A lovely blog, I am so sorry for your loss. It is fascinating to think about who comes into your life to teach you lessons and how they arrive in your life at the perfect moments.

  56. Joseph Ratliff says:


    I had read this post before, and the story touched me for sure.

    But, somehow, while adding new RSS feeds to my new feed reader today, I came across it again… and I reflected on the times where I thought about giving up, where I thought I had “big problems” to deal with because of what was going on… and then I read this and go reminded:

    It’s all small shit.

  57. Tim Boyle says:

    Thank You From some one who has been kicked in the Balls more than once. Stick to the Fight when your hardest Hit.It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit. One of my Favorite Poems by Edgar Guest

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Tim – in reality, I needed to be reminded of the sentiment of this post today and your comment brought me back to it. :)

  58. Like son, like mother … your article will have a ripple effect. I just shared it with my loved ones as it is more meaningful and insightful than all the books and articles I’ve read on positive thinking, taking action, empowerment, etc.

    Rae, as a loving dad with a child on the autism spectrum, I realize that I’m letting the condition immobilize me, leading to such profound sadness and incessant worry about the future. While I try to be his strongest advocate, I’m also so hurt and disillusioned by the callousness, mean-spiritedness, and indifference of others.

    I now must admit that it’s not autism which has been my ‘Achilles heel’ but my defeatist attitude and predilection for self-pity.

    My son, too, is my biggest hero – smiling so much of the time in the face of adversity. He is so happy and it’s time for me to IMPLEMENT the lessons he is teaching me.

    I am SO SORRY for the loss of your beautiful son – but you’re blessed with the intelligence and perception to have gained so much wisdom and insight from CJ. Your post has touched and inspired me, and I only hope to follow in your footsteps — refusing to give in to my habitual feelings of hopelessness and despair, and take construction action and make a positive difference in my life and others.

    I hope you don’t mind the hug I’m giving you.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Andy, thanks so much for the kind words and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Also, I wanted to mention – I haven’t come out with this publicly yet (though I plan to here soon) – but my two year old son (my fourth child) was just diagnosed with ASD two weeks ago. Turns out not only did CJ teach me lessons that I’ve been able to apply in life and business – and have a ripple effect on the general world – but he gave his Mama a Master’s degree in having a special needs child so that his little brother could benefit from it in the future. Life has a funny way of working.

  59. Hi Rae,

    I’m not sure if the expression, “We don’t pick our parents,” (or children) is really true. Both your 2-year-old and you have so many lessons to share with one another, and ultimately, with the outside world. I feel honored that you shared that information with me.

    Rae, I will say that the autism community is generally a very supportive and compassionate one. You have my email address (hence, phone number) if I can be of any assistance. You actually have a PhD in raising a special needs child. Our children are truly our best teachers and CJ was a master teacher!

  60. Rae, I am so very sorry for your loss. No parent should have to bury a child. You’ll be in my prayers.

  61. Brett Wallace says:

    Rae, I’m very sorry for your loss. Your post tugged at my heart and inspired me greatly. I’m grateful to what you and CJ have shared with us. The lesson that resonated the most with me was the ability to be flexible to find happiness in the new alternate reality. Thanks again Rae.

  62. Hi Rae,

    This was a great read. Thank you so much for posting it. Very inspirational and timely (for me at least!)

  63. Laura Chattington - RebalancedLiving.com says:

    Every single point you make is 1000% true, eye watering, heart breaking, touching and motivating… you have been through an amazing time and this is such a fantastic way you have articulated your experience… thank you soooo much.

    Complain or act… just the most truth and said from someone who has a big right to sit and complain like you say.

    Your post is an inspiration … just wanted to say thanks

  64. Marcus Taylor says:

    Amazing story, Rae! Every point very true. As they say in China, “Character isn’t made out of sunshine and roses, like steel, it’s forged in fire and between the hammer and anvil” :)

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