Maria Teresa De Donato, Ph.D.
Traditional Naturopath, Homeopath, Life Strategist, Author
Miss Me but Let Me Go
Interview with Michelle Huffman
Woman, Mother, Wife, Author
In Loving Memory of
DUSTIN MARSHALL HUFFMAN
(August 21st, 1991 - June 30th, 2009)
No matter what our belief system tells us, death – of whatever kind and at whatever age – is something truly hard to deal with, with this being an understatement. Losing someone you love is simply devastating, but seeing your child go not only before you but at such a young age must be excruciating.
I can only sympathize and, with a broken heart, admit that as an individual and as a holistic practitioner I can understand why and how some of those who go through such terrible experiences might have the desire to go numb in order not to deal with the consequent emotional, mental and physical pain that such an event might bring into their lives.
Today I have the great honor to interview Michelle Huffman, an amazing woman, wife, mother and author who personally experienced all the above and eventually turned a tragedy into an opportunity to do something positive and uplifting that has not only been helping her in her recovery but also many people along the way.
T: Michelle, Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for taking the time for this interview.
M: Thank you for having me. It is an honor to be here.
T: Michelle, your son Dustin was only seventeen, a beautiful young man, larger than life and with a quite promising future ahead…
Why don’t we start with you describing him as a mother? His likes and dislikes, his school’s, job’s and sport’s accomplishments, his friendships, roles models, and whatever still relevant that comes to your mind?
M: Dustin was a very kind and compassionate individual with a charisma that would light up a room. He loved his family and friends very much and was always there to help anyone in need. He was an above average student but not an academic by any means, even though he had the ability to be so. He did not like studying but he loved running Track and had to keep his grades up to be able to participate.
His efforts paid off when he won a gold medal at the State Championship finals on June 6, 2009. The commentators went crazy when he blasted from fourth to first place in the straightaway and many college scouts wanted to know who this kid was. The coach proudly informed them that he was only a Junior and they’d have to come back the next year.
Dustin also had an amazing work ethic. He started his first job as a paper boy at the age of eleven and by the time he was seventeen he had worked as a busser in a restaurant, in a meat market, as a farm hand, and as a laborer for a tree company. One of his employers told me that he was not only a good worker; he was the best worker he’d ever had. He worked as hard and fast as he could to complete a task and then immediately asked what he could do next.
And while he was a standout athlete and an excellent worker, his most admirable attribute was his willingness to help others. He did not like bullies and was known to defend anyone getting picked on. A number of such stories have been shared with me that will be included in my next book, HUFFMAN LEGEND: RUN FAST.
T: What an amazing young man! We will be looking forward to knowing him better through your next book then. Michelle, I wish our interview to be as helpful as it can be for all of us and for our readers and as healing as possible for your family and for all those who might have gone through similar traumatic experiences…Sometimes it’s very difficult – or almost impossible – for us to make sense of things (at least this has been in so many cases my personal experience) and when emotions run high we can lose control over our own lives due to the overwhelming pain and sorrow that we feel… In those circumstances, “Tranquilizers and tequila [might] become a way of life…”
Based on your own experience what would be in this case your best suggestion in order not to fall into such a trap which doesn’t help at all with the situation but rather disrupt our life to a much greater extent?
M: It is all too easy to drown your sorrows with alcohol or numb your brain with drugs because the grief can be so overwhelming, but it can make life even harder. I spent most of my time in bed and didn’t accomplish anything positive.
It would have been more conducive to healing if I had read books on grief and attended bereavement groups. But what ended up helping me more than anything was meditation and prayer.
T: When we reach bottom, life seems to fade away, to become useless … and no matter how hard people try to help us we might just shut down and refuse all “logical” and “rational” explanations… however well intended…
This was also your case… How and when were you able to finally make a U-turn and start to “come back home” so to speak? And can a broken heart be really fixed – as you mentioned in your work?
M: I was so heartbroken that life had no meaning and I just wanted it to end. Help from family and friends was rejected because there was nothing they could do that was going to bring my Dustin back.
Then one day Eden, who was a friend of Dustin’s, called me to say she had a message from him. She had talked to a psychic who told her that it made him sad to see me cry all the time because it made him feel like he broke me and that he was sending the Orbs to let me know he was okay.
This was the turning point for me because I had never considered that my behavior would be making him sad in the afterlife and that was just unacceptable. I decided right then and there that I was going to start living my life in such a way that would make him proud of me.
And while a broken heart can heal in time, there will forever be a scar. A wound that deep often times leads to a chronic pain that lasts forever. It might ease up in severity, but it never truly goes away. You just have to get used to it.
T: How and to what extent switching from medication to meditation helped you? Could you, please, elaborate?
M: Switching from medication to meditation changed my life. The medication wreaked havoc on my brain chemicals sending me on a perpetual roller coaster ride. It only provided temporary relief. The highs from taking the meds were followed by lows when it was leaving my system, leaving me with the need to take more. It was a vicious cycle.
Meditation reduced my stress, improved my concentration, and increased my self-awareness, happiness and acceptance to name a few. It provides you with a sense of well-being without any adverse side effects.
I could not sleep without taking a tranquilizer before bed because I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming from nightmares. From the very first time I did a guided meditation to go to sleep, I never needed another tranquilizer again. Guided meditations by Glenn Harrold are part of my nightly routine now. They guide me into a wonderful deep sleep and I wake up every morning feeling happy, refreshed, and ready to go.
My husband says meditation has made me a kinder and more gentle person. The Dali Lama says that if every eight years old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence in one generation.
T: I fully agree with this statement and with the benefits that meditation can bring to our health, wellness and to our life in general. The older I grow, the more I realize that nothing – or almost nothing – happens by chance. Everything has a purpose… Everything happens for a reason, to teach us something…, to prepare us for something bigger.
When we become fully aware of this dynamics, we might reach a higher lever of consciousness and understanding, and start seeing all that happens to us and around us as pieces of a bigger puzzle, each trying to figure out a way to find its correct position. And as you beautifully state in your book Huffman Legend: Miss Me but Let Me Go we begin to understand what synchronicity is really about, that is, “Synchronicity happens when you align with the flow of the universe, rather than insisting the universe flow your way.” Let’s talk about how your book came into being and explain to our readers this concept of synchronicity, would you?
M: I originally started to write the story about Dustin’s life, but it was much too emotional for me. Then my husband and I started receiving signs. Lots of them.
I was so excited and passionate about the signs from Dustin that I would tell anyone who would listen to me. One gentleman with whom I shared my story with commented, “You know there is a book there.” And that is when I started writing MISS ME BUT LET ME GO.
I’ve learned that there are no coincidences. Everything does happen for a reason. I was supposed to tell my story to someone who, in turn, would suggest I write a book about the signs I received after Dustin’s death so that I could heal and finish writing the story about his life.
According to the Akashic Records, Synchronicity happens when you align with the flow of the universe, rather than insisting the universe flow your way.” I find that life is much easier when I let the universe guide me and go with the flow.
A perfect example of this is when a friend of mine suggested I become a substitute teacher. I told her I would think about it but I never took the steps necessary to pursue it. A few months later a book called APPLES AND CHALK DUST appeared on the table in my enclosed porch. This was odd because I’m a lot OCD [Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder] in that everything is in its place. My husband did not know where it came from either and since it was just the two of us and we rarely got company, it was as if it had materialized out of thin air.
I randomly opened the book to read about a new teacher who was very nervous about her first day. The other teachers and kids welcomed her, and she realized that she was where she was supposed to be. It was then that I remembered my friend’s advice and thought the book might be a sign that I was supposed to become a substitute teacher.
It wasn’t long before I had my first assignments and I spent a week teaching at an elementary school. As I was leaving on Friday, I was notified through my Jobulator app of an opening at the high school. There was no way I was ready for that. I was most comfortable with the little ones. I closed the app and went home.
Later that evening I tried to open the Jobulator app but I could not log on. My User ID was my phone number and the password was the same as the passcode I use for my phone, so it should have been easy, right. Well, I finally had to do a reset. When I checked my email, I was shocked to find that my User ID had been changed to the phone number for The Dustin Huffman Memorial Scholarship! And, somehow, I had been assigned the high school class!!!
I changed the phone number back to mine and while I could have called and canceled the assignment, I chose not to. It worked out just fine and I was pretty sure the Universe was trying to guide me. Or maybe it was Dustin saying, “Come on Mom. You’ve got this!”
T: I am sure that it must have been an amazing experience for you and I am very glad to hear you got the chance and you took it.
An important aspect that you mention in your book and that I would really like to share with our readers relates to the concept of “intuition”, or “sixth sense” as we might also call it. Some of us have very developed intuitive abilities… - someone might even use the term “paranormal” for them for that matter - that allow us to “feel” things before they manifest… . In some occasions we may feel a sense of danger, related to persons or circumstances, of evil, or anything else in between… And yet no matter how much we try to explain it to people… most of them will simply not understand us, let alone believe us… since to them our attitude will appear almost as irrational…, nonsense…
Would you like, based on your own experience, to say a few words about this topic that might help our readers to possibly take into account that in some cases it might be wise to listen to “our heart”, that little deep inner voice that speaks to us even if it is through somebody else?
M: Intuition, as defined by Wikipedia, is “the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired.”
For me, it is exactly that and so much more. It is a gift. It is that inner voice that guides me. It has kept me from harm’s way on many occasions. It has also signaled me of impending doom when there was nothing I could do about it.
I tried to stop Dustin from taking the job at the tree company. In fact, I discouraged the friendship between him and the boy that got him the job when they were in sixth grade. He was a very nice kid, but something didn’t feel right.
Just three days before the accident I ended up in the hospital when my blood pressure plummeted to 48/35 for no apparent reason. I told the doctor at my follow-up appointment that I thought it was a premonition. To my surprise, he responded by telling me that I might very well be right.
T: And both of you were most likely right…No matter what each one of us might believe in when it comes to death and to the concept of “soul” and/or “spirit”… the faith that we have might be of great support in time of need. Would you like to share with us your personal experience about what you interpreted as “signs”… and that really helped you to first learn how to cope with the loss of your son and then even inspired you to move forward in a more constructive way?
M: It had not been very long since I had lost my Dustin when I was sobbing hysterically and screamed out his name. Immediately afterwards, I smelled his cologne. I was stunned into silence and could not fully comprehend what just happened. I later came to understand that this was an example of a spirit scent.
It was almost a year after the accident that we were on our way to the high school to get Dustin’s honorary diploma when my husband’s cell phone rang. It was incoming call from an unknown number and Dustin’s picture popped up on the screen. It only rang once, and no one was there. There was no logical explanation how this happened since specific phone numbers have to be tagged with a photo for them to come up, but we still were not sure that it wasn’t just an electrical malfunction. We know now that he was with us.
We also noticed unusual glowing balls of light in some of the photographs posted on Facebook by Dustin’s friends. At first, we assumed the signs to be photographic anomalies but after talking to Eden we weren’t so sure. Could these be the Orbs that were referred to in Dustin’s message? After much controversy about them we finally got a picture on what would have been Dustin’s 19th birthday. I was sure if I had a party for him that he would come and sure enough we got a picture of an orb with Dustin’s face next to it.
These are just a few of the many signs my husband and I have been so blessed to receive. Dustin has been relentless in letting us know that he is okay and that he will always be there for us when we need him.
T: Is there anything else you would like to say to your children, husband, relatives and close friends that so far has been left unsaid… and that might help to speed up the healing process and allow all of you to get even closer to each other than before?
M: It is perfectly normal to grieve but do not let the grief consume you. Lying in bed for over a year was unproductive and selfish. The sorrier I felt for myself, the worse it was. It wasn’t fair to anyone.
What does help is helping others. For example, holidays are hard. My Christmas always revolved around my beautiful boy, Dustin. The first Christmas without him was unbearable. Then one day, I saw a post on Facebook by my neighbor, who is also the city councilperson for our ward. She was looking for people to provide a Christmas for kids that would otherwise not have one.
I didn’t hesitate to volunteer, and this was the second year that I participated in the program. All I knew about the kids was their age, sizes and interests. I bought them a warm winter coat, hat, gloves and clothes. And, of course, toys. Lots of toys.
I did not know these children and did not get to see them open their presents, but I do know that they were grinning from ear to ear when they did. And that’s exactly what my Dustin would have wanted.
Honor your loved ones by making someone in need happy. Helping others is good for the soul.
T: You are absolutely correct. This has also been my personal experience. I have been volunteering for more than 30 years and I can’t but agree with you in saying that there is nothing more rewarding than helping those in need with all our hearts and in making them happy however we can, and I invite all the readers to look for such opportunities. Their life will change forever. Thanks for sharing your experience in this regard.
Michelle, How can our readers benefit from reading your book Huffman Legend: Miss Me but Let Me Go and why we may want to encourage them to buy it?
M: To be truthful with you, I thought I wrote my book because I wanted to tell everyone how amazing my son was and about all the incredible signs he sent from the afterlife. What I really did was write a book that could give hope to the grieving and inspire others to honor their loved ones by living a happy and honorable life.
T: I am sure that our readers are going to appreciate your honesty as well as your advices and suggestions.
Michelle, It has been truly a pleasure having you as a guest on my blog, and I wish you the greatest success as a woman, mother, wife and as author.
M: It has been a pleasure being here. Thank you for having me. I love sharing my story and I hope it helps inspire all our readers who might be having a difficult time with loss.
T: What if some of our readers would like to get in touch with you or even buy your book, how can they do so?
M: HUFFMAN LEGEND: MISS ME BUT LET ME GO can be purchased at:
Readers can also visit https://www.HuffmanLegend.com to see full color photos referenced in the book. All those who wish to do so can contact me at Michelle@MichelleHuffman.net. I would love to hear their story.
T: Thank you again, Michelle, for taking part to this interview and to share your experience. With all my heart, I wish the best to you and to your family. May all of you find a way to heal your emotional, mental, and spiritual wounds in the best and fastest possible way and still keep enjoying life as I am sure Dustin would have wished for you all to.
M: To the readers I would like to say: Be open to the signs and know that your loved ones on the other side are waiting for you. Until then-Live your life♥️
DISCLAIMER: The above content is for educational purpose only and not intended as a medical advice. Whatever your circumstances, consult with your physician first.
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