When my mom passed away, I retreated from Los Angeles and took shelter in a tiny town in the midwest. I raised baby ducks and chickens and tried to figure out how to live without the one person who had loved me forever.

I’d been through tough times before and I’d always responded with hope, perseverance, and grace. This time was different. I felt too wounded, as though I would never be whole again.

I couldn’t fathom how I’d ever be able to inspire or support anyone again. I was ready to walk away from a career I’d spent more than a decade building.

I told the universe that if I was supposed to continue my work, I needed a sign, one I could understand and not dismiss with rationalizations. (I have a law degree – I’m a professional problem finder).

That week, I received several calls from Bill Clinton’s staff. I thought it was a mistake, a bizarre error or prank. When I finally returned the calls, I learned that they wanted to share my life’s story at the DNC. I was incredulous and tried to talk them out of it. They were serious.

I kept expecting someone to say, “Oh hey, we made a mistake. Sorry to have bothered you. We thought you were someone else. So sorry!”

It was surreal.

In the middle of it all, President Clinton wrote me the letters below.

When I read them and saw “Help us make more like you,” I felt my whole body fill with energy. I recognized that It was the answer I’d asked for and it came in a way that I couldn’t dismiss.

Today, I am so grateful for that wild series of still almost too bizarre to believe events. I can’t imagine living a life without the clients, audiences, and work I am privileged to serve.

I’m still awestruck by it all.

Cynthia Occelli Bill Clinton


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