As I walked off my flight on the morning of writing this, I was hit with the distinctive smell of my Grandma Inez. It was powerful, and I was surprised by the tears that immediately began flowing as I deeply inhaled this beautiful scent. Her smell followed me into the terminal, and I was engulfed in a feeling of overwhelming love for her. I immediately texted my dad, her son, and tried to explain what was happening. As I was about to hit send, my dad called me. I answered, and at this point I’m a blubbering mess, and I told him everything I was experiencing, feeling and how much I loved her. My dad listened intently, paused for several seconds and then gently said, “Amber, your grandma passed away this morning…” Well, then I really lost it.

My 97-year-old grandma came to me on the morning her soul was released from her very aged body to share a message. She wanted me to know that her connection and love for me, for my dad, for our entire family was as powerful in death as it was in her final years of life. She was finally free from the confinement of the body, and able to share her love freely and without constraint. What a gift.

I read a hilarious quote recently that said, “I’m at that awkward stage between birth and death.” It’s funny because it’s true. Awkwardness, insecurity, not knowing what comes next—it’s all part of our human experience that we intellectually know will come to an end eventually. Might as well make the most of the awkwardness and experience as much intense love, connection, energy and fun as we can while we can. Thanks for that reminder, Gram.

Speaking of awkward, let’s talk about sex! This month’s issue highlights an important and vital part of our human experience, which unfortunately isn’t always given the importance or health implications that it deserves: Sexual and libido health. You will find local articles, natural therapies, products and services in this issue that are meant to pique your interest and curiosity around your own sexual health. Is there anything missing? Are you afraid to talk with your doctor about it? Dr. Jacob Deakins of Inland Wellness & Vitality has dedicated his medical career to assisting patients, both men and women, with natural approaches to sexual health. Check out his article on why sex matters to overall health. You will also find spotlights and testimonials on groundbreaking therapies his clinic offers to help couples improve the spark in their lives, as well as the intimacy they experience.

Our product spotlight this month highlights Defiant Coffee, offering libido and stamina-enhancing cordyceps in its Mushroom Blend of organic coffee. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?

And finally, do not miss out on the 2018 Natural Awakenings Holiday Gift Guide featuring local businesses and advertisers and their recommended gifts for your loved ones.

May your November be filled with a little less awkward and a lot more gratefulness and love. My sweet Grandma Inez reminded me of our eternal connection by engulfing me in her amazing aroma. Wherever you spend your holidays this year, be sure to savor the experience with all your senses. Breathe in the smells of those loved ones closest to your heart, delight in the distinct sounds of their laughter, really embrace their cozy hugs—and be reminded of your beautiful, powerful connections to one another.

With love and thanks,

Amber