Happy 10 Year Anniversary, friends!
I’m guessing many of you are wondering what 10 year anniversary we’re celebrating, and what it has to do with a secret identity.
If you’re new around here, you may not know how Berta Lippert.com came about. It wasn’t created by some narcissist who felt she needed a website named after herself. It wasn’t from someone seeking fame. And it wasn’t from someone looking to make money. It came about from a person in pain that was keeping a secret.
My name is Berta, and this is my story.
In 2010, I lost my mother to breast cancer. My whole world changed in that moment kneeling beside her bed holding on to her hand while she took her last breath. It was just after 6:30am on March 20, 2010.
I can vividly recall leaving the hospital after she died. I stood outside the hospital doors trying to make my way across the street as people on their morning commute rushed by me. I was so confused how the world so callously carried on without my mother now in it. The world was operating just as it always had, but mine was completely turned upside down.
I had no idea at the time just how much pain and loss still lay ahead for my family. A few years after my mom died, my sister passed away from lung disease. A few months after my sister died, my brother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It took his life a year later. A few months following his death, I noticed changes in my father that turned out to be earlier stages of Alzheimer’s. A very long and painful journey followed. My father passed away from Alzheimer’s just after Christmas last year.
Before my mother’s death, I was the strongest person I knew. After she died, that was no longer the case. I wasn’t comfortable, or more likely, didn’t know how not to be that same strong person in front of all who knew me. Looking back, I was still strong, but the grief was stronger. And it was destructive. I needed an outlet. So I started writing. And I started a blog.
While the blog itself was public, no one in my real life knew I had it, and I kept my identity a secret on the blog itself. I shared no photos of myself, and I only went by B.
I wrote about my mom, grief, and my struggle with it. I never thought anyone would ever really read it. But they did. And they wrote back. They thanked me for sharing my story and so beautifully shared their own. Many of you seeing this are one of them, and I will forever be grateful for you.
While deciding to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy due to my genetic risk, I searched the internet with so many questions. While I found a couple of great resources, I didn’t find a lot of personal stories for women who found themselves in the same situation I did, so I decided to share mine in the hopes that I could help others.
I shared incredibly intimate details of my procedure. My blog began to grow. I was reaching more and more women who were seeking the same information I was just a few months prior. I spent countless hours corresponding with them, and helping every chance I could. But remember, no one knew who I was. They only knew me by, B.
One night I received an email from the husband of a woman diagnosed with cancer about to undergo a mastectomy herself. He wrote to thank me for sharing my journey as he felt more prepared to help her because of it. I started to truly see how much I was helping people and just how many more I might be able to if I could do this in a more official capacity. If I could be brave enough to share my identity with the world, I just might be able to help make it a better place for the people in it.
So in August of 2013, I decided to go public with my identity and make some changes professionally. I already had my undergraduate and Masters degrees, but went back to study at Mayo Clinic and even made history in the medical field becoming one of the first Board-Certified Health & Wellness coaches in the nation.
I’m also a teacher & have been for decades. I taught for the American Red Cross while attending college, and landed a job teaching health & safety in the semiconductor industry right out of grad school at 23 years old. I love teaching. And I love coaching. I love using my strengths to help people live happy and healthy lives, full of purpose and meaning. That’s not just my tagline. It’s truly my purpose and my mission. I love sharing all I know to make a difference in this world.
So on this 10 year anniversary of me sharing my identity I once hid with the world, I want to thank you. Thank you for letting me share my story with you, for you sharing yours with me, and for being a part of this wonderful community we’ve created, Destination Angel.
I most sincerely thank you for letting me be a part of your journey to health, happiness, purpose and meaning.