Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
Iyanla says two life events helped her begin the healing process. First, she was asked to be on a television series called Starting Over, which pairs women experiencing difficulties with life coaches. "Michael Beckwith told me that when you're in grief like that, just do something in the name of that other person," Iyanla says. "Gemmia had dedicated the last 12 years of her life to working with me and working with women. So I knew I'm going to do Starting Over in Gemmia's name."
The second life-changing event happened in the produce aisle of a grocery store. Iyanla calls this her "broccoli breakdown." "Gemmia's favorite vegetable was broccoli. ... I walked into the supermarket, saw the broccoli and I literally had a psychotic break," she says. "I laid on the broccoli and just began to weep."
Iyanla says a produce manager rushed over and asked if she was hurt. "[I responded,] 'Yes, I'm hurt all over my body,'" she says. "When I was finished, I got up, picked those [broccoli] spurs out my nose and walked right out the store."