My dear friend Jeannette passed away this weekend. I am so incredibly heartbroken. She was this vibrant firecracker who ran a youtube craft channel and listened to Pit Bull, not necessarily two things you would put together. I liked that about her! I will miss her hearty laugh! I am not a crafter but I am so glad I will be able to head to youtube to hear her voice when I am missing her! We met a decade ago. We bonded over a shared connection and love of California and our now 15 year olds who happened to be in kindergarten together. She really endeared herself to me when, after learning of my dad’s death, she grabbed me at a school open house and embraced me while I wept. We barely knew each other at the time. Very few friends understood the depth of the loss I was experiencing but she did. She has been in tremendous pain for a long time as she fought cancer. I am so thankful that she is now pain free but so sad for those of us who loved her. I am forever grateful that in spite of her pain, we were able to spend a little time together while we were visiting Atlanta, Georgia earlier this year. We messaged about a week ago. She knew I loved her! While my heart aches tonight, I am thankful for our last words.
Death has had a constant presence in our family’s life over the past 15 years. In the past year alone, I have lost two close friends and a beloved aunt. However, if it weren’t for all the losses we have sustained I’m not sure we would be on this Australian adventure. Several friends have commented on how brave we are to pick up and do this. While I would say courage is somewhat necessary, I would also say our experience with loss and death pushes us just as much. One of my favorite poets is Mary Oliver and this line from her poem The Summer Day says it well.
What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? It has been the asking of this question that led us on this adventure! When you have been talking about doing something for years, do you pursue it? When you hear the whispers of your soul do you listen? We did and wherever this adventure takes us, boy are we glad we did!
I am leaving this week for a month long yoga intensive. As I have struggled to regain my strength from the burns I sustained in April, I have second guessed my doing this intensive. I am so used to being healthy, I really haven’t been prepared for how compromised my wrists were from the burns until I started bumping up my practice. I am having to modify so much of my practice that I have thought I made a mistake in applying to go but then I think of my friend Jeannette and the excruciating pain she has been in and how she spent her time doing something she loved in spite of it. Our time here on earth is limited and it is precious and while life is full of mundane things we must do, there is that portion of our time where we choose what we can do with our precious life. What are you choosing to do with your one wild and precious life? What do you dream of doing? I really want to know!
Here is the entirety of the poem:
The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
As always, thank you for taking the time to read our blog and come along on this adventure with us! I love you Jeannette! Thank you for being my friend! I hold you in my heart always!