Monthly Archives: February 2010

“If Only” Can Stop You from Living Your Life Fully

Dear Jodi,

I’ve been thinking a lot about these words – “if only.”  It seems like this phrase is being said all the time.  I’ve noticed it when talking with clients and friends.  “I’d be happier if only . . .”

And the problem?  I’ve been saying these words, too.   How can I possibly be living life fully – “if only” proceeds my intentions?   What’s really stopping me from appreciating life’s grandeur?

I started thinking about the weekend before your first surgery.  You were playing in Penn’s 2nd Annual West Philly Shoot-Out.  I remember how happy you were when Lawrenceville called asking you to be on their team.  What was more imaginable?  Being on the team of your high school arch rival or playing in a collegiate waterpolo tournament after four months of chemo?   You were defying the odds and shaking up PENN Medicine!

Then in August, you decided to pack this photo with your things for Michigan.  I remember our conversation and the paradox of this photo.  You were starting a new – and this photo held vivid memories of being a cancer patient including all its physical changes.  But you appreciated life’s gift in this photo. You told me why you were taking this photo.  You said, “when life seems impossible, I’ll be reminded that anything is possible.” 

And never did these words “if only” stop you from living your life fully.  I believe it’s time for me to do so too.

Love,

Mom   

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Everything in Life Has Purpose

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.    
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Dear Jodi,

All I wanted was for this diagnosis to be mine not yours.  I was determined to run every step of this race with you.   And yet all I could give you were gifts of  hope, faith, and love.  

Remember how we challenged our coping skills and you discovered new adventures with art lessons, jewelry beading, coaching water polo, teaching swimming lessons, reading,  journal writing, and new workouts of pilates and yoga?

Our days were spent enriching our relationships with each other and those whom we met within the depths of the PENN healthcare system.  We had found beauty in living simplistically while a cold harsh breath of death awaited our future steps. 

We were in touch with our own silence.   And somehow we knew the truth – everything in life has purpose. 

Love,

Mom

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What Do You Love Most?

Dear Jodi,

This morning, I was out for a winter run with Fast Tracks.  Of course my enjoyment truly comes more from the connections you share with other runners than a 10 mile loop. 

Today was different.  Upon the finish, a marathon mom asked me a question – no one has ever asked before.  She asked me, “what is the very one thing you love most about her?”   “The very one  . . .”

A question so powerful that it took my breath away.  Our tearful eyes met and our hearts connected as mothers who love their children.  

And I said, “why it’s Jodi’s vibrant spirit.  That’s the one thing –  I love and miss very much.” 

I love  . . .  your smile, laughter, curiosity, athleticism, smarts, beauty, attitude, confidence, generosity, creativity, strength, work ethic, kindness, energy, guts, determination, style, compassion for others and courage.  I love your passion for life.  And your love for your brother, family and friends. 

But what I truly love is . . .  

I love that you’re my daughter!   

Love,

Mom

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A Love Letter from Jodi

On this Valentine’s weekend, I want to share a gift from Jodi.  This gift of love was given to me – Christmas, 2004.  It’s a treasure for many reasons because there is only Love.

And in this last month of Jodi’s life, we refused to take anyone or anything for granted.  We redesigned our plans, crawled into bed together, laughed, hugged and even cried.  Because there was only LOVE . . . and that is the life Jodi lived.  

Love is patient, Love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

  

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What Should I Do Next?

 

Dear Jodi,

It’s a snowy blizzard today.  There is beauty in snow-covered trees, winter silence, walks in the snow and warming up by the fire.

But, today is different – there is no immediate end for this storm.  And so during many hours of shoveling snow, I was thinking “what matters most to Jodi?”

You taught me what matters most  (in spite of the storm) – do the things you can do. 

Is it possible to accept our path through life?  Can I share our path with others and acknowledge beauty in the storm?  The answer does not lie with should, could or would but rather . . .

What can I do next? 

Love,

Mom

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So Many of Our Dreams at First Seem Impossible

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
— Christopher Reeve

 

   
“Reflections on a new life” – took on a new meaning during  fall 2004, with two more spinal surgeries to remove a recurrence.  Both Jodi and Christopher Reeve did not allow a spinal cord  injury to paralyze their vibrant spirit to live, instead they summoned hope in motion.  Jodi loved this quote and it soon became another mantra to live fully.

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Celebrate Life Like You’re Five!


“Happy Birthday Lauren!”

Have you ever thought about the many gifts you receive in a day?  It occurred to me that we all have so much to celebrate.  But, why do we dismiss the opportunities for celebration?

Today is my niece Lauren’s fifth birthday.  So last night, we celebrated with a visit and brought Lauren a special  treat – delicious chocolate cupcakes with her favorite blue icing from the Saint Peters Bakery.    Lauren made sure to first savor every bite of chocolate cake and then enjoy the icing with every lick.   We laughed as she kissed her parents with her blue icing lips – smearing them with sugary giggles of celebration.  

Six days after Jodi died Lauren arrived.  She has told  me that Jodi is her guardian angel who watches and protects her.   I thank her for the thought.  But, most of all Lauren invites my soul to celebrate the gifts to live, love and laugh again.   A present worth celebrating!

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