I don’t think Jodi knew how she would impact the lives of her family, friends, teachers, coaches and even casual acquaintances. As her mother, I’m fascinated in the relationship of her life’s impact on those who knew Jodi.
I have an idea, that if I am willing to spend time with a variety of people who knew Jodi maybe in the peeling of layers, her life will be revealed through ordinary moments as an individual who lives extraordinarily in the lives of others.
So for starters, I began re-reading a small stack of sympathy cards – all of which have been stored in a closet these past five years. It was in the late evening, I discovered a note written by a neighbor – our children lived quietly ordinary lives but Jodi’s death has revealed the extraordinary as they knew Jodi.
I truly believe that a person is “measured” in life not by the accomplishments they have in ordinary life but in how they handle themselves in adversity.
Jodi was a true “hero” in her leadership, optimism and determination!
She loved life and because of her enthusiasm – she was in turn loved by many – and they as we are, honored to have known her.
* “Lemonade Sale only $1 glass” — August, 1995.
* If you knew Jodi, please share how your ordinary relationship transformed to become extraordinary. Leave a comment or just email me at peg.calvario [at] gmail[.com]
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” — Lao Tzu
I found this quote on The Happiness Project blog. It made me think of Jodi. I’m sure many would describe Jodi as a fierce competitor with a mindset of relentless determination and discipline.
Although her athletic and academic achievements were the results of her competitive spirit – she truly was more content to simply be herself. She believed that athletic records (including marshmallow mouth stuffing contests) and even medical statistics were meant to be broken – even if the odds were not in her favor.
It was July, 2003 – only a few days after her biopsy and we were awaiting the results. This one summer evening, Jodi was surrounded at home by a group of classmates – all who loved her and their friendship. I can remember these friends looking at her with signs of vast disbelief. They revered her as an athletic competitor who trumped the impossible game scoring buzzer goals and out swam to win by hundreds of a second races – all for her Hill team!
It was on that night when Jodi told me, “I’m not afraid if it’s cancer.” I knew then that she chose not to compare herself nor compete with the good fortunes of her friends. She wanted to use cancer as a conduit for opportunity. To “be Jodi” meant to help others who secretly wanted and needed more in their life than the jewels she contentedly had.
What about you – are you comparing and competing with others? Or are you content to simply be yourself?
As your mother, I could consider my daughter as someone who could be defined by her extraordinary impact. Perhaps time is allowing me to experience your presence like endless ripples in water – through the lives of so many people.
Just tonight, I was reminded again of “Jodi being Jodi.” I was chatting with Carter about her new plans. She repeatedly spoke about the times she’d visit with you in the hospital. Remember, when she was going to the career counselor and she’d spend more time with us exploring her possibilities?
Well something was different tonight …. Carter said, you told her to “follow her passion.” And so, she is with a new perspective. Although these decisions will experience change for her and her family, she is willing to undergo it – with fierce commitment and passion! (Nothing less would not be Carter. . .)
I remember the early days of Carter – you were impressed by her achievements and athletic accomplishments. She was your Hill dorm parent and teacher – actually very ordinary roles at the time. A relationship that deeply grew into a loving friendship – all because of life’s complexities with two ordinary people leading each other to live extraordinary lives.
Here’s a letter written by Jodi. I found this note on 3/31/01 – tucked in my running shoe on the eve of my second marathon. And saved it – neither one of us knew our future for the next 45 months.
As Thoreau says, “Life is too short to be in a hurry.”
You have done so much for all of us. You take care of your family more than you can imagine. You strive to improve the club constantly.
Now, tomorrow is your day to shine. You’ve worked so hard to come this far now all you have to do is go to it. We will love you no matter what.
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! After the race you can add this to your many lists of accomplishments.
Go to it Mom and ya know what . . . enjoy yourself!
You are God’s perfect child.
I’m so happy I didn’t throw out this note – it’s a gift telling me to slow down and enjoy. Because if we are always on the go, we are reacting to the exigencies of day-to-day life rather than allowing ourselves the space to create a happy life.
Isn’t it time you enjoyed the moments to create more happiness?
“Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.” — Unknown
A reader sent me this quote. I’m curious what do you do when life knocks you down? I believe Jodi would say, “it’s time to dance.” Do you want to dance?
*Jodi dancing with “her girls and Andy” at The Hill; five months later, life would present a party none of us expected or had hoped for.
“May you live every day of your life.” — Jonathan Swift
Have you started living every day of your life? I’m now reading Eugene O’Kelly’s memoir, Chasing Daylight. His message is beautiful – “seize the day.” Please share your “carpe diem” experience with a comment or email me peg.calvario [at] gmail.[com].
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Gandhi
This quote serves as a reminder – that our happiness is splendidly linked to what we choose. During the early days of Jodi’s diagnosis, I was choosing to embrace my authentic self – which meant being happiest as Jodi’s mother. It was a time to affirm “why not.” And today, Letters to Jodi answers to “why” and fulfills me with happiness.
What about you? Are your thoughts, words and actions aligning to your being of happiness? Please share your comments.