Early this morning, I wished your father a “happy birthday.” He quickly reminded me, “every day is your birthday, so celebrate every day.”
Six years ago, we were practicing our new mantra of “celebration.” Remember our family celebrating “Dad’s Birthday” at Chat-a-While? You were encouraging your father to “begin new” adventures in life — like his gift of cooking classes at the restaurant school. While you were preparing for new beginnings — college life at Michigan and being cancer-free.
With a renewed spirit, you wanted him to be happy — again.
It’s been six birthdays without you — but tonight, we’ll celebrate at a casual restaurant to toast Dad’s 54th year and savour the sweets from his favorite banana birthday cake. Just like we did August 4th, 2004.
Oh, those “new beginnings” — your passing has led him to pursue his love for coaching football. And in three weeks, he’ll be back onto the field with a new team to coach, train and mentor. I think you’d be his biggest fan . . .
June – the milestone month for you and your brother securing your driver’s license. Remember the day . . . you finally passed on June 13th, 2002. You were so happy! While Jamie got his five years ago today.
After many months of driving practice, lessons with the driving school instructor and two previous attempts with some very minor driving errors – you passed the test with new-found confidence! Lots of perseverance, with some trials including the times you hit the curb, slightly tapped the fender and endless practicing of exit ramps – all in hopes of passing the test.
Getting your license gave you much happiness. I remember the days after your passing, we were all feeling so sad and broken – that your brother had quietly claimed your driver’s license and Michigan ID.
I knew then and know now that all he wanted was to hold on to your happiness – seeing you happy. It was during those final weeks that you refused to let any of us hold on to a memory less than your vibrant, happy and fun self. This included your brother, for whom you had the most desire to see happy.
Amazingly you have challenged me to pursue the highest of all goals – happiness. The end toward which all other ends lead.
“Of all the means to insure happiness throughout the whole life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends.” — Epicurus
Want a more satisfying life? Invest time and energy in your friends and family. For those who knew Jodi – know she committed everyday in the practice of sharing her happiness with others.
The other day, I read a letter written by one of Jodi’s friends. In the letter Anna captured the essence of Jodi. Here’s what she wrote —
These words that Jodi stated to me so many times will forever stick in my mind as words of wisdom I will forever live my life upon; to always be yourself. To never accommodate your feelings for others. Always do what will make you yourself happy. Never settle for less. Always be the person you know you have always been. Don’t change who you are just to impress others.
Words spoken and commandments lived between two friends, who fiercely committed to their happiness and friendship many years ago. And now their lifetime friendship is a new lift of happiness shared between a friend’s mother and her daughter’s friend — now that’s truly important. What impact are you having on your friends?
Just this month, my life has been deeply touched by your friends. A couple of days ago, I met Dawn, her boyfriend and her mother for lunch. An ordinary social activity for most. But for me – this lunch was a special occasion.
We met at the Black Lab Bistro amidst busy lives and the gap in years since our last visit. Although, you will always be nineteen, your friends have now reached another milestone – 25!
Sitting at the table, I was happy listening to Dawn talk about their life together in Florida. She even recalled an embarrassing moment during one of your parties (3rd form year) – your father duct taping all the boys zippers. (His form of parental birth control.)
Reconnecting with your friends fills me with much happiness! I also realize that my journey is still with moments of great sadness. And somehow life isn’t all about what happens to me as your mother, but it’s also about how those left behind survive their own sadness without you.
I believe they are surviving – but there is sadness within the “Jodi moments” as they too find a way to live through it.
A great friend is a treasured gift – and that’s Jay. Just the other night, we had takeout with him. It was a chance for us to take care of Jay, as he had taken care of us.
Jay’s been a friend and hairstylist for more than 25 years. We have a friendship that’s rich with memories of Jodi’s lifetime – because Jay gave Jodi . . . her first haircut, treated her “pool hair,” straighten her hair, styled for prom, shaved for chemo and gave her last haircut. Ordinary moments that became extraordinary memories of happiness all because of Jay.
A simple truth – “if we take care of the moments, the years take care of themselves.” Can you live with these ordinary moments in your life? Or can you not live to make these moments extraordinary? I’d love to know . . .
“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.” — Maria Edgeworth
One of my personal intentions – “take care of Jodi’s friends.” For me, being with Jodi’s friends is living abundantly in the depths of happiness, love and connection. And the moments help to bridge the loss of years. Today’s lunch with Katie and Anna was one of those moments – tears shed for the “Jodi Years.”
How do you take care of the moments? Email me peg.calvario[at ]gmail.com
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?