Category Archives: Jodi Calvario
“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?
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.
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.
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
Is it possible to believe in God and have faith? I remember we would often ask each other that question. Remember?
Even during the most difficult of times, we did experience God’s presence. We discovered that God was sending people to be with us – then and continues now.
Can you remember all of the people whom were sent? That’s really all the people with whom you touched their lives and they touched yours. I’ve thought about these connections and experiences – it’s the presence of Love.
And on this Easter – I’m in the presence of Love and do not try to explain my suffering nor even accept it. Instead, I defiantly choose to go on living and “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Now, that’s faith!
*Easter 1987, Jodi age 2.