I’m on my real journey of discovery — what about you? In the early weeks of diagnosis, Jodi was not afraid of cancer. In fact, she wanted to inspire and help others see beyond their own challenges and sufferings. She was determined to put aside the awful “chemo side effects” — loss of hair, weight gain, nausea, the summer job, college plans and see it with new eyes. And to those who knew her — know that’s exactly what she intended to do with the deck of cards life dealt her. Where are your eyes seeking?
Tag Archives: Childhood Cancers
In a slight delicate rush, I broke open my fortune cookie in amazement to receive this message. “The time has come to allow your heart to guide you.”
Immediately, my heart brought me back to you. I had spoken that day with a friend, who had also lost her daughter to cancer. We chatted about how different our lives are without our daughters. MJ referenced how much “her” Katie guides her to find meaning. And with Katie’s inspiration, she now helps mothers embrace when every day matters.
We spoke about “why” we believe every day matters. And how we choose to allow ourselves to move forward even after our greatest losses. For some, the steps maybe too difficult or they simply choose to believe they can not.
But I said, “why Jodi would be very angry with us if we did not allow ourselves to see the possibilities in what we can do.”
And in that next moment, MJ is telling me to speak and share our story — The Journey of Life, Love and Loss. Before I could utter my response, she asked me “what would Jodi want you to do now?”
Very briefly, I thought and said, “she’d want me to share the message and allow my heart to guide me.”
And with that, I can and the message will inspire others.
Just the other day, I had chatted on the phone with Jodi’s friend, Emily. It was a wonderful and lively conversation that reunited our connection — in some ways more like girlfriends.
I was struck by the essence of time as it had been seven years since Jodi’s diagnosis. It was during our phone call that we both felt the paradox of time — you know what I mean.
“When I think about these past seven years,” said Emily — “there’s been so many changes like college, moving to NYC, three years of a career, friends, relationship commitments, travel and more.” “And yet Jodi had only 18 months . . . and so much had happened in so very little time.”
Later that night, I thought about Emily’s insight and perspective on time. Seven years ago, I had done some research on Lance Armstrong. I remember he wrote that cancer was the best experience in his life. He had found a new perspective on life, new relationships with family and friends and developed a foundation of cancer survivors.
I had asked in the past and even now, is this life experience pointing us to commit our life’s purpose for a greater good? What are your thoughts?
I never thought how hard it would be to write to you today – my birthday.
My thoughts take me back to my birthday – 2004. Here we are celebrating – so much more than your mother aging another year. It was an evening of celebrations – you had traveled that week to Michigan for orientation, the scans showed no signs of cancer, we were all rejuvenated from our month at the shore and life was wonderful again. You even designed a personal card – just for me . . .
July 16, 2004
Happy Birthday! I know that you are approaching that time in your life where you no longer wish to celebrate your birth. However, I believe we should not just celebrate our birth, but each and every day. We should celebrate each new and wonderful day that is given to us.
I hope you continue to live each day to the fullest. I am so very thankful to have you in my life. Your unconditional love and support
has made you more than my mother, but my best friend. I wish you all
the best today, tomorrow, and forever. I love you!
In my fifty-second year, I intend to embrace your words and truly celebrate each and every day . . . thank you for your present!
A few days ago, I called one of the people who mattered to Jodi – her friend Katie. We talked about my new project, LetterstoJodi.com and my passion to collaborate with those who knew Jodi – as a way to help us discover life’s jewels along our way.
Katie shared a special moment with me – as she quoted Jodi’s instructions to her in the form of those Seuss words.
To those who knew Jodi, cancer did not change her essence, instead she now had another chance to lead, love, and live fully. She was able to look at the people closest in her life and tell them what she felt and who she was becoming.
And for us who feel this loss deeply in our heart and soul, we have been changed – and that is what really matters.
“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?
Why, I often wonder, is it so hard to know what I find fun? I think it’s simply easier to “be myself” but it’s a constant challenge to have fun.
I know many people have difficulty identifying what they like to do, for work and fun. But that wasn’t true for you. You had an ability to intertwine fun with your work – academics, sports, relationships, your life and even cancer – easily. You were “being Jodi.”
So, I’ve been thinking that to have more fun in my life – I simply have to “be myself” and intend for fun. Is fun more about the state of “being” and less about the activity of “doing?”
I started thinking about how much fun you gave to others. And even during times in the hospital, you created these moments of fun for nurses, physicians, patients and your visitors by simply “being Jodi.”
Well, I found this photo – a reminder to lighten up and have more fun. And with your encouragement, my intention to have more fun will be easier – simply “being me.”