Sitting in the light of death and change

A woman I was once very close to died suddenly last month. She had survived breast cancer 25 years ago and melanoma some years later and was cancer-free. Then she went from a couple of months of not feeling well to a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and liver failure in a couple of weeks. She chose not to do a chemo that would only give her a few weeks at best and died surrounded by her family at home. She was beloved by many, including me. Although we had had an irreconcilable falling out about six years ago, I never stopped loving her or valuing what our friendship had brought into my life.

Her passing has seemed very significant to me. My parents are both gone, but their deaths were in the natural order of things. And I have not yet had a lot of close friends die although a woman I was close to in college died several years ago and a man I dated died as well. I miss them both. But they were not part of my psyche in the same way that Jayna was. It's not because we went our separate ways. I have no regrets about that and I know in my heart that we forgave each other and were complete. Rather, two other things have been on my mind.

First, Jayna lived a very full life. By that, I don't mean busyness, although she was active both socially and politically. I mean that she experienced life in a full way, in a pay-attention way. She wanted her life to matter and it did.

Second, the time to live a full life is now, right now, in this moment. Not next week, not when we've got it all figured out or lost enough weight or found the right partner. Now. 11:15 on a Sunday morning. Noticing the gorgeous orange leaves on my cherry tree lover out the window. Petting Frannie who's keeping me company by lying on my notes. Feeling the warmth of the heater on this late fall day when the sunshine is intriguing but cold. Being grateful to be in this life. Now. 


So heartbreakingly-well said. So scary. So true.

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