So, I think this post is going to be about friends, or at least that is my intent.
JDT has posted over the course of the last 3 1/2 months some incredible posts. Some incredibly thoughtful posts. Some incredibly thought provoking posts. So, as always, she inspires me to my better self. I rarely, if ever, in my mind, do I achieve those lofty standards. Yet I try. AND as my beloved life coach Jim Kelley always said, there is no try, there is only do or do not. Yes, a quote from Yoda.
Here is my do.
I love each and every one of my friends. What I love most about them is each of their unique contributions to my perspective. I rarely, if ever, see it coming. But, come it does.
Aspects of this blog post began all the way back in June of 2007. JDT and I were in Albion staying in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Dave and Deanna Bing’s home on the Navarro Ridge above the Albion River with a view to the last mile as it meandered its way toward the Pacific. Incredible. For some reason that weekend while we were there I read a book – Chasing Daylight. I only know this date because I wrote it on the inside cover. My memory has me reading this book as I was entering treatment for cancer. Wrong, but it is my memory. This book is the true story of one man’s final year in his journey with terminal cancer. I highly recommend it. It is his memoir told of his graceful way of dealing with death. It is wonderful.
I was having lunch a few months back with another friend, Larry. We have lunch and go to A’s games two or three times per year. There was a special occasion for this lunch, Larry’s 80th. I met Larry nearly 20 years ago, he actually was and is a client. Client first, friend first now! I helped Larry and Meryl, his wife, design and create a successful transition into retirement. Larry has been an incredibly important role model for me for living a full life in retirement. Our conversation over lunch was, as always, all over the place, in the best of ways. Larry is a voracious reader and has always referred me to books that “fill me up”. This day, he shared that he had just been turned on to Jane Didion. She had recently passed and certain of his friends were discussing her works. I asked him what I should read, and he suggested Slouching Toward Bethlehem. I went home and ordered on Amazon. So began my journey with Jane Didion.
I mentioned to JDT that I had just read Slouching Toward Bethlehem and that, while it took a bit, I was really enjoying Didion’s “voice”. JDT went in the other room and came back with The Year of Magical Thinking. So, I dove in. OMG! What a book. It is Didion’s story of her journey with grief. Her husband had died suddenly, yet not unexpectedly. She writes with such vulnerability.
Prior to leaving for NOLA I mentioned to JDT I was thinking of a post about my experiences with Year and Chasing Daylight. Both lovely books. JDT gave me a bit of a stink eye roll. I took that sign that not everyone appreciated my perspective on this topic.
We were surfing Netflix late one evening here in NOLA and bang, a show on Jane Didion appeared. It was filmed in 2015 or 2016. Jane was in her early 80s and clearly struggling with aging. A part of this documentary talks about another of Didion’s books, Blue Nights. You see, Year was released in 2010 or 2011, which happened to be a month or two after her adopted daughter, Quintana Roo passed. Quintana was actually in the ICU of a NYC hospital when Jane’s husband John passed. Year includes much about Quintana, but nothing on her death. Blue Nights discusses very deeply Quintana Roo’s death.
All three of these books, Chasing Daylight, Year and Blue Nights are fabulous. AND all different. Here is what they are about, TO ME. Chasing Daylight is about a graceful way to deal with your own death. Year is about grief. Blue Nights is about loss. And while Chasing Daylight is a wonderful tale, Year and Blue Nights are beautifully written.
As shared above, I’ve discussed all of this with JDT. She tells me my next book must be “lighter”. AND SHE IS PROBABLY RIGHT! AND why I am I drawn to these books? Why do they keep “showing up” for me? They are not just, or even primarily, about death for me. They are about being fully emotive. Being ALIVE! Real emotions when the world only wants us to either be “angry” or “happy”. The world rarely is accepting of being scared, only wants to scare us. Of feeling grief, only wants us to “sue for relief”. Of experiencing such deep loss that your body aches. It is my humblest of opinions that to live fully, one should embrace each and all emotions. Be fully emotive.
And my friends help me be fully emotive. For that I am eternally grateful!!