Journal Entry #50
My friend Laurie died.
I haven’t been able to write about it since I got the news last Thursday. If you have been following along with my entries, you have heard me mention her. A brilliantly talented, wonderfully compassionate, courageous woman who inspired me to dig deep to find the strength I needed to get through Leishmaniasis.
Laurie was never defined by the Cancer that riddled her body. In fact, even as she was in Stage 4 and the cancer was taking over her brain, our conversations weren’t about the disease. They were about life. How we cope, how we love ourselves, how we help our families in difficult times…real, heartfelt conversations. Her outlet for sorting life out was painting and poetry. Mine, journaling. Over the years, we have loved and supported one another through loss and joy that can only be described as a sisterhood.
We can prepare ourselves for loss. Know that grief is knocking on our door. And yet, when it happens, when that door opens, the pain is unavoidable. It is like, every time we experience grief it gets richer. We knew that Laurie would never survive cancer. We knew the outcome would be a loss for this world and a gain for another.
None of us are exempt from death.
But what if, we don’t really die? What if we are just born into another place? Perhaps this life is a womb, much like the one we are carried in before we arrived in this place? What if, the loss I am feeling right now, is simply because I am out of alignment with Source…and if we are all ONE…if I connect to Source then I can feel her with me again?
I know that this probably sounds like rambling…grief no-sense. But if you have a minute to read The Parable of the Twins, I would invite you to do so. It makes me really think about my mortality, and it also reminds me to lean into my faith.
I have been thinking a lot about LEGACY lately. I think Laurie leaves each of us who knew her with a legacy. Our lives are measured in exchanges of energy. Laurie’s exchanges of energy with me were always positive, even in the dark times. I believe she understood that positive exchanges multiply, that when we bring love to the table, we become a force for what is good in the world.
I’m 40, and this topic is not something most of us think about, or chat about at parties. Most people wait until later in life to take stock of where they are, what they have done and the impact that they have left behind. But what if, right now, on this very path, in this very moment we were to realize that we are creating our legacy? What if, right now, we started living with the intention of our legacy?
It isn’t about how much money we make, how much travel we do, how many awards we acquire, how many friends we have on social media or how many people know our name. As Bryan Stevenson says, it is about “how often you actually position yourself to help those who need help.” We are not alone on our paths…there are intersections, merges, and even shared pathways for some time. When we acknowledge the honor of sharing a path with someone there is something redemptive and powerful about our experience with them.
To me, Laurie’s legacy is about love and grace and she did it all with dignity. She left an incredible imprint on so many lives. As a teacher, one could imagine how many students were blessed to have received the gift of Laurie. But, her love went beyond her students, beyond her friends, beyond her family, beyond her colleagues and beyond me. Her love was unconditional. You never had to earn it, she gave it freely and willingly, even when she was dying. Her love was full of grace that had transformational and healing effects that will be carried on through her children, grand-daughter and all of us that shared the path with her for a time.
I’ve been thinking about my legacy. And I guess, what I am realizing is that there is a duality to the notion. My intention today is that everyone who crosses my path benefits in some way from my existence. That our exchanges of energy are positive and a force for the greater good of humanity. Coupled with a little compassion, those around me who are suffering, do so a little less.
The duality is the flip side. YOU get to decide what my legacy is through your own perception. And that is the cool thing about life and death. We only have our perceptions of one another. In fact, I think I prefer the term PERCEPTION over LEGACY. It is broader, more intuitive, more free, more unique.
I won’t be able to do it as Laurie did. No one can. And that is okay. She has given me the insight and even some tools to do it my way.
And for that, I am forever grateful.
Cheers to you, my friend and my sister…until our paths cross again may we each find peace.