Just a thought… Begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had. [Elisabeth Kübler-Ross]
I’m going to share with you a blog that my dear friend Lisa posted yesterday at her site voiceoflisabrandt.com. When I read the first few lines, I thought she and I had written the same thoughts on the same day; the theme of mine yesterday was “use the good dishes.”
I appreciate all of the feedback you sent. So many readers feel the same way about no longer putting off using things that have sentimental value, whether it’s a mother’s pillowcases or precious dishes that have long been “saved” for what, a visit from The Queen? Thank you for your notes.
Today I’m sharing Lisa’s journal because it extends that thought further with a message brought home by the death of a beloved co-worker, who died suddenly at home just before her weekend radio shift. She was in her early fifties. May it resonate with you as loudly as it did with me and many of Lisa’s loyal readers. Perhaps you’ll join their ranks after today.
The Secret to Eternal Life
The title of today’s post reads like a clickbait solicitation for a cult, I know. Now you’re afraid that I’ve shaved my head (except for one thin patch down the middle) and quit my job so I can sell flowers at the airport. But that’s not what this story is about. When my paternal Grandma died in the mid-80s, we sorted through all of her stuff. She was a beloved nurse at Brantford General Hospital before her retirement. One of the drawers in a dresser packed with unopened Avon makeup, wrapping paper, rolls of tape and little gifts (Grandma was ready for any occasion) also contained stacks of cards and letters. They were written by patients, colleagues and younger nurses she’d encountered and taught over the years. Many offered thanks for her care, some for her mentorship in the nursing profession, heartfelt and sweet. They revealed a side to Grandma’s life that we never saw; respected professional with a wealth of knowledge she passed on to others.
As we moved through a long line at a Lambeth funeral home on Friday afternoon, those of us who knew and loved Jodi (Orr) Taylor were like living cards, letters and notes. One by one, we told her family about Jodi’s effect on us. From her peers, like me, to young broadcasters she took under her wing, to everyone else whose lives she made better, we cried, laughed and told stories. Despite the somber occasion, I found myself doing an imitation of Jodi for her husband, telling him something funny she had said the last time I talked to her. When he threw his head back and laughed I thought, yeah, she would love that. All of her worlds coming together, appreciating her for the sweet being that touched all of our lives.
We aimed to have her family feel the full weight of our affection for her. As my News Director said, the funeral home looked like a broadcasting convention. Now we have to do what she would want us to: get on with things. But I promise you that radio in London will never be the same. Our little community is shaken and an important part of its foundation is missing. We hugged and cried more tears, then smiled at the sight of her urn: bright red with headphones placed on it, so she could dial us all in. Perfection.
Jodi set an excellent example for interpersonal relationships. Be a good listener. Always say something positive. Be quick with a compliment. Err on the side of kindness. These are things I always aim to do most of us do, I think but would like to do more consistently. I started with an apology on Friday to someone who deserved to hear it, and I meant it, even if it came out awkwardly, which it did. The awkward part is totally my style.
In one of our last discussions, Jodi and I joked about becoming old ladies. She had just had her hair done. Jodi had thick, wavy, crazy-beautiful, almost out-of-control hair, and our talk turned to going grey. She said she looked forward to growing old and being surrounded by her grand-babies. No one imagined that she wouldn’t get that opportunity. If I am fortunate enough to reach old lady status, I’ll carry Jodi (as well as my dear friends Kerry Weaver and Lauren Davis Shirakawa) in my heart with me. I promise I won’t squander my chance or take it for granted. And I’ll do my best to be a positive influence on others. If I succeed, perhaps someone will want to hold my memory in their heart. That, my friends, is the secret to eternal life.
Thank you, Lisa, for allowing me to share this here. And a special hug for remembering our Lauren. xox