Welcome to weird week.
Early yesterday I learned our previous chiropractor (I’ll call her Sue) was in her last days.
Sixteenish months ago, Sue discovered a lump in her breast and had been undergoing cancer treatments.
The last photos I saw of her on Facebook showed someone who was looking well and radiant.
Hearing the news came as a shock.
Although not close friends, we were more than acquaintances.
You don’t spend multiple times per week on her table without forming a connection.
This wasn’t somebody who knows somebody.
This was close.
Mind raced to do calculations.
Mom was 49 when she passed.
We all said that was young.
Sue is a couple years younger than that.
A single mom with a son about four or five.
Mind raced to scan for regrets, reassess the to-do list and re-evaluate decisions stuck in wafflingland.
Get on with this, Lorraine.
Life is too short.
Make it all happen yesterday.
The urgency of reaction subsided slowly over the day.
Here was an opening through the automaticness of day-to-day life for looking more closely.
Everything I did became measured against a family waiting for the final good-bye.
My wonderings were the same when the roles were reversed.
What were people doing as they went about their days as we waited?
Ours stripped away to all but being present to the moment.
Waiting for a marked point in time.
The last would become the first.
Before would have a new after.
Thoughts jumped back to a poignant conversation with mom.
She was angry.
The family had settled into the routines of life with an illness.
Work, school, friends, groceries, bills, grandkids – all needed attention after her needs were addressed.
Spurred by frustration she expressed the harsh reality nobody spoke about – “you’re all getting on with life, while I’m left behind.”
Far too often taken for granted, and yet can take so much to change.
Sometimes it feels like trying to turn a cargo ship on a dime.
There are so many little things to get done, how do you ever get to the big stuff?
That’s a whole other beast to tackle with so little time from the get go.
Realistically speaking, all those things you dream of doing aren’t going to happen.
But does it have to?
Does the measure have to be how much we get done or how large we live life?
How daring we are or how far afield we travel?
How much money we make?
Or the size of our email list and Twitter reach?
People sharing memories for Sue and her family revealed common threads.
Former classmates felt respected by Sue at a time when they were vulnerable.
Others mentioned being brought into the safety net of her “mama bear” heart.
The way she listened, offered advice, gave of her time, and laughed came up often too.
Sue didn’t set out to make a difference.
Her goal wasn’t to do something grand, be famous or go viral.
Sue just couldn’t help being her true self in everything she did.
Her legacy is rooted in who she was, not what she did.
I continue to sit in the uncomfortableness of shock and ache pulling at my heart.
I’d rather not feel this way.
But here I am.
And the message is clear.
Be more of me.
I could bash on myself about not being out there.
Taking far too long to get my courses in place.
Or all the simmering ideas for helping cats with Seela’s Wish.
The bigger reminder from Sue is to stop thinking like a pie and being more like a muscle.
We’re not a given-amount that can be divvied up into this, that, them and those.
You’re done. It’s gone.
The heart is a muscle.
Muscles grow bigger and stronger with use.
The more we be our true selves, the more we have to give of ourselves.
Holding back is not the issue.
Not giving forward is.
Trust in being more of me.
What and when that looks like will take care of itself.
Because I can’t help being me.