Thursday, April 14, 2011


I’ve always been pretty intuitive. And I know where I get it (shoutout, mom). I can read people pretty dang accurately, after being around them only a short time. It’s engrained in who I am, on almost every level.

Seldom, however, do I run into people who are just as intuitive as I am, if not more; and able to show me things and help me see things even more clearly than I thought I saw them already.

I have a friend who went through a deeply traumatic experience with her family – an experience that, of course, changed her life forever. But when you talk to her about it, that’s where the clichés end. Her honesty about what she’s been through, is still going through, and will go through forever, opened my eyes to the fact that it is okay to say how you really…no I mean REALLY…feel. In a way that gives you permission to just tell it like it is. She is completely authentic, even if her story doesn’t go the way people expect it to. And she’s not ashamed of it. It can be almost liberating to have a conversation with her. (Which clearly I've don'e recently.)

Since M was diagnosed I’ve found myself taking a closer look at my life, and how much each choice I make throughout my day really matters. That, my friends, sounds totally cliché as well. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who is close to her is looking at life through a new lens. But when I stand back and take a look, I’m like, no, really, I am subconsciously turning everything upside down and inside out. Some days now, I will find myself impatient and pretty much done with things that are taking my attention and energy, that in the grand scheme of things may not really matter; things that take me away from my children without really, really good reason. Things that stress me out and make me impatient with my husband and family. Done with them. Want no part of it any more. But it’s not until I stand back and connect the dots that I consciously connect this new need for renewed meaning and relevance in my life with M’s cancer.

So I guess I’m doing this very cliché thing in a very authentic, and organic, way. I see my friend, and how her experience has shaped her into a person who doesn’t take a single moment for granted; like she said, spend the extra $20 on the good bottle of wine, and take your husband on that trip you’ve been talking about for years. Not because we think we’re going to be hit by a bus tomorrow. But because sometimes we get this wake up call, reminding that life is meant to be lived.

She opens my eyes to things in me that I either didn’t see, or didn’t choose to see; and spending time for her is, quite simply, good for the soul. She reminds me that this authenticity is what we need to have in our lives, every day, every hour, every second. We owe it to ourselves, and to those we love.

A couple of weeks ago, before I started this two week business trip marathon, Larry, the kids and I met up with M’s family for dinner. Barros for pizza. Which sounds like a totally nice, run-of-the-mill family event, right? But really, it wasn’t. I wanted to write about it, but wasn’t quite ready yet; after spending time with my friend tonight, I knew I was ready, because what was kind of lurking under the surface became crystal clear to me.

My sister and I have always been very close. And while I think that we have always both been totally comfortable being exactly who we are in front of each other, I think that this life experience has begun to change us both. From honest to authentic. When we went to dinner that night, and my beautiful sister was sitting next to me with her bald head wrapped up tight, it was clear to me that walls had come crashing down since last time we were face to face. I felt something different with her, and I even told my mom the next day, I’m having trouble putting my finger on it; but something had changed. It was as simple as her telling me, among other things, “You know, we have to make it a point to do this more often.” Simple words, and I can’t really articulate why they felt different, but they did. I knew, immediately, that she’d never meant it the way she meant it that night.

No. REALLY. We have to do this more often. Because life is meant to be lived, with those you love, whether it’s pizza at Barros or the Louvre in Paris. Just do it.

And to my friend – thank you. I hope you realize what a gift you are.

M - we look a lot more alike without the blonde mane!

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