Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reflections on a Life Cut Too Short


Last week, I was away in the Virgin Islands.  Lucky me one thousand times over.  The week was perfect.  Baby Jack behaved well, and our little family spent some quality time together.  Reading this blog yesterday, the author summed up how I feel as a busy working mother.  She writes in her “About Me”, “Like most moms, I spend my weekdays in a perpetual state of rush. “  Our time together was a much needed reset from the frantic pace that we operate at.

Oh, and I can FINALLY run consistently again.  For some reason, last month, I needed walking breaks when running.  Perhaps it was an omen that I needed a break in other parts of my life.  But, last week, the magic returned.   I ran at the lovely Westin gym, as I was a little hesitant to run on the crazy roads that the left-side driving St. John’s drivers occupy.  The treadmill was like that old friend though, and I logged slow but consistent running miles on it.

I planned to write a post about this euphoria.  It reminded me that I am still a runner.  But, then on Monday, I learned of the death of a friend whose life was cut way too short.

One of the privileges of my work is that it allows me the opportunity to travel throughout the world. Most often, I travel with a few other schools, and those representatives and I spend almost every waking moment together.  Needless to say, we need to get along for the weeks we are away to be enjoyable.

My friend Jen and I traveled in Europe together visiting high schools.   She was a great travel partner, as she was always willing to find a little adventure even maybe when we only had an hour of our schedule to spare. We celebrated Oktoberfest in Zurich together.  We were whisked around Milan at nighttime on Vespas. 

Unfortunately, Jen lost her battle with cancer this Monday.  The last we had connected earlier in 2012 she was doing much better.  However, in the last month, her health suffered some major setbacks, and the cancer proved just too much for her body. 

I am so angered by her death.  Jen had just turned 35 this December and was not even married 4 years.  She was one of those who have the uncanny ability to be genuinely NICE to everyone.  Perhaps because I am not I appreciated it so much more.  I remember when we were in Switzerland, and one of our other colleagues did not have any Swiss francs for the cab back to his hotel.  Jen immediately opened her wallet and gave the fare to him, rather than having him find an ATM to make it back.  She did so without even thinking about it.  It was an immediate response for her.

I am also angered by her cancer.  Why is it that some women’s cancers are detected so late that they become unmanageable?  Why does cancer rip families apart?  Jen had SO much to look forward to in life, and now her family is left with a gaping void. Why was she so unlucky?

Unfortunately, Jen’s passing was a reminder that we just do not control when our time is up.  Thus, if I want to make the most of it, it is up to me.  I was reading Kristina Pinto’s blog this morning, and it hit home.  Looking at her life, she commented, “ Like a lot of women I know, I spent the early years of Henry’s life waiting for something interesting to happen to me. Running while listening to “Badlands” and the rest of the Bruce oeuvre unlocked my chutzpah, and then I kind of started making interesting things happen.”

To honor Jen, I need to make interesting things happen.  I need to stop getting caught up in the perpetual rush.  And, I need to remember that I am committing to this attitude.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. You're right...cancer is not fair and it leaves pain wherever it goes. I can connect with your feeling like being in a constant stage of rushing during the week. It is like the week goes by in a blur. I don't want that to happen though...I don't want to miss weeks of my daughter's life!

  2. I am so sorry about the loss of your friend. My thoughts are with you and also with her family during this time.

    In other news, how was the St. John Westin? We are going there in September and I CANNOT WAIT. September is too far away!! Fill me in!