Ode to Jody
“Nothing but Heaven itself is better than a friend who is truly a friend.”
My friend, Jody, died one year ago today.
She battled cancer for over two years and while she ultimately lost the war, she won many battles. I have written a few posts inspired by Jody, the first, When FMLA Comes to Life, was written the week she found out she had cancer. I then wrote, Living, when I realized just how amazing my dear friend’s journey was. Finally, I wrote, I Will Pray, when Jody was ready to face her death.
To honor my dear friend, I offer you my beliefs as to why she was able to fight off this stupid and terrible disease for so long.
Jody’s body was healthy. Unlike many of us, she exercised restraint when it came to food. She didn’t eat too much and what she did eat was fresh and light. She exhibited self discipline at all times when it came to eating and eating right. A glutton myself, I was forever amazed at her willpower, even when she found herself in front of some delectable dishes.
Jody was strong. She led an incredibly active life and explored our great state and the world by hiking, kayaking, biking, skiing, etc. When she wasn’t exploring the world, she was staying fit by exercising in her garage. She’d do aerobics, kick boxing, yoga and all sorts of things without ever leaving her house, and she’d often extend her “exercise routine” at work by leading yogo or pilates or other things on her lunch hour to encourage others to be active.
Jody was mindful. When she needed to listen, she listened. When she needed to be calm, she was calm. When she needed to assert herself, she did so. While I’m sure she didn’t call it meditation, she wasn’t a stranger to being still, finding her “inner peace” and thinking.
Jody was courageous. Possessing a naturally curious mind, she didn’t stray away from things that were scary or unknown to her. The big C would have sent most of us cowering but Jody faced it head on, nearly challenging it to overcome her. And even when it became obvious that her body would wear out, our dear Jody chose to concede to her fate on her terms, with her chin up and her dignity well in tact.
Jody was a fighter. Always willing to engage in a healthy debate or devilish banter, this woman was spunky! It was amazing to watch her learn about her disease, research some crazy or experimental treatment, and demand to her providers that they figure out a way to let her try them. This “win-lose” mentality served her so well while she fought this damn disease, giving her precious time to spend with her husband and her family and allowing her the chance to do what many of us aren’t willing to do…to get her affairs in order.
Jody was funny. She giggled, she laughed, and she bellowed. She appreciated a good joke, clever sarcasm or quit wit and this made it so easy to be with her as her cancer consumed her life. Never wanting us to be uncomfortable, she’d make light of the situation and poke fun at the terrible side affects of her treatment. Towards the end, her eyes gave her away as there was no levity to be had, but I trust that the glimmer has found her again and that she’s finding laughter up in the heavens.
A healthy, strong, mindful, courageous fighter who could, regardless of the situation, find humor or perspective…that was my dear friend, Jody. I miss her like nobody’s business and I am so thankful for her being such a meaningful part of my life.
Thank you for reading this…it’s really for my own heart that I put my thoughts to words today.
May you all enjoy your health and, if you become ill, may you face the challenges with as much gusto as my dear friend.