Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Live in the Layers

11165324_10152888930444607_4733935184669784274_nYesterday, Lori, our neighbor and friend, transitioned from fighter to angel. She was definitely one of the good ones and her time here on earth too short. I’d be lying if I said her diagnosis, cancer journey and eventual passing hasn’t had an effect on me. It is hard to reconcile, really.

As July 22 began to wane, Dave and I ventured out onto our patio and stayed until late in the night. The weather was pristine. It had been all day. We listened to music. We let flowers and the birds surround us. We watched other neighbors walk in the low evening light. We sat in the sound and we sat in the silence. And at one point, we danced.

Our patio was the last place we had seen Lori just a few weeks prior. She stopped over on her way home from a walk with her husband and son. Her steps were slow and she wasn’t feeling well. But she wanted to see us, to acknowledge us, and perhaps simply say good-bye. It seemed right that we sat out there for a good while last night. Her spirit was strong.

It was hard to get through today. Hijacked by timelines, commitments and necessities, I wanted to simply stop, go back to the quiet and drift some more. But life called and as I went through my day, I managed to find stolen moments to ponder a bit and appreciate the impact of shared journeys.

Lori didn’t realize this but since her diagnosis in January, she provided a number of lessons to me. Mainly, she reminded me that no matter what, we need to live the days as they are presented to us. We need to live them, not exist through them. No matter how shiny or soiled, we need to live them.

We need to stay curious. We need to ask questions. We need to judge less, listen more. We need to see the beauty, the truth, the authenticity that is in front of us, given selflessly to us. We need to selflessly give in return. We need to recognize and celebrate passion — our own and that of others. We need to embrace difference and texture and figure out ways to wear them beautifully and brilliantly like a signature scarf. We need to be comfortable in our own skin, even when it seems imperfect due to life’s experience or misguided expectation. We should love with abandon and grieve without shame. We should taste and smell and savor. We should be gentle and kind.

Last week, the day after her birthday, I recalled a poem that I had experienced for the first time in May via Krista Tippett’s blog, On Being I vividly recall how it made me think of Lori who, at the time, was seeking different treatment opportunities. “The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz is raw and truthful. It recognizes imperfection as much as success. All of it is important. All of it makes us who we are. We shouldn’t disregard anything. It all has a purpose.

birdaki8Thank you, Lori for reminding me to live in the layers, not on the litter. I do not understand all these transformations and I’m not always willing to accept them. But they do mean something and for that, I need to try. Here’s to loving and living with sweetness, compassion, acceptance and grace. Your star will always shine bright. It was a gift to share some days. ~Jacqui


July 23, 2015 - Posted by | Everyday


  1. So sorry for the loss of your friend. Hugs!

    Comment by Kelly Cooper | July 23, 2015 | Reply

  2. Thanks for sharing this Jacqui. Our street has been forever changed by this loss. i trust that we can comfort each other and move on. But we all know how much we will miss her.

    Comment by Peggy Eberhard | July 23, 2015 | Reply

  3. Your message today is poetry.

    Comment by Jane Killen | July 24, 2015 | Reply

  4. JK, so sorry to hear about your neighbor. Thanks for finding inspiration in her life and sharing it with us.

    Comment by Damian Dotterweich | July 29, 2015 | Reply

  5. […] Today marks one year of our friend Lori’s transition. In so many ways it seems like just yesterday. It’s one of those days that most likely will remain crystallized in my thoughts for numerous reasons. […]

    Pingback by Today I Raised My Complementary Sierra Mist… to Lori « Nashville or Bust | July 21, 2016 | Reply

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