One of my favorite musicians and song writers is Jason Mraz, a genuine troubadour whose lyrics always inspire and uplift. Two weeks ago, July 28th, we had the opportunity to see him perform in Ottawa. What an evening, with his ‘girl band’ Raining Janes, a magical evening of joyful song, humour and love unfolded.
One of my favorite songs, I’m Yours, which I first heard the summer of 2009, has specific meaning to me. It became the anthem for a group of kindred spirits as we journeyed through the final days of my friend Kirsty’s life. It was a summer that left an indelible impression on me, the memory of which revisits me every time I hear the song. The lines of the chorus are what truly resonate, even today:
So I won’t hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I’m sure
There’s no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I’m yours
A Journey of Healing
An Adapted Excerpt from the roadSIGNS e-Letter written Sept. 2009
Our journey began the evening of July 16th. The group, seven in all, five amazing women plus Jim and myself. Through a ME FIRST Program offered the winter of 2008-09, we had met frequently. As the months passed by, and the work deepened, we all came to know one another, seeing the truth of each person behind the masks we so often wear in public. Among us, this bond has been clean, unwavering and unconditional. We had become deeply committed friends. What we didn’t know on the evening of July 16th was that our bond was about to be tested.
Our group had gathered for an evening of fun and creativity, yet something was amiss. Kirsty, our Garden Artist and landscape designer, wasn’t feeling well. She did not eat supper, just quietly sipped on some tea. I knew it was more than a flu and when I asked, she said she had not been well for several days. The following day, with our encouragement, she went to the local Emergency Room.
The call came mid-afternoon. Francine, Kirsty’s dearest friend, was on the line. “Bad news”, she said, “Here’s Kirsty.” In a soft tremulous voice Kirsty shared the results of her ER visit, “My liver is enlarged so they did an ultrasound. The test showed numerous lesions on my liver. They did some blood work too. I have to go back tomorrow for the results. Will you come with me?”
All of us have those moments when it feels like a fist has slammed into our solar plexus completely stealing our breath. “Oh my God!” I thought to myself as I reassured Kirsty that I would be there with her for whatever she needed. What we discovered is that her Malignant Melanoma, successfully treated ten years previously, had returned and with a vengeance. A subsequent visit with her oncologist broke the news – there was no treatment.
What do you do when given a diagnosis like this? The journey unfolded much too quickly. On Sunday, August 2nd we invited friends and family from around the world to join us in a prayer circle. We gathered once again, Kirsty’s Team as we had now come to think of ourselves. We prayed together, we received the loving intentions that everyone sent us from afar, then we celebrated, laughed and sang. This was the first time that we sang together. Throughout the remaining weeks, the singing never stopped.
Our anthem became, I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, the chorus “I won’t hesitate no more, no more” belted out, reminding us that life can change in an instant, and today, now, is the time to live. Music became our great healer, the words our anthem and Kirsty our teacher.
There are so many reasons why we hesitate, fear of making the wrong decision, a desire not to take risks, perfectionism, a lack self-confidence, the opinions of others, to name off a few. There are certainly life moments when looking before you leap is warranted, allowing you to make mindful decisions. In contrast there are many times when opportunities are beckoning you and you fail to seize that moment.
The summer of 2009, the amazing magical and miraculous journey seven of us shared, served as a reminder that when opportunity appears, at least be curious enough to explore it. Hesitation leads to regret, especially when you know in your heart that an opportunity is right for you.
Kirsty’s team met every evening. When the weather allowed, we gathered in the Pavilion outside the palliative care unit at the Cornwall Community Hospital. As we sang together, whenever the lyrics “So I won’t hesitate no more, no more”came around, Kirsty would look each of us in the eyes, engage us, and wag her finger at us as if to say “Don’t you dare waste this life that is being given to you – no more hesitating. I may be leaving my human existence but I will be watching”.
Maybe we all need a Kirsty Conscience in our life, a reminder to grab the brass rings that are offered on this life’s merry-go-round. Whenever I am in doubt, that song and those lyrics show up. If I am tempted to hesitate, I ask myself this question, “If not now, when?”
In the early hours of a quiet hospital night, Sunday September 13th, 2009, our friend Kirsty left her body to return to Source. Two members of our circle were with her, and as she left her favorite song by Jason Mraz, I’m Yours, bellowed out of the CD Player. Spirit offered her peace, she chose not to hesitate ‘no more’, and transitioned into the light.
On September 15th our circle gathered at the “Meeting Place” at the Williamstown Fair. These grounds have over one hundred years of history and the gardens which frame the entrance way were created by Kirsty. It was her wish to have a garden party in lieu of a traditional wake. We could have hesitated, it was a daunting task, but we had learned and dove in to deliver her dream. We turned the Meeting Place, a barn, into an indoor garden. The effect reflected the magic and miracles of Kirsty’s spirit and the summer we had shared.
Thanks for travelling down memory lane with me. Remember, no more hesitating!
Until Next Time, Betty Healey
Your thoughts and strategies are always welcome and if you care to share you can reach me at: [email protected]