July 6, 2019 marked the day Judy decided to end her fight against cancer. I did not fully comprehend this at the time - in many ways I was still in "fight" mode. But looking back, her call for the hospice bed to the house was her saying "I'm ready". On July 22, her body released its last breath and came to a final stillness. As was her way, Judy exited this life the way she lived it - on her terms. In those final days, she brought friends and family together in laughter and love to share stories of so many lifetimes, and as always, giving her unique perspective and words of advice (it's a mother's prerogative after all).
To know Judy was to be a friend, and with a generous spirit Judy embraced her friends (as well as their family) as family. Nowhere did this shine through more than in her love to entertain - she had a special gift of creating a welcoming space. That space could be the office, in the car, her favorite lunch spot, a party, or our home. Dedication to family. Rooted in love. Strength, that I for one, underestimated. Knowing how rooted in love were her actions, I could not help but love her for them.
She was my best friend. She was my pillar. She was my home.
"She taught me how to be strong and say goodbye. And that love is forever. But most of all
She taught me how to fight, How to move across the line Between the wrong and the right
And when I'm turned out in the darkness, And the pushing comes to shove
To remember what comes back When you give away your love" - Brandi Carlile, "Most of All"
When she was first diagnosed in 2013 with colon cancer she was able to withstand the surgery and subsequent treatment (while still enjoying work at 78 years old!) with a strength, again that I took for granted, and belief that she would beat it. Which she did. When it came back in 2018, we knew the fight would be harder - but she wasn't done living yet and wanted to fight. Although, each person's fight is their own, we were there with her to give help, support and understanding. I must admit that I could not fully understand what she was going through - that is a level which only comes when one is truly in it. Through it all she fought with a determination that exemplified her love for her family.
I can still feel her presence. Her voice still guides me. Comforts me.
“Picture a wave. In the ocean. You can see it, measure it: its height, the way the sunlight refracts when it passes through. And… it’s there. You can see it. You know what it is. It’s a wave. And then it crashes on the shore, and it’s gone. But the water is still there. The wave was just a different way for the water to be… for a little while…The wave returns to the ocean. Where it came from. Where it’s supposed to be.” - Chidi from the "Good Place" (Buddhist inpired)
Her journey was her own, as is my journey navigating through a world without her physical presence. Part of that journey is paying tribute to her memory, the wonderful woman she was - wife, sister, aunt, cousin, mentor, friend, mom…in a word: Judy. I invite you to join me as I honor her journey and so many others who have taken, are taking, will take, their own journey.
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