Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was billed as an apocolyptic comedy but after all the laughs and surrealism about a total global demise it was a romance about two people that saved each other and found true unconditional love. Melancholia, a global apocolyptic film from 2011 was a tragedy that celebrated family and the love they shared. Earlier tonight, it was confirmed that Nora Ephron passed away at 71. A writer, essayist and comedic romantic that brought us When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. One theme carried her throughout her illustrious career and that was the power of love and laughter.
Losing a friend, especially at such a young age puts your life in perspective but defining her life and her legacy has had a much more powerful message. Spending countless hours and putting my own life on hope to seek out the true wisdom Michelle had to share and releasing the love we all shared for her each and every day of the final months of her life brought me once again to a better place. Through spiriality, happiness, comfort and love, Michelle fought cancer the way she lived life as a free spirit that was strong and embraced the ones she loved.
Life is about a series of moments both good and bad. Some pierce while others graze the skin, but each one of these markers in life feeds us food for thought and helps shape the next direction we choose. I think we need to see each day as a rebirth. It is an opportunity to begin a new journey and build off the ones from the past. Each day of life is a gift. You don’t have to see children dying of tragic diseases or infants that die shortly after birth to know how lucky we are to be in this moment, breathing, living, sharing and feeling.
I just completed a remarkable trip with my father that unfortunately began with seeking and gaining closure with Michelle. It was from her mother’s unspoken urging that I spoke for a few moments to her family and friends at the funeral home but one I would not ever regret. As I stood there, not knowing what to say and even feeling like the outsider looking in, the words started to flow. Not because I am a word smith but because the love we gave to her and the love she gave back ten times over gave me the foresight to share stories, personal feelings and lessons she wants us to carry all our days.
While on a trip to Charlotte a while back, I asked my friend Marcus if she could keep Jack and Lola at his house in Rock Hill with his one year old daughter. Marcus being the amazing friend he is of course said yes and Bethany instantly fell in love having a dog on each side of her on the couch. When I broke the news of Michelle’s diagnosis to him I remember so vividly what he said: “It is amazing how someone you only met once could have such an impact on you”. I cannot think of a better way to describe Michelle. Whether you loved her to death or thought she was crazy, she made an impact.
So many of us use sarcasm to hide our feelings or make fun of others we are jealous of. We stereotype and prejudge and tend to avoid the one thing that in the end brings us all together: love. What is the fear of love? I can spend volumes trying to interpret that last comment, but I would rather spend it telling the truly important people in my life how much I care about them and instead of waiting to get old and die, start living.
After leaving Ohio, we went to Toronto, Mississagua and Niagara Falls and there were moments I thought about her lifeless body but most of the time I thought about Michelle and smiled. Each summer along with the many other times I spend with my dad, we take a father/son trip north. We have our moments of disagreement, but always the trips with him are memorable.
I too sometimes hide behind my thoughts and words, but I try very hard to make each day unique, memorable and full of as much love as possible.
When you wake up in the morning, think about who is important, tell them and find a way to make each day a personal triumph full of happiness and laughter. At the end of the day, those are the memories that stick.