Monday, May 07, 2007


I could bitch like mad about the slew of crazy medical problems I've had in the past couple of weeks. It would be easy. I'm good at that type of thing. You've been here before. You know this.

I won't.

Instead, I feel lucky. Lucky that my medical issues are more inconvenient than serious. Lucky to have a job that provides health insurance to cover the extensive bills. Lucky to have a caring family and wonderful friends who have called and emailed and cheered me up and helped me out. Lucky, all in all, to be me, to be 34 years old, and to have a long life to look forward to.

Jesse, after all, just recently turned 33. And on Friday, his life ended, after a heroic battle with a horrible illness.

I feel lucky to have shared Jesse and Yen's courageous, painful, and beautiful journey. Yen's eloquence has drawn readers from all over the world, and provided a constant reminder of the immeasurable values of life and love and chocolate and faith and now. Their story has become a powerful force in the lives of people who have never met them. I've come to consider their acquaintance a gift, and I am profoundly saddened that Jesse's portion of the narrative has come to a close.

The looming presence of Jesse's mortality has given me cause of late to formulate a theory regarding the deaths of those we love. I believe, at a very visceral level, that there is no real death, but merely a change of energy and scene which gives the illusion of separation for those who have yet to make the transition. Perhaps, then, it would be a worthwhile venture to treat the period of time after our loved one's passing and before our own in the way a child treats the night before Christmas. Maybe if we focus on the excitement and anticipation of the day when we'll see our love again, rather than the pain of loss and longing, we will live more and suffer less. Maybe. Wouldn't it be wonderful to wake up every day with that tiny, glowing ball of exhilaration in our bellies that tells us we're one day closer to something amazing? There aren't too many things better than that sense of I-just-can't-wait-ness...maybe thinking this way will allow us spend the rest of our lives feeling it.

It's just an idea. And it is, without question, one of those ideas that is far simpler in theory than in practice. The very physiology of human emotion necessitates some period of abject suffering after the loss of something or someone to which our circuitry has grown lovingly accustomed. But I want to believe that it's possible to choose joy, to appreciate what was and what will be again, and to treat life as a fantastic adventure so that we have great stories to tell when we're finally reunited with our loves.

Maybe I'd just rather think of sweet, incredible Yen living his life with the joyous anticipation of the night before Christmas, as he eagerly awaits the day when he'll see Jesse again.

I guess it's all about perspective.

Travel well, Jesse. My gratitude and tremendous admiration for your bravery, strength, and brilliance go with you. You will be missed.


Blogger David said...

Damn you. I checked out the blog and it broke my heart.

2:24 PM  
Blogger GayProf said...

I was really sorry to read about this loss. It seems like the pain of loss can also be accompanied by the hope that you spoke about.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Shan said...

I wish I could have met Jesse in person.
I love that eagerness and happy excitement you wrote about. A good, humbling reminder.

8:40 PM  
Blogger yellow_mustard_girl said...

Oh Helen, thank you so much for providing a link to Yen's blog. I couldn't stop myself; I probably read 3/4ths of it in one sitting. And cried. And laughed. And cried.

How incredible that the story of two strangers can make you feel so close to them, and how a story that ends in death can be so life-affirming.

Sorry, my wishy washy prose isn't doing much justice to how incredible both Yen's blog AND your post are. Thanks again for the perspective :)

8:51 PM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

Wow -- totally heartbreaking. And yet, I started to feel that little belly quiver as soon as you described it.

Hugs to you, babe.

10:38 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

What a terrible thing and such a terrible disease. My heart goes out to Yen.

And you . . . you just blew me away with this one.

11:50 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

so sorry. i meant to say i'm happy to hear that you're feeling better, but i'm still sort of struck dumb and stupid by this post of yours. amazing. thank you.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I can't even think about it right now. Your post is excellent. Thanks for saying what needed to be said.

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Tater said...


Glad you are back. This post was a glimpse of you I haven't seen as much of; being new to your blog. Kudos to you, your compassionate heart, intelligence, and talent. Their story is life affirming indeed.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Pixie said...


Your vision is a beautiful one. When someone is taken from us tragically, and too soon in their lives it is hard to find comfort or reason in such confusing times.

One can only hope that there come a day when you know there will be no more tears of pain and loss and you will be left reveling in the joy of that life lived...the moments shared...the light in their eyes and the warmth that comes over you at the thought of their smile.

I believe the mere thought of their name brings their soul to your side....that is my comfort.

May you and yours find your own comforts in your difficult time. His love is shining down upon you as we speak.

Light and Love,

12:28 PM  
Blogger missbhavens said...

33. Oh my god, 33? But 33 is just...



I just spent the evening reading Yen's posts.


9:52 PM  
Blogger John said...

I just read this and remembered that I miss you. Let's get together soon.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Yen said...

Thank you for this post, Helen. I'll see you at the service, and please do join us for the reception, too.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

That's beautiful, Helen. Thank you.

1:40 AM  

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