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 them...us...with 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.