Friday, April 23, 2010

How you live...

It isn't about how you die that is of any consequence.

It is how you live.

Yesterday a bright young talent died. Some of you have read her writing as she chronicled her battle with Cancer. Her name was Alicia Parlette. She was 23 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of Cancer, that was found in her hip and in her Breast. She died at at the age of 28.

That is how she died. But how did she live?

She had in her a light so bright that it was made to shine through her writing. A passion so intense she was restless with creativity until she found why she was so afflicted. The Cancer, she noted, was a kind of a blessing. How often have we heard this from people who have fought this disease. Cancer a blessing.

For Alicia, after finding she had cancer, it all became clear. Writing about her cancer, was what she was meant to do. She was there to write for all those who felt the same way she did, in words that were not theirs to speak. She gave them a voice they did not have before.

It struck me that she not only wrote about this journey, but she found it in herself to do even more. She sat with chemotherapy patients as they waited for their treatments at UCSF. She adopted a shelter dog. She lived her life.

I find it ironic that today I read about her passing. This morning I met with my oncologist and a good friend and fellow survivor Julie, who have been following their passion to found a healing center in Marin. I was meeting with them because I wanted to explore whether there is something I could do to help.

That restless feeling that Alicia was feeling before she understood what she was supposed to do with her writing, is something I understand. I have been feeling a little restless myself. I feel a lot less restless when I am focused on the 3 day.

There is a book I read called "Finding Your Sweet Spot." It uses the analogy about when a golfer hits the ball just right how it flies effortlessly further and truer than anyone ever imagined. Like when a baseball batter hits the ball just right and the bat and they are one - they hit the sweet spot, it feels like the easiest swing they have ever made, and the ball goes forever.

There have been times in my life when I have known I am doing just what I was intended to do. It is seamless, and in it I feel my deepest satisfaction. Alicia found her sweet spot in writing , and we all are left gifted by the fulfillment of her purpose. Everyone says "It's a terrible loss" when someone dies. I prefer to say "What a tremendous gift their life was."

With every step, with every mile I am saying thank you for those who have brighten my path with the brilliance of their lives. It's how you live that matters. Alicia you lived your life well.

Honor Alicia by making a donation to end Cancer.

or to the fund set up in her name

Alicia Parlette Fund for Aspiring Journalists, Reynolds School of Journalism, Mail Stop 310, University of Nevada, Reno, NV. 89557