I didn’t know Delores very well. I met her about ten years ago when she was diagnosed with cancer. We both lived in Santa Cruz, and she went to Medford, Oregon, to attend our Cancer as a Turning Point™ conference there. We stayed in touch.
When she had a recurrence of her cancer many months later, she told me that she didn’t think she had it in her to fight it again. She felt so alone in her life. She didn’t have a partner and said she was lonely and didn’t feel loved. Her life was a struggle without much joy. She died a few months later.
I attended her memorial service and was surprised that there were about 300 people there. When an opportunity was given for people in the audience to tell Delores stories, or say something about their experience of her, it went on for a long time. Many people stood up and told stories of what a difference Delores had made in their lives. They talked about what a joy it had been to travel or work or play with her. There were funny stories, loving stories, and many tears shed.
I felt sad that Delores hadn’t heard this outpouring of love for her while she was living with cancer. I wondered if it would have made a difference in her will to live. I wished that people could have the opportunity to know what their lives mean to others while they are still alive.
I feel like that is the gift I am receiving now. I didn’t plan for it or specifically ask for it now, but I must have planted that seed when I was at Delores’s memorial service and had that wish for myself. When the Healing Journeys Board decided to have a Virtual Birthday Party for my 70th birthday this year, that seed got watered and grew.
I am so moved by the comments you have been sending me along with your donations. Healing Journeys has been my life’s work for the past 17 years and it is so fulfilling to know what a difference it has made in so many lives. Your donations to help keep the conference alive, and your heart-felt sharings are an incredible gift to me. I’m so grateful to be receiving your wonderful messages while I can hear and enjoy them. Bless you. You are the wind beneath my wings and I’m flying high.
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In the spirit of healing,
Jan Adrian, MSW
Founder and Executive Director