just half a life


I’m sure I would have pondered this all, sooner or later. In fact, I’ve pondered it already–thought I was done with it in my early twenties, at least for another twenty years or so. But this has been no ordinary year.

A family member died and left us reeling with awful surprise. And before that, I had a stroke, equally shocking. These two events have sent me on a new trajectory of thought and philosophy, one that has enlightened me as much as it has sucked all the energy from my body.

I am still, physically and emotionally, recovering from the stroke and from the death.

I could consider myself halfway through a life, but that may not be the case. I could die tomorrow. You could die tomorrow. There is no guarantee of life until a ripe old age.

And so one thing I’m hyper aware of, is that every moment counts so much. Because this very moment might be a larger chunk of your life than you might think. Tomorrow, a clot could travel into your brain and shut you off forever. Or your car might lose control and drive you off a cliff. Or a bullet could travel into your heart. A bomb might fall out of the sky.

I am not sure what I will become. I am not sure what this will all mean to me. I have a feeling, a sense of the ounce of it but I don’t know its whole.

In fact, every moment of life weighs so heavy, as I try to squeeze its meaning. But what then? What to do? What is the meaning of a life, of half a life? What have I done today? What is meaningful enough?

I stop writing now–my hubby is trying to converse with me–and my mind is closing up to this well of thinking. It is time now to talk about dinner and about the day and all the things that will shut out this line of thought, this line that makes me wonder about so much, question so much, and burrow into my solitary.


Filed under Life, SuddenDeath, The Stroke

11 responses to “just half a life

  1. Darling, this is why we must all do what we can with the time we have – such as recognizing that when we meet fine people such as yourself that we hold onto the friendship in whatever forms it may take. We dare, we try to push ourselves further than is comfortable or even just relax into a state of comfort but not complacency.

  2. I am so impressed by your desire to know more of what is out there for you to enjoy. While I do sense panic, a little fear, and some apprehension, I also view a life not quite ready to be set aside for the rest of the world to pass by. In some ways suffering is a place where we seem to ponder more the possibilities of our life. We come face to face with what is real and what is unreal, what is good and not so good, what is our will to do and what is just simply a wish. It was not suprising to me that your family life came calling for you as you asked the deepest questions about where you might find meaning and purpose. You asked. Life answered. I was simply beautiful to read as it happened. For it is in the most mundane of life’s callings where the sweetest places to live our life exist. You my dear are called to live in the greatest of all moments “the present.” Feel the enormous power of grabbing onto a direction that will cause your heart to soar. YOU are loved and loved RIGHT NOW! What we will we do! What we wish we won’t!


  3. LK

    Jade, so sorry you’ve been having such a rough year. But, maybe you have answered your own question about life: It is meant to be lived. That is all. So simple yet so difficult.

    It is a gift to live an aware life. Most people don’t; to be aware of our mortality means you have to do something. You can’t just let life pass by. Having seen the end is just the beginning.

  4. Tea

    It seems to me that when I experience something that brings me in touch with my own mortality, there is this period of feeling the weight of every moment, the potential, the need to make of it something significant. It could all be over so soon, after all. I know my friends who were living in New York during September 11th experienced this quite strongly.

    But eventually a balance is found, as time passes, and we can come to a place of holding that sense that each day and moment is precious and to be treasured, without feeling a sense of fear and paralysis over the mere fact of it all.

    I once read somewhere that the key to living succesfully is to be able to hold at the same time, two contradictory beliefs: we must live as though we were going to be around forever, while treating each day as if it were our last.

    You’ve been through a lot this year, and I am sure the recovery process is ongoing. Time and space can do a world of good. Please be gentle with yourself.

  5. What an interesting message on the back of a dusty truck!

    As always, the language in your post is simply beautiful. You always seem to state what I often feel but in such a clear way. It’s nice when other people’s words can provide a sense of connection when you always feel isolated. Thank you, Jade.

  6. arirang

    You are blessed b/c you are aware and willing to handle it head on, vs. what most of us do on a day to day basis. Or perhaps it’s just how things are for now as they should be. As cliched as this sounds, you are never alone even when you are feeling alone. Everyone is living this path you are talking about, not everyone has the cojones to admit it.

  7. You guys are awesome–thank you for your words–some days this is the only connection I get and require. I think that’s strange, and then comments like these happen and then it’s not so strange.

    It is good to know that when I do emerge and pop my head, there are folks there. Thank you for your patience.

  8. Liz

    Wow Jade, I’m so sorry you are having a rough time. I’m sure you will round a corner and things will brighten up soon. You seem like a very strong person. Thank goodness you have the comfort of a good husband. I’m 44 and dread, dread, dread the day I lose my best friend- my Mom. I have to push the thoughts away and stay in the day. Just stay in the day my friend. Don’t bother thinking ahead- we have no control anyway. Hugs*

  9. I see your comments all the time on one of the blogs I frequent, but I’d never checked out your blog until now. You’re deep, and I don’t mean that in a flip way. It’s all so impermanent–life and thoughts about life.

  10. Liz: Oh yes–the thought of losing the most precious person in our lives is dreadful!!! Having lost a family member recently in such a sudden fashion has awakened me the harsh reality of that–I am watching my father-in-law reel in grief from the loss of his love, and it’s like watching my life in fast forward. It’s unbearable to think of it, isn’t it? And you are wise–we have no control. And here I am, trying to prepare! 🙂

    ybonesy: Thank you for the compliment…and yes it is both ridiculous and profound to think about life and death. Like we have answers at all! But yet, we still keep striving to understand. I find that so quizzical, and here I am, aware of both dimensions and yet still searching.

  11. Pingback: Speaker Spotlight: Christine Lee | Press Publish

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