Oh, how these last few years of yours and Dan’s lives has broken my heart. It never even entered my consciousness that he wouldn’t beat the cancer.
So many things I’d love to share with you.
#1 Thank you for the new pictures and stories you put on Dan’s website at intervals. I was so grateful to read where he was still sailing into October. And ice skating with bone mets. It appears that he LIVED life to the end- whatta phenomenal gift to both himself and you. It’s lovely to see what yours and his lives were like. It gives me such peace to see how you two “fit” so beautifully.
#2 Thank you for being his love. I remember seeing him in IL in 1972 (a little dive in Chicago), then I finally got a backstage pass around 1991 or 92 at a Pittsburgh concert and met him. His presence was big but I was overwhelmed by the stark loneliness and sadness that emanated from his soul- it was so palpable. But once he met you and there were pics of the two of you together AND seeing him in concert, it was obvious he had found his home in you. Thank you for loving him and being with him to the very end, Jean. As an RN of 33 years, I have seen illness tear families apart. What a gift you gave him being there for you.
#3 I use Dan’s music a lot in my nursing life. His soft ballads lowered babies heart rates in the NICU, enabling them to sleep more, thus gaining weight more quickly and leaving the hospital sooner. I used it with adult comatose patients while I rendered care to them, and we had one man, who was alienated from his family, come out of his coma (totally unexpected) who said he had to tell his family he loved them and to apologize to them for being an SOB. “What was that song you kept playing me?” he asked. “Longer” I replied. At some point in his physical/emotional/spiritual healing, he realized how deeply he had wronged his family (this man never had one visitor while in the hospital). Longer helped open this man’s heart to love.
#4 So you would think that with all of my nursing experience I would never be a casualty of healer’s burnout. For the last 17 years I have cared for my ailing folks, with my mom passing 2 years ago. At which point my body totally broke down. Emotionally and spiritually I KNEW she was in a better place and I rejoiced in her passing- she had had Alzheimers for 12 years and was in a vegetative state for 5 years. But I was shocked at how my body TOTALLY failed me. CT scan showed 2 spots on pancreas and left kidney and panic set in. I had NO energy and could barely get out of bed. Needless to say, it was time for change.
In these two years I have learned, for the first time, that there is a “self” in my life, to love myself, put myself on my own “to-do” list and realize my health is just as important as all of the people I have given care to my entire life. At 53 years of age. Over these last 2 years I have healed myself using holistic measures and am strong, content, and in my body for the first time ever in my life. Belive it or not (and I know you will), these “spots” were the turning point in my life to wake up. And my, how rich my life has become by facing and walking thru my demons and old ways of living that no longer work for me now. Ways that made me ill.
#5 Thank you for caring for yourself, Jean. For all of us who loved Dan and his music and words, you entered our hearts and families when you came into his life and world. I am so grateful you see the value in “YOU”. You are as beloved as Dan was.
When all is said and done, I say this: you did a grande job, Jean. I hope you see this and know this in every cell of your body. Good job, Jean, good job.
I can’t wait to hear Dan’s final album. Can’t pre-order it yet from Amazon, but when I can, there’ll be my order for 6 of them!
You are blessed, Jean. Stay well, stay strong, and know whatever you are feeling is all OK. Tears are as cleansing as joy is and it’s all part of the process of living. May the rest of your days be ones of your beautiful creation.