Life Lessons from a Natural-Born Teacher

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My friend Elizabeth has the serene and calming presence of many natural-born educators, and happens to be a teacher.

And, boy, has she taught me.

Still in treatment herself, she knew when to recommend I read “The Last Lecture,” and she knew what additional lessons perhaps only a survivor can truly impart to those suddenly thrust into cancer’s maelstrom.

She helped me wrap my brain around what my husband meant when he said that a terminal diagnosis could be harder on the spouse than the patient.

She and her husband offered up their own hard-earned experience to ease our sudden transition into a world not even doctors–unless they also are patients–understand.

They invited us up to their home for a rollicking last recording session with the Biff Jackson Group, an evening of belly laughs and home-cooked Italian food and an exegesis on the difference between People Who Like Parmesan and People Who Like Roman.

None of us knew that it would be the last night we spent out, enjoying the matchless company of friends.

They came to our home weeks later, as Jim was dying, and brought a table-sized family rolling board on which gnocchi were hand-cut for our youngest daughter while sauces bubbled on the stove to feed gathered family and friends.

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On March 22 of this year, five years to the day after Jim died, Elizabeth spoke about how she has come to appreciate life lived for nearly a decade with cancer.

Give yourselves a gift and read Elizabeth’s own words: “enjoy every moment you have, even the mundane ones. Every moment is an extraordinary gift you have been given. Ordinary is extraordinary. Every ordinary moment is the gift of life.”

May you enjoy every moment of your birthday today, Elizabeth. Each of them is the sum of wonders of love in all its forms.

As I look at the beaded pearls of water bringing light and depth to the brilliant colors of today’s newly bloomed flowers I remember sitting on the wildflower-strewn hill behind our home with you and Judy as you looked forward to your baby’s birth and told us about the friend whose name your daughter would be given–the baby who is now a beautiful young woman about to bring her gifts to college and the world beyond.

Hope and beauty, heartache and love, all part of each salty tear and each drop of rain.



Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school near the the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water; she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2023 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

2 thoughts on “Life Lessons from a Natural-Born Teacher”

  1. Stephanie, Gary and I read this together. We were both so touched. Thank you . elizabeth

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