“There’s a thing that keeps surprising you about stormy old friends after they die; their silence. -Ben Becht
“It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them.” -author unknown
Two months ago, my friend died. By now, the world expects I should be “over it.” Especially because when she died, we lived thousands of miles away. Even when we were in the same place, the basis of our friendship was work. Jodi was—and how I hate having to use that word– the Administrator in the PD office where I worked for about 7 years. She kept me company in irreverent humor; she had the ability to make me laugh no matter how dark the day seemed. She was smart and did not suffer fools, not even poorly. She had a tender side, witnessed by the many people she quietly befriended throughout her life, including other people and children with cancer, even while fiercely fighting her own. I still find myself scanning through my Facebook posts looking for one of her wry observations before I remember there won’t be another one.
While she wasn’t a runner, she understood me on a level that at least in part grew from a shared devotion to taking off and going on trips to pursue our respective passions. For Jodi, it was on her beloved Harley, most often with her friend Janice. I’ve been going back to Rapid in August to visit folks and run my friend’s race for the past few years. Soon after I returned home in 2014, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has two fantastic sisters and a great mom (Jodi was only 48) and was doing well on a Mayo-designed course of treatment. I saw her last August and she looked great, had some minor beefs with the med side-effects, but was her usual witty, down to earth and observant self. We’d been in touch over several things this year and I was looking forward to seeing her again in August.
She wrote something a few years ago, maybe about 6 months before her diagnosis, that captures a bit of her spirit. It’s strangely comforting, along with being good life advice. (Her last Harley is root beer colored: she called a really good ride “floating.”)
April 22, 2014 · Rapid City, SD ·by Jodi McDermand
LIFE LESSONS TAUGHT TO MY FINANCIAL ADVISER
Tonight was my annual meeting with my financial adviser and I went prepared for the same friendly lecture he gives me every year.
“Now Jodi, didn’t we talk about you doing….Now Jodi, why aren’t you….Now Jodi, what happened to you investing…..Now Jodi, you didn’t…..”
“Yeah Joe, I know. I didn’t do any of the things you told me to do or that I said I would.”
“Now Jodi tell me, at what age would you like to retire?”
“I don’t know Joe, I haven’t really thought about it.”
“Now Jodi, how much do you have in your 401K?”
“I don’t know Joe, I’ve never checked.”
“Now Jodi, what about tomorrow?”
“I don’t know Joe. I’m not really worried about it.”
“Now Jodi, how can you say that?”
“Well Joe, it’s like this. I’ve been paying attention to my life and I’ve decided I don’t want to live it like so many people do. In a hurry for something else to happen – tomorrow, or next week or a year from now. I don’t want to spend my time in a hurry or worrying about things that haven’t happened. Instead I want to focus on today and I’ll worry about tomorrow if and when the time comes.”
“Now Jodi, when you do retire, do you think you’ll have enough money set aside to be able to do the things you enjoy?”
“I don’t know Joe, but what I do know is this: When the time comes for me to retire I will never look back and have regrets about the memories I’ve made getting there. I’ll never regret the money I spent on my motorcycles or all the money it took to keep them serviced.
I won’t look back and say to myself if only I hadn’t wasted all that money on road trips, and the millions trips I took to Yellowstone.
Or, damn it, if only I hadn’t taken that trip to Glacier where I finally got to mark off my bucket list seeing a bear and Floating the Road to the Sun. Or what about that time I Floated southern Utah and spent all that money on a national parks pass but got to witness Zion, Grand Staircase, Capital Reef, Arches and Dead Horse State Park? And wasn’t that the same trip I wasted all that money but got to Float the Moki under a full moon?
And holy crap! I spent a ton of money that weekend I rode Idaho! And I want my money back from the trip to WA and Floating the Pacific coast highway!!! Those weekend trips riding to Bozeman to eat at the Naked Noodle were so frivolous of me. And what a waste of money on countless tanks of gas and a ridiculous amount of money spent on tires getting me!!! Joe, you’re right. If only I hadn’t spent all the money on doing the things I loved, when I was able to do, I’d be able to retire with a ton of money in the bank but absolutely no memories to go with it. Joe, I might not have much money when I retire but I will have a ton of memories and that will be worth more to me than any amount of money.”
“Jodi, I have to tell you, I have never met anybody quite like you. And please know that is a compliment.”