by Andrea Goeglein
“But I am going to die!” That was the response I received from Lily Salm during a phone conversation that made me burst into laughter. I had called to check in on the spirited woman who came into my life when I was writing Don’t Die with Your Song Unsung.
Lily and I met once back in 2011, until I arranged to have coffee with her in June of 2015. Three weeks later, I received what would be my last call from Gary Russo, telling me Lily was terminally ill. He asked me to call her. Gary said Lily would like that. Since July, I have called and written Lily on a regular basis. I enjoy visiting her each time I make a trip to New York. On my upcoming trip, however, I knew I would not have time to make a visit. I called to let Lily know my plans.
Lily and I were having a wonderful phone conversation. She was telling me about all the love that surrounds her and about a Hospice priest who comes to visit regularly. She proudly told Fr. Ray she is an atheistic Jew who does not believe in God. She told me he was fine with that and they share a whiskey when he comes to visit.
Then it happened. She asked when my next trip to New York would be. I told her in a few weeks to celebrate my Dad’s 95th birthday and to go to Palm Sunday Mass with my Mom. She said, “When are you coming to see me?” I responded that I would not be able do that on this trip. Without a moments hesitation she said, “But I am dying.” Just as quickly I said, “Lily we are all dying, you just have been given fair warning.” She grumbled a bit and then asked, “Is your husband coming on this trip?” When I said yes she showed the spirit I have come to know and love saying, “Oh good, send him. I like him better than you anyway.”
Whether or not we are going to die is a given.
Being able to speak your truth respectfully, and continue to speak until you are heard, is what living is all about. Many conversations will not be easy. Have them anyway. Care enough to confront those in your life and you will live through uneasy moments instead of slug through dreaded decades. So far, in addition to Lily telling me she prefers Richard to me, she has also informed me that she read Don’t Die Waiting to Be Brave and she does not like it. It is too serious.
In case you were wondering, yes. Yes, Richard is going to visit Lily on our upcoming trip!
Dr. Success Challenge: Today, and everyday, live by author, Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements especially, ‘don’t take anything personally’.
Be happy. Be honest. Be brave, Andrea