Friday, August 08, 2014

Raspberry Patches/Chick-o-Sticks: Celebrating a Life

We’ve all lost loved ones, but what keeps us going and what keeps us smiling are the moments we spent together, the minutiae of the day—the walks, the talks, the shared cups of coffee (let’s be honest, the trips to Dub’s).

It’s the fact that we went on part of this great journey called "life" together that is really important.

And whether it was a short walk, or a long one, what crystallizes in my mind, like scenes from a movie, are those wonderful little vignettes that we celebrate. 

We all have different beginning and endings, but those aren’t as important as the time spent between the two, the place where we truly live.

I don’t particularly care for visiting graveyards because no one ever lived there.

There are no memories there, and although some physical remains may be present, the spirit lives by a code of wanderlust that cannot be satiated by dirt and grass and marble.

There’s a name, a beginning date, and an end date. . . but the truth is, that person lives on in you.

You carry them with you wherever you go, and if you were lucky enough to have shared experiences together, it’s visiting those places where you feel most close to them.

It still seems like yesterday, even though it was years ago now that Marianne Love and I were on her farm, picking raspberries and eating Chick-O-Sticks with Jenny Meyer and her daughter Grace while filming our documentary, “Jenny’s Journal.”

Whenever I pick raspberries, I think of that moment when Jenny laughed while Grace went on a berry-eating rampage. It brings Jenny alive again and again.

Listening to Jenny laugh in the face of the inevitable and seeing her smile even though it wasn’t a smiley kind of day was pretty special.

Just being in her presence when her eyes twinkled as she talked about her daughter Grace’s latest accomplishment—those are the memories I cherish.

And although I will miss the Celebrate Life walk this year, at some point very soon I will sit on the bench dedicated to her on the Long Bridge . . . feel the wind against my face . . . watch a train go across the bridge…and remember when she did the walk all those years ago with Grace on her shoulders.

Jenny was crying and laughing at the same time, moved to tears by the support of our little community of Sandpoint. Whenever I think of that, I feel as close to her as ever.

Even though Jenny’s body failed her in the end, her spirit always soared in the sky---never bounded by the same restraints of the physical world. Anyone who knew her understood that.

I guess that’s why so many can still feel our loved ones around us. It’s why I can look up at the night sky and ask them for guidance, because they are among the stars, and in my mind, just a raspberry patch away.

A huge thanks to Jenny’s sister Julie Walkington and the countless others who have helped make Celebrate Life an annual tradition: one that gives us all a chance to slow down and appreciate those around us . . . as well as those who have gone ahead of us.

                    --Jeff Bock, Sandpoint High Class of 1992 Classmate and forever friend of Jenny. 

CELEBRATE LIFE Annual walk/fun run begins tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the north end of the Long Bridge aka Dog Beach.

Celebrate Life Fun Run/Walk is an annual fundraising event held on the second Saturday of August.  The run, walk or ride across Sandpoint’s scenic Long Bridge is a gathering of family, friends and neighbors doing just that—celebrating life.

It began in 2004, the vision of a courageous and beautiful young woman, Jenny Meyer, who was diagnosed at age 26 with an aggressive form of breast cancer.  Jenny’s valiant fight inspired her sister, Julie Walkington, to make a difference for not only Jenny, but for others in this community with a cancer diagnosis.  Having coped with the bureaucracies and rigors of cancer treatment, Jenny envisioned simple gestures with no strings attached.  She knew that these acts of kindness and compassion would be welcomed and appreciated by those enduring treatment and by their loved ones facing the journey with them.

Celebrate Life generates funds through its annual event and from generous business sponsors and private donors.  

Monies raised are distributed locally through Bonner General Hospital’s Outpatient ClinicHospiceHome Health and Kootenai Cancer Center at BGH.  Assistance is provided in a variety of practical and unique ways:  grocery and gas vouchers, massages, firewood, housecleaning assistance, airfare, medication, medical equipment, car repairs, monetary gifts and special requests. 

Celebrate Life also supports individual cancer benefits throughout the year.

Jeff Bock, Marianne Love, Jenny Meyer share another special moment.

If you cannot participate in tomorrow's annual event but would still like to donate to this wonderful community cause, visit or you can simply send your donation to 

Celebrate Life
PO Box 420
Ponderay, Idaho 83852

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