July and August – They Just Did a “Flyby”

Two months gone. Summer ending (in some places but it’s still hanging on in Texas). Going into September and October in Texas means football (not soccer – football), school zones and a little bit of color in the trees. July and August are truly a blur – most of the time spent preparing for trip to Canada, the actual trip to Canada and Post-Canada depression!

During 2012, our Postcrossing groups came to know a particularly brave, sweet young woman from The Netherlands. Her name was Sophie Jacobi. In late spring or early summer, we became aware that Sophie was very sick. She was born with many respiratory problems including COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) which was genetically inherited. We sent her cards and small gifts to try to bring a smile, but it was Sophie who made us smile. She underwent very dangerous surgery and made it through. The tragic fact was that she needed a lung transplant and one never came in time. Sophie died August 22nd. She was 26 years old.

Sophie will remain with those of us who knew her as a bright, kind and hope-filled spirit. She represented bravery in fighting her diseases and humility in truly accepting the things she could not change. But Sophie did change all of us. I have a photo of her with a small gift I sent. I’ll treasure that photo and just looking at it reminds me how very important it is to be an organ donor if you can. She taught me to take nothing for granted.

She reminded me of Randy Pausch, the author of “The Last Lecture.” He wrote the book knowing he was dying of cancer. Like Sophie, he faced each day no matter how hard it was. He looked forward, not back, and neither asked, “Why me?” One thing he said stays with me:

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”

That quote leads me to sharing a poem I discovered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, at an art exhibition of Emily Carr’s work. It was something she wrote in 1924 just days before a friend’s major surgery. I read it just a few days after Sophie died, not knowing she was gone, but feeling overwhelming certainty she’d left us when I was reading this poem. Here is a bit of it:

Dream Garden

To me the dream was this.
It was the garden of my dear friend’s soul.
High walled by quiet and loving deeds
Done quietly by her day by day for man and beast.
The Fountain, – ah! At that she drinks,
And in the shadows cool and quiet she walks with God.
And what about the tunnel. Lo! To every soul some shadows come.
But she hath naught to fear in this dark spot
Tis but one moment ere she turns and finds
The sunshine gleaming thru the other arch
And her dear garden fair all bright agleam with flowers before her.
And so I slowly climbed the stair
It was not mine this garden
I dare not linger there.
~Emily Carr

One late afternoon in Jasper, Alberta Canada, after a brief rainfall, my sister-in-law, Dianne, and I watched a rainbow form on the left of the horizon. As the minutes passed, the rainbow grew wider and arched higher toward the skies. As it made its way to the right horizon, an amazing thing happened – it became a double rainbow of the most brilliant colors we had ever seen. It was an experience that made you incapable of speech or even thought. You could only absorb the strength and beauty.

That made it a wonderful trip.


My July & August Inbox!
Going Out in July/August
From Sophie

~ by Wheeler on September 8, 2012.

One Response to “July and August – They Just Did a “Flyby””

  1. Wonderful Michelle, Sophie will be proud and is smiling to us from the rainbow !!

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