Remembering Julia Seyffert

5732_1192888055904_4889487_nI met Julia Seyffert while I was living at the Bay Shore House. She was a sweet woman with a big heart. She was one of the people that opened her home to me and let me help her get organized. Some of her friends are hosting a memorial service that I cannot attend today, but I wanted to make sure that she is remembered fondly.

Her story, in my mind, is one of the great American tragedies. Marrying relatively late in life, a few years into their partnership, her husband Peter contracted cancer and subsequently dissolved the relationship within the year, dying at home in their bed. Within the year that followed, as she was dealing with the crushing blow of not only losing the love of her life, but also having to watch him whither away before her very eyes, Julia contracted cancer herself and lost both of her breasts. In the time that followed, Julia continued to fight with her cancer, but ultimately lost the battle and retired from this business of human suffering in April.

Despite her hardships, Julia was always ready with a smile and , until the cancer made her too fragile to squeeze, she gave incredible heartfelt hugs. In her last months, she was transferred to hospice and a nursing home due to her increasing weakness and growing dementia. Although she had a pretty good supply of pharmaceutical pain killers in the hospital, there were a number times she wanted to leave so she could simply go home and smoke a joint, what seemed to her to be the best treatment for combination of chemo and cancer.

Julia and I had many conversations about creating a collective of artists and citizens, and helping to develop new ways to meet people’s needs beyond continuing to empower an ineffective government to take on yet more responsibility that it can’t handle. In many respects, she was an incredible visionary, and it breaks my heart that she will be unable to participate in so many of the projects we discussed that are finally coming into manifestation. Julia and I had a very special relationship, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to know her while she was here.

Cherish those that share your life with you. We are all here for such brief glimmers of time. May we all shine as brightly as we can given the light that is within us, so that even when our lives are eventually dimmed, our spirits will shine on into eternity.

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