While looking for something else on the World Wide Web this week, I discovered a fresh voice of wisdom, writing out of St. Paul. The writer is Emilie Lemmons, her blog is lemmondrops, and within 15 minutes of discovering her and her taste in music, books, movies, and reading about her Catholic faith, I learned that she was dead – of cancer, at 40.
It was a jarring ‘net moment that speaks to this time-space matrix we all find ourselves in as we traverse the unknown countries of past and present blogs, status updates, tweets, and living and dead social media accounts. Though it was brief, I was genuinely moved when Emilie left our conversation: The real-life equivalent would be of standing at a party, getting to know someone interesting and looking forward to sharing more, and then having her step outside and getting hit by a bus.
Lemmondrops comes with the tagline “Sweet and sour stories of life, love, and little ones,” and this bio:
“I’m Emilie, a writer and mother to two young boys, married to my best friend and living in St. Paul, Minnesota. I was diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma August 2007, while pregnant with our youngest son. Cancer sucks. But we are all living life to the fullest in spite of it.”
Emilie documented her plight of chemo treatment and ups and downs for all to read (upon her passing, Molly Guthrey penned a tribute to her on the front page of the Pioneer Press), and while I didn't know her in life, I believe I was meant to stumble upon her blog as a reminder to love the ones you’re with while we can, and to further share her calm, sometimes withering, voice. In November 2007 she wrote,
“Every day something triggers me wondering if I am going to live long enough for my sons to know me, for me to be able to watch them grow up. It’s not fear or anxiety that occupies my mind at those moments, but a certain sense of sadness and urgency and awareness that I don’t know the hour nor the day – that none of us do, really – and we’d best live with a sense of purpose, of what is important to us, not superficially but deep down.
"My friend Johanna posted a poem on her blog by Mary Oliver that ends like this:
'Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is your plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?'
"Our wild and precious lives, indeed.”
On Christmas Eve, 2008, Emilie’s husband, Stephen Lemmons, posted:
“Emilie passed away in her sleep last night. I was holding her hand as she faded away. I loved her and will miss her dearly, but I am happy to see her free of this pain and suffering. Emilie wanted me to share the following quote after she died.
“And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
"And what did you want?
"To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.”