Me Before You

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20140301-163914.jpgFriday night was the second meeting of my book club, and I am SO enjoying this new addition to my life. I have wanted for ages to be in a book club, but never knew of one or had enough friends who were interested. But now I am in one, and I love it!

This month’s book (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes) was such a good/difficult one for me because of all the issues and emotions it forced me to think about and consider. Without giving anything away, I will just say that one of the main characters is hit by a car in the first few pages of the book which doesn’t kill him but leaves him a quadriplegic in constant pain unable to do anything for himself, and the majority of the novel entails his relationship with a caretaker and how they change each other’s lives/perspectives.

Of course this storyline resonated with me, not only because of the life-altering effects of the car accident, but more because of how one person’s tragedy can be the catalyst for others to quit wasting their lives and get busy living. My story might better be titled, “Me Without You” because it was only in losing Joey that I was able to see how much life I wasn’t living. This book club itself is another example of something I wanted to do but never did.

One of the things I feel that Joey and I have always had in common is our approach to friendship. We are both all or nothing friends. We’re typically loyal and wholehearted, and over the years we both got hurt by people who don’t do friendship that way.* But unlike Joe, I used that hurt as an excuse to withdraw from community, where he had the confidence to just keep looking for or create the right community.

Becoming more active, joining the local YMCA, getting involved with my local moms of multiples group, and now joining a book club are all steps that have led me to begin building a community of friends who I can “do life” with. And that is exactly what I believe life is all about and what I think Joey would be most proud of. Because I know as his sister, I am most proud of how may people have said to me, “I’m a better person for having known him.” That’s the legacy I’m striving to leave behind when my days come to an end, as well.

***Note: I have had and still do have great friends from my past, and I hope they know this is in no way a dismissal of their importance in my life, but most of these relationships are with people who are no longer geographically close to me and are therefore not able to be a part of my community as such.

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