“Life is a precious gift, and I don’t intend to waste a day of it. Have I experienced tragedy? Yes, I have. But it would be another real tragedy if I didn’t recover from the sadness I have felt and thus missed the many happy moments along the way. Was my dream crushed? Yes, it was. And that will happen again. But when it does, I will pick up those pieces and create something new.” – Jai Pausch
I remember I shed bucket loads of tears when I first saw Randy Pausch’s “The last lecture” in Sep, 2007. And I have no idea how many times I’ve watched it since. At that time, Randy was suffering from pancreatic cancer & doctors had given him the final blow. He had only 2-3 months to live. But when you watch the hour long video, all you see is humor, passion for life, his upbeat & joyful nature. One moment in that video that broke my heart is when he calls his wife on stage to blow the candle on the gigantic cake she was surprised with. She hugs him & all I could think was what she should have told him at that moment. Following his video & word of mouth, he became an overnight sensation. I started following his blog like crazy where he kept updating his health status. So many people were praying for his good health & hoping for a miracle. He published a book bearing the same name as his video with a co-author. And it’s indeed no surprise; I bought the book when it came out. I just couldn’t wait to grab my own copy and read it as a memoir. And it’s in there that he mentioned what his wife said to him when she hugged him during that seminar. She said “Please don’t die.” You know life is made of magical moments like these. I couldn’t even imagine what a life Jai would lead after his death. How unbearably hard it would be for her to be a single parent to a 6,3,2 year old in tow.
I hadn’t thought about them in a very long time. You know with time everything heals. It indeed puts you in situations where you tend to forget things which at some point meant something to you. That’s exactly what happened with me. With every passing day, their memory started fading and I got busy with my daily routine of living life. It’s now time took me back in the same pace because his wife Jai has written a memoir chronicling her life from the moment it took a turn. It’s a poignant read and you connect with her at a very personal level. She talks about her hardships, nightmares and her life post Randy. And of new promises and dreams and a new man in her and her kids’ life. The book has such a positive outlook that having gone through a tragedy how she picked up the pieces and moved on not only for her kids but also for herself and her sanity. It’s about her courage, hope and optimism to have a bright and happy life. It’s her daily effort to keep those sweet memories of the past alive in her present that moves you to tears. The balance she is still trying to strike between the present and the past is what the essence of this book is and what makes you connected to her at some level.