The Other End of Sunset

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's an anniversary

365 days ago, today. At 1:30 Pacific time, at home in Danville, California, JR died from bile duct cancer.

I'm in Asia, and hence many hours ahead. So I got to the anniversary before you all did. Please forgive me for jumping the gun, slightly, on the actual anniversary (it's the evening of the 22nd in Danville, so I'm early.)

I wrote about her death, here.

I wrote an Elegy for her, while she was alive, here. It made her cry, and hug me, and feel loved.

Although I said I would, I don't think I ever posted her picture. So here's one.

A bad picture of me, but that's ok. This was taken at a holiday party by my best friend a few years ago. Jeanne is in the midst of making some sarcastic crack -- I don't remember what, but I recognize the semi-smile on her face as the expression she wore when she was "commenting".

She was lovely, and kind, and gentle. She had a wicked sense of humor, and loved high heel shoes. She always wanted pearls, and a Jaguar, and to be loved by a person more than she loved them. She loved dogs, and hated injustice, and thought that there was always time to shop.

She was lovely, wasn't she?

I can see her, in my mind's eye, now; the picture is fuzzed ever so slightly by the tears, but it's still clear. In the last year, I guess I've changed. I have some gray hair, which is new. I have lost weight, which was probably good. I have more tattoos.

But I still feel the grief. I'm not sure if I feel enough. In the romantic stories, the widower is completely broken for years afterwards. Perhaps I should be debilitated by it, as well. For me, the grief is like carrying a backpack -- it's heavy, too heavy, and often throws me off balance, and I forget it's there and hit people with it in crowded situations.

I wonder if I'm doing it right.

I miss you, JR. I hope you are warm, and happy, and dressed in a very nice dress with 5 inch heels, and a glass of scotch, and looking at something that you haven't finished painting, but you plan to finish, really soon.

For those of you who knew her, or know me, or are willing, please do me a favor? On June 23rd, at 1:30pm (in your time zone), find someone you love, or someone you care about, or someone you SHOULD care about, and give them a hug.

Jeanne would like that.


  • Hi Douglas,

    How have you been? I'm sure I did that at 1.30pm on 23rd June in Singapore but that was before I read your post. It made me earn a parking ticket but I've no regrets about that! Hope you're enjoying life now.


    By Anonymous Wayne, at 1:20 AM  

  • You look really good together. You look happy and exactly where you were supposed to be at that moment the picture was taken. And Jeanne is...more than beautiful; she’s a knock-out. I think you were both fortunate to have loved each other.

    By Blogger Lena, at 6:06 PM  

  • If you are lucky in life, you meet someone who instantly knows who you are and what you are about. They know your strengths and weaknesses and see the potential you never thought you had. You don’t need to play games, you don’t need to wear your mask. You know in your heart they see right through the mask and any attempt at your smoke and mirrors game is a waste of time. They know you, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. They not only accept you for who you are but challenge you to be better, stronger, to reach for things you never believed were possible for you. They believe in you the way no one ever has. If you are lucky in life, you meet someone who is smarter than you, who is funnier than you, who enjoys life more than you and you instantly want to be like them. You want to believe what they believe. You want to see the world the way they see the world. You want to walk around with that same smirk on your face that tells the world that you know something no one else knows. Jeanne was that person to me and I miss her very much. Today, like many many other Sundays this past year, I will sit in church and thank God for bringing her into my life and changing it.

    By Blogger GhettoSuperStar, at 10:34 AM  

  • We did and thought of both of you all weekend. There is no such thing as too much or too little grief. It's like a broken arm--it just is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:18 AM  

  • Hi Douglas,

    I stay in Singapore and I caught you at the IX Conference in Singapore last Thursday where you gave a very interesting presentation. I was searching all over the Internet to find your email address as I had some “brilliant idea” for Google until I ended up here. And I read your blog post on the anniversary of your beloved. I was so touched that my whole purpose of finding your email address changed and I felt strongly guided to reply to that post.

    Douglas, I don’t know you in person, and I cannot say that I understand your sorrow completely. But when I saw that picture of you and your beloved, that picture told me everything that words can’t. I was compelled to read the elegy you wrote for her. It was very touching. It reminded me of the beautiful book, Tuesdays with Morrie. My tears are flowing as I write this, me being an extremely emotional person by nature. I know and trust that JR is safe up above with the One who loves us all so much. And I also trust that she wants you to continue living life like you always did. To continue displaying the enthusiasm, even when the grief attacks, even when your positive self betrays you, even when you feel that the only person that you could ever share your deepest emotions with is no more. Because my friends, I for one believe that there is no entry, or departure, there is only migration. Bodies migrating, energies remaining. And I know that your beloved JR is still there with you. In your times of pain, need and company, all you need to do is call her name, visualize her, surrender yourself, and she will be there, right there. Within you, without you, around you, she surrounds you, here, there, everywhere will be JR. So while it’s a very tough patch of life you’re going through, remember that the one you love so much is still there. In many forms, she will speak to you. Sometimes through your colleagues she will speak, sometimes through songs she will sing, sometimes through billboard signs she will remind. She wants you to continue to live life like a warrior, full of zeal, full of energy, full of joy and full of love. She wants you to remember that your level of joy and love will only accentuate her level of joy and love on the other side. So my friend, keep on going strong in life. You will never be thrown a lesson tougher that you can handle. You will never be in situation where you will have no one to light the candle. And you will definitely never be in a situation where the flame is unkindled. Because your Beloved will always be there for you, if not by your side now, then from up above. The sun is the effulgent metaphor of life. Everything pales in comparison to its refulgence. It dissolves all darkness within, and yet is able to exude that same magnificent brightness even when it sets. And the Other End of Sunset is but the beautiful moon that prides itself in the darkness of the night. The most beautiful sight in the night that even puts the twinkling stars to shame. The love of poets ancient and modern alike, the favorite of both child and adult alike, the moon, a metaphor for beauty. She was the sun of your life and will always remain the moon in your life. She is still there with you, very strong, very close, very beautiful and very effulgent. Just that she has changed form, from sun-to-moon. Everything else is the same. God Bless and I will do a prayer for you two right now.

    PS: Perhaps I will talk to you about my “brilliant idea” for Google some other time. This is just not the right moment for that. My email is

    By Blogger Vishal, at 8:39 AM  

  • Hi Doug,
    Here is another one for you – to me, it reflects perfectly what I perceive from your posts about JR, including the anniversary one.
    I decided to quote the whole thing – it didn’t seem right when I tried to pick an excerpt.
    I think it’s a beautiful song. I’m sorry for your loss.

    “I drink good coffee every morning
    Comes from a place that's far away
    And when I'm done I feel like talking
    Without you here there is less to say
    I don't want you thinking I'm unhappy
    What is closer to the truth
    That if I lived till I was 102
    I just don't think I'll ever get over you
    I'm no longer moved to drink strong whisky
    'Cause I shook the hand of time and I knew
    That if I lived till I could no longer climb my stairs
    I just don't think I'll ever get over you
    Your face it dances and it haunts me
    Your laughter's still ringing in my ears
    I still find pieces of your presence here
    Even after all these years
    But I don't want you thinking I don't get asked to dinner
    'Cause I'm here to say that I sometimes do
    Even though I may soon feel the touch of love
    I just don't think I'll ever get over you
    If I lived till I was 102
    I just don't think I'll ever get over you”
    -- Colin Hay

    By Anonymous AG, at 10:26 PM  

  • I was with you in spirit on the 23rd, but didn't want to bring it up for fear of depressing you.

    By Blogger Bill Claxton, at 1:58 AM  

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