When I first moved here three years ago I kept reading about and seeing photographs of Jackie Lee Houston. I unfortunately never got to meet her face to face, but I found out that she passed away yesterday.
Mrs. Houston, who’s helped pioneer such events as the Palm Springs International Film Festival and helped countless local non-profit organizations, passed away yesterday here in the Valley with her husband, Mr. Jim Houston, by her side.
Valley leaders expressed their sorrow at the loss of Mrs. Houston.
“Jackie Lee Houston was a truly remarkable woman with the biggest heart I have ever known. She was a wonderful lady who could always be counted on to help those in need and she cared deeply for the Palm Springs community she called home for so many years,” said to Mayor Pougnet. “She truly was our City’s guardian angel — and there will never be another Jackie Lee. A bright star has gone out in our City – and we will miss her terribly. On behalf of the citizens of Palm Springs, I want to extend my deepest condolences to Jim and the Houston family.”
She leaves behind an amazing legacy, I don’t know if a week ever went by when I didn’t see her picture in the paper attending and supporting so many different events. I was saddened at the news that I will never have the opportunity for a face to face meeting but her legacy will continue without her.
I have always been a huge believer that every one has a story to tell. As each day I meet more and more people I am always amazed at the lives that we all live. I love asking questions and seeking why people are the way they are. I love to listen to what is being said, and what I find even more fascinating is what is the story that is not being told.
Some of our stories from our youth are painful and the thought of writing it down and “reliving” those memories are enough to stop people in their tracks and never pick up that pen.
My question to you is what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of realizing the truth that you are an amazing person? We all have areas in our lives that are hard to look at. The important aspect of writing is that when you look at your life you will see yourself more clearly.
I do believe that every one should write the story that wants to be told. We all have those stories. They may be the fun times of our youth or you may have a painful story that needs to be released. You don’t ever have to share your writing with anyone, but the important piece is writing and releasing. You may be surprised what it feels like to release that burden and load you have been carrying around for years.
It has been a joy and a privilege to lead so many women (and now men) in the journey of writing their memoirs. I will begin teaching my Leaving a Legacy Series in October as well as a new series. I will be posting my schedule in the next few weeks.
Why don’t you start now in the privacy of your journal and see what story comes to mind…
Writing for me is a passion. I write each day, whether it is something in my journal or on the computer. I realized the other day that I write because I want to remember and because I want to be remembered. Ok, I am going to admit something to you…I love reading the obituaries. I no longer get the physical paper, but I read the paper online, from the local Desert Sun, to my hometown San Jose Mercury News to even venturing off to read the LA Times. Here is what I love about reading the obituaries, it gives me a glimpse into who that person was. I especially like it if there is a picture that goes with the obituary. I always wonder who was the one to choose the picture. You all know what I mean, sometimes the picture is of them when they were much younger and other times it looks as if they were already dead and gone, I mean really people…give them some respect!! But truthfully, it is not the picture that I care about so much but what is written. I have a special binder where I save some of these obituaries. The questions pour through my mind, such as who wrote it, what they say, is the deceased quoted or do they use someone else’s quotes. But what I am really interested in, deep down is what is their legacy they are leaving behind. I want to know what did they do to make the world a better place.
I am inspired by reading the obituaries because I am reminded that life is precious. Obituaries are generally full of the elderly, but sprinkled throughout are the young who seemed to die way before they should have. So many times I feel as I read about the children who have passed on that they lived each day with a sense of purpose. Their legacy was about living in the moment, being fully present. Each time I read about a younger persons death, it reminds me that life is precious, whether you live to be 100 or only 10.
Each obituary represents a celebration of a life. I think a great exercise to do is to practice writing your obituary. What is it that you want to say about yourself, and what is it that you want others to remember you for? This exercise will allow you to contemplate what is the legacy you want to leave behind? Every one of us can leave a legacy behind, start thinking about yours. Live your life more purposely and more present…start this very instant!
Another thought to think about is what are you learning? I have just found the video function on my blackberry and thanks to the magic of youtube you can see my creations (I posted 5 I think!) You can go to youtube.com and do a search for mstammy64 and that should take you to my videos. Maybe I can start making video journals as well, just a thought!