It was December 10, 2011 and the late afternoon dusk was settling in. As I entered the living room, my wife, Ivy, asked, “Can we talk?” I could tell by her voice that this was important and immediately replied, “Yeah babe.” With a solemn look on her face, she delivered the news, “I’m ready to transition.” Transition was the word we had chosen that best described our philosophy on death. Not an end, rather a transition. After nearly five years of metastatic breast cancer invading her bones, liver, skin, and brain, Ivy made the most courageous decision that anyone could ever make. The weight of her proclamation knocked me back into our overstuffed leather chair. Yet, what she said next is why this blog needs to be written.
Ivy’s 5’ 4’’ 105 lb frame loomed over my slumped body. With a penetrating look, she powerfully announced, “You’re gonna do great!” Tears welled up; I turned away, and sternly spoke, “No, don’t say that.” I refused to receive those words. The phrase I heard inside my own head sounded like, “You’re gonna do great…without me.” I wasn’t prepared to wrap my mind around that, so I pushed it away. We sat on the couch, held each other, and cried.
A few weeks later, as she had determined, Ivy made her transition. Just over two years removed, I hear her words differently now. Perhaps as she had initially intended. “You’re gonna do great” is the truth. That’s how Ivy was. She saw great in people. She understood that greatness is present in all of us. Much like the oak tree exists in the acorn and the butterfly resides within the caterpillar. Everything required for your own personal greatness is present—right here—right now.
Ivy loved words, and on that December day she meant that phrase as a gift for me. She also believed in giving away our gifts and would not have expected me to keep this truth to myself. It took awhile to sink in—for me to believe it. So, it’s time to share this powerful message with you. Resist the urge to push it away or deny it. Simply receive it. On behalf of Ivy Cavanaugh-Schlentz: You’re Gonna Do Great!
Leave your comments: What’s your initial reaction to the phrase, “You’re gonna do great”?