Posted by: drjamm | June 26, 2009

Leap from the ordinary

Dear blogging friends, I got the sad news a couple of weeks ago that a friend of mine died of illness. I wanted to honour that friendship in my spiritual space — bright heart singing — because this friend brought Light and Laughter into my life and, in doing so, enriched my Spirit.

Leap from ordinary290

I opened the email and read:

“our good friend Jerry has passed away.”

What? I simply couldn’t understand the sentence and had re-read it. Jerry died at the age of 70 after struggling with Cancer and other health complications. I stopped reading the email and cried. I didn’t even know he was critically ill. I was shocked by the news. Then I got up and did the laundry — and cried. I just numbly thought to myself, “So this is now my life without Jerry” as I walked through my day. I called my husband and cried. I called my friends who knew Jerry and cried some more.

Leap from ordinary290_2

Moments after reading the email I thought, “Damn! I didn’t even wish him Happy Birthday even though several weeks had past since his birthday.” Jerry had emailed me his new story about his bittersweet experience of turning 70. It was Jerry’s way of saying to us all that he was struggling with the whole turning 70 “scene.”  I kept meaning to call or visit the next time I was in town. I delayed my visit/call/email because I was trying to think of something thoughtful to say — or do — but I just let my life get too busy.

I had a small gift I wanted to give Jerry. I had found the perfect box for him at the Free Store nearly two years ago. The box had pictures of frogs on artistic lily pads with a caption that said “Leap from the ordinary.” There is no description of what used to be in the box, but I knew it would be perfect for Jerry who favoured the frog as a spirit companion and routinely made a point of practicing the “leap from the ordinary.” Somehow I couldn’t decide on what to put IN the box, however, so I delayed giving the gift. The box sat in my house waiting for me to “get it right.” And now I would never have that chance. Oh Jerry, I did not want this awkward lapse on my part to be our final unfinished conversation!

Jerry was the embodiment of a “leap from the ordinary” with his wicked sense of humour and his propensity for dabbling in every manner of adventure and mis-adventure. He was a gifted writer who spun many a humourous yarn. He even turned a trip to a colonics clinic into a hilarious page-turner. Everyone who knew Jerry would agree: he was the ultimate “character.” I loved him and my life was blessed by our few simply visits together.

Leap from ordinary290_3Jerry — aka “Jeronimo” — was my frog loving, wasp fearing, Oklahoma raised, Haight/Ashbury hippy, Jewish, writer/radio comedy talk show co-host, and Jin Shin Do healer extraordinare — and a very sweet friend. I found Jerry to be so compassionate about my struggles. I think his Kwan Yin like capacity for compassion came from living his life so full that he had literally “been there, done that,” and always could give me insight into my predicament.

I had to get on with my day after reading the sad news that my friend was gone on his Ultimate Adventure. At some point in the day, I stopped crying and did all those things I had to do: sent emails, made dinner, went to rehearsal — all very ordinary things that seemed surreal because it felt like I was breaking a new Jerry-less trail in my life. I step, step, stepped through my “regular, ordinary” day until it was bed time. But I couldn’t sleep at all. Suddenly, at 4:00 AM I remembered that Jerry had left a gift for us all after his passing.

Leap from ordinary290A year ago I had asked Jerry to be the first contributor to my Sound Memories project: a library of audio recordings of loved ones reading their own, or others, work that had a deep and personal meaning for them. I asked Jerry if he would “bless” my project and be the first to donate tracks of his reading of his favourite work. Our session together was absolutely “just right.” I was touched and honoured by the creative use Jerry made of the recording opportunity. And so, at 4:00 AM, years before I thought I would need to gather them up, I went to my computer and located Jerry’s Sound Memories and played each one.

Then I wept —  splashing tears all over my keyboard — because I knew my neglect over Jerry’s birthday was not my last unfinished conversation with my friend. I knew that Jerry and I had already planned our “last conversation” with each other a year earlier. Our new, never-ending conversation involved delivering his Sound Memories to his family and the wider community according to his wishes. At last, now I knew what I would be putting in that “perfect frog box.” I knew I would be making a CD of Jerry’s recordings, placing the CD in the box, and handing this gift to his family and friends at his celebration of life planned one month from now. I knew that we would all want to listen to our dear friend read — out loud — what he found to be personally and spiritually meaningful. I knew, also, that Jerry had found a way to remind us all to make a daily practice of taking a “leap from the ordinary.”

Oy vey, Jerry, my wise-mensch-and-foolish-Frog-Prince friend, I miss you lots already and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gifts of healing, laughter, and friendship.

Mazal tov, my friend, and may you find many more great stories to write as you take your Giant Leap From the Ordinary!

Leap from ordinary290_5

*******       bright heart singing                              credits and links             *******

Image credits: If you recognize this “frog-and-lily pad image” on my Free-Store-found box, please let me know so I may give proper acknowledgment to the artists and manufacturers of the box.

Sound Memories: if you want to contribute to, or learn more about the Sound Memories project, please send an email to the following address:

soundmemories email image

(type my address above into your email)

bright heart singing, copyright 2009 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)



  1. It is the Russian fairy-tale about a czarevitch to the frog

  2. thanks for the information about the Russian fairy-tale.
    Jessica @

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