As you probably know, Jess Ainscough, aka The Wellness Warrior, passed away last week after 7 years spent thriving with cancer.
I didn’t know Jess personally but I’d followed her online for the last few years and always found her articles positive and inspiring. Hers was one of the first wellness blogs I came across – opening my eyes to not only to a beautiful, gentle and holistic approach to wellness but also to what I could do with my life and career.
When I found out she had passed on Friday afternoon, I was gutted to say the least. I was surprised how upset I felt at the passing of someone I didn’t know. Judging by the texts I’ve received and comments on social media, I’m not the only one who felt deeply saddened by the loss of this inspiring woman, despite not knowing her beyond her online presence. It’s been incredible to see the lives she touched and people she has helped, celebrate her life.
In the last couple of years, I’ve witnessed several people very close to me lose loved ones. Jess’ death reminded me of the gaping hole left when someone we loves leaves this world – a hole that can never be filled but that we have to learn to live with. Tears came when I thought of her partner, family, friends, and fur babies facing life without their Jess and my thought have been with them often since I heard the news.
Here’s what I wrote in my journal on Friday night:
“Death is such a strange thing. So emotional and so awakening in a way. It makes me think ‘Well, what’s the point? We all just die.’
But really what I think is more like; ‘What’s the point of worrying and stressing and not enjoying myself. What’s the point of doing what I ‘should’ do instead of what I actually want to do? What’s the point of frustration and complaints? What’s the point of putting up? What’s the point of being in pain and not doing anything about it? What’s the point of waiting for the right time?
What if life was about loving and having fun. What if all that matters is loving. What if life was about enjoying every moment and not getting bogged down in the crap that doesn’t matter anyway.
What if we stop trying to be where we’re not? What if we stop rushing towards some fictional destination? What if we start being and living like life is as precious as it is.
Compared to death, everything is so small that it just doesn’t matter. Money worries, drama, time pressure.
We should just surrender and be and love and enjoy.
The point is to love, what more could there be?”
These weren’t new thoughts or realisations by any means but they were magnified and highlighted when I reflected on Jess’ life. And they were swiftly followed by gratitude:
- Gratitude for the Internet and how it can connects us in such an intimate way from wherever we are in the world.
- Gratitude for trail-blazers, new perspectives, and staying open to new information.
- Gratitude for working in an industry of passionate and inspiring women.
- Gratitude that I get to spread a message of love, kindness, and wellness through my work.
- Gratitude for the chance to learn and change and to observe myself.
- Gratitude for the people I love.
- Gratitude for my life.
These lessons don’t come from Jess’ death – they come from her life. Her fearless, inspiring, loving life. A life that leaves a legacy that will live on through everyone who was touched by Jess the Wellness Warrior.
Over the weekend, I’ve loved reading the thoughts of those who loved Jess – especially Tara Bliss (both on her blog and on Instagram @tara_bliss) and Rachel McDonald on Instagram @rachelcmcdonald. I’ll leave you with a quote that really struck me as I read the outpouring of love and sadness after the news of Jess’ passing spread online.
“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with their heart and soul the is no such thing as separation.” – Rumi
Were you touched by Jess’ life? If you’d like to, share your experience in the comments below.
Until next time, in Jess’ words – be kind, be brave, be well,
Image Source: jessainscough.com