Epilogue


What immediately follows was written on May 15, 2009...call it the Prologue to the Epilogue.


Notes from a Native Daughter

"Eat, Play, Learn" by Princess Rachella


Rachel to the rescue...in more ways than one.


I'll let Rachel elaborate on the real rescue mission...Project Archangel Julie.

As usual, I will take care of the "digression department"!


Epilogue...

It's been an inside joke for going on three months now...how long could I refrain from adding another chapter to "The Book" after posting "The End" on February 25, 2009.

Have to admit that I have trouble "letting go" (which I guess is obvious from reading my never-ending laments on julieanewell.com.) But, even in other areas (like my current participation in contract negotiations for the Cairo Association of Teachers...talk about never-ending!!!) Once I start something, well...

So, when I penned (keyboarded?) the "final chapter", I had my moments of self doubt...could I really stop? (Readers of my other website, CAT Tracks have had to endure a few of my sensitive moments as my emotions sought release. Where there's a will...)

I comforted myself in the knowledge that (as editor) I could always slip in a few additional chapters, still "closing" with The End. I mean, when you buy a real book, you don't have a clue as to the form of the original manuscript!

And, yes, I thought of the ultimate "insurance"...an Epilogue. I've read enough books over the past 18 months to recognize that real authors often employ such devices...for "closure".

So, when one of my psychic friends read "The End" and followed it up with an e-mail stating that she was looking forward to the "Epilogue" (or whatever I decided to call it), well...BUSTED!

Over the past three months, I've been tempted. I even troubled my psychic friend with a "possibility", but her critique..."good, but not perfect."

Today, I achieved perfection...


Okay, that's "the tease"...for more, you'll just have to wait, but not for long. (The scheduled release date for the "Epilogue" is May 25, 2009...exactly three months after "The End" AND Memorial Day. Couldn't resist it...)


After the emotion of finding the right song, I just did not feel up to composing.

But...could it wait?

Like I said, when I start something...

Still feeling unsettled, I figured that I would start writing and see what happened. Remembering the e-mail on my earlier (panned) attempt at an "Epilogue", I cranked up the computer to search it out and print it. Hey, waste not, want not!

While I was waiting, I decided to make my daily check of Rachel's blog.

Leave it to Rachel...to provide a posting to assuage my conscience.

And, true to Julie's spirit, Rachel's posting is not focused on the past...is not about closure.

Knowing Julie, I'm sure she'll enjoy reading about Rachel's humanitarian efforts more than Ronnie's memories or memorials...



Okay, back to the future...May 25, 2009.



With the unfinished sentence above, I "bailed" and turned the day over to Rachel's "Eat, Play, Learn".

But, now...I'm baaaaaaack!

Here's the e-mail (about the "panned epilogue") mentioned above...


From: Ron Newell
Date: 03/19/09 22:12:59
To: R
Cc: K; D
Subject: Epilogue...

Yeah, R...you're probably going to be reading that "epilogue" that you predicted...

Actually, I have to admit that it had crossed my mind even before you mentioned it in your e-mail...or simply adding chapters "before the book went to the publisher".

You knew I couldn't quit...

Well, it happened this afternoon...on my way to the BOE meeting.

Couple of weeks ago I embarked upon a cheating expedition...trying to find just the right song or poem to actually finish "The Book" with.

Hell, I Googled "Sad Songs and Poems"..."Songs and Poems" about losing a spouse or loved one. When that produced "losing" that spoke of marital break-ups, I went for the DEATH of the spouse or loved one.

The top song that popped up was "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey. I can't stand Mariah Carey. Turns out it was a duet with Boyz II Men. The lyrics worked, but Mariah Carey???

I continued my search...

As you said...there is some sad sh*t out there...balled my eyes out on some of it, but didn't find anything that "grabbed" me.

Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton...about his horrible tragedy...was trying to speak to me, but I couldn't get past the lyric of "I don't belong in Heaven". Most interpretations were that since Eric was not dead, obviously he did not "belong" in heaven. I was afraid it came across too much as "blaming self"...that if he had "been there" for his son, he might not have fallen out that window.

I continued my "wait"... for something to speak to me.

That song about the guy diagnosed with some terminal disease..."Live like you are dying" played a time or two on the radio, but again...something just seemed to be lacking.

Hell, I even went back to my Neil Diamond days...the song that lists all kinds of famous names...ends by saying that they all wept when it was all done, for being "Done too soon".

Finally, I thought to hell with it...I've written the last chapter...maybe in a few months or a few years something will "speak to me".

Then today...I talk about "signs" in a CAT Tracks...mentioned julieanewell.com...

Then I innocently climb into my car and head for the BOE meeting. I flip on the radio and a song starts playing that I don't remember ever hearing before. The male voice(s) sounded familiar, but it still didn't dawn on me who the hell it was...until a female voice chimed in.

As I listened to the lyrics...and I could even understand them, it finally dawned on me...Boyz II Men...Mariah Carey..."One Sweet Day".

DAMN!

Deny it if you will, but it's probably coming soon to a website near you!

Ron


"One Sweet Day" - Lyrics


Sorry I never told you
All I wanted to say
And now it's too late to hold you
'Cause you've flown away
So far away

Never had I imagined
Living without your smile
Feeling and knowing you hear me
It keeps me alive
Alive

[Chorus:]

And I know you're shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day

Darling I never showed you
Assumed you'd always be there
I took your presence for granted
But I always cared
And I miss the love we shared

[Chorus]

Although the sun will never shine the same again
I'll always look to a brighter day
Lord I know when I lay me down to sleep
You will always listen as I pray

[Chorus]

Sorry I never told you
All I wanted to say


PERSONALLY, I still think the song was a good choice...thought its sentiments were making the best of a bad situation. Hell, I thought it had a positive tone to it...unlike my previous laments.

My friend's critique seems to imply that she sensed another "guilt trip" in full flight...remorse on my part for not showing Julie (in life) how much I cared for her...loved her.

Whatever!

Oh, well...all's well that ends well.

If I had gone with my first choice then I would not have been able to achieve "perfection". (Oh, I guess I could have always gone to "Epilogue II". Anybody ever see a real author do that???)


The new, improved Epilogue...


You know it had to be based on a song....by Elliott Yamin.

Elliott is an appropriate messenger...probably Julie's last "new favorite singer".

Elliott gained fame through American Idol, finishing in 3rd place in Season 5...the year that Taylor Hicks beat out Katherine McPhee in the finals. (That was the first year that Julie managed to get me to watch the show. I had refused her earlier attempts because I was so turned off by the show's focus on/promotion of "joke performers"...you know, the ones whose voices were like fingernails on a chalkboard. I'm sorry, I liken such things to the Jerry Springer show...giving the worst in society their 15 minutes of fame...encouraging same...leading to the downfall of civilization!)

Julie's heart went out to this shy and ungainly underdog with the hearing loss, insulin pump, and bad teeth. (Elliott's Story) Julie was especially touched by the obvious love and devotion shown by Elliott for his mother, who cheered her son from the audience.

Well, Elliott lost his beloved mother; she passed on March 31, 2008. On his newest album "Fight for Love" (released just this month), Elliott performs a song that he wrote and dedicated to her...


"Someday"
Lyrics by Elliott Yamin


Woke up this morning, needed to talk
Picked up the phone and started to call
And thatís when it hit me that you were gone

So many questions, things left unsaid
So much confusion going round in my head
And so many reasons that just donít make sense

Ohhh nooo

I try to carry on but somethingís missing inside
I just want to know if youíre above me
Show me some kind of sign

Do you still hear me when I call your name?
Will you be with me when I lose my way?
When it gets hard let me know what to do

Ohhh yeahhh

You always told me that you'd never go
I need you to show me that Iím not alone
Do you still hear me when I sing for you?

Show me you do

How do I start to make sense of whatís left?
Still carry the memory of you in my head
And Iím just not ready to let you go yet

Ohhh nooo

But I know youíre proud of the man that I am
And that you would want me to go on ahead
But I'd give it all up to see you again. I'd give it up, I'd give it all up

I try to carry on but somethingís missing inside
I just need to know if youíre above me
Show me some kind of sign

Do you still hear me when I call your name?
Will you be with me when I lose my way?
When it gets hard let me know what to do

Oh, what to do

You always told me that you'd never go
I need you to show me that Iím not alone
Do you still hear me when I sing for you

Show me you do

I know that I'll see you someday
Ohhh someday
I will see you again
I will see you again
Someday, Ohhh someday
I will see you again
I will see you again
Someday


To my "tough" (if well-meaning) audience, the ones who will point out that certain lines of the song do not "work"...

Well, appearing for the defense, here's why ALL the lyrics work for me:

Okay, enough "defense". The remainder of "Someday" fits...like a glove.

I could go on and on and on...and usually do.

But...I won't, I won't, well...I won't.

However, I can't resist one more...the clincher if you will.

I'm sure that fully half of "The Book" consisted of my laments and my citing of signs (including the "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" post above.) So, not surprisingly, the line from "Someday" that spoke most to me was "Show me some kind of sign.".

I hope that Elliott receives his sign...his proof...that his mother is above him...that they will be reunited...Someday.

I'm a believer...that signs happen.


So, folks, for my part...Elliott's lament expresses EXACTLY where I am nineteen months after Julie's passing...and is where I know I shall remain.

It may not be where others would like to be. It may not be where others would like me to be.

But, me?

I'm comfortable with it...



"The Book" was supposed to be about the life and times of Julie A. Newell.

In my grief (and my faulty memory), I allowed myself to stray...too often focusing on me and my feelings of loss.

Julie will forgive me...

In closing, however, the focus should return to Julie.

What about Julie...


Julie enjoyed a wide variety of music. Julie shared my loathing of Rap music, because of the negative effect that we saw it have on school-age children. Okay, neither of us was into Heavy Metal or Punk.

But, Julie liked show tunes, classical, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, pop, easy listening, country, hip hop, gospel, etc.

One song that she played to death was "When I'm Gone" by Eminem, an autobiographical account of his drug use and resultant abuse of his wife and neglect of his child.

There wasn't any "personal" connection...it was just a song.

There were two things Julie liked about the song. One was simply the beat. The other was the opening line..."Have you ever loved someone so much, you'd give an arm for, not the expression, no, literally give an arm for?" (Okay, upon further review, maybe there was a "personal connection"...)

Another memorable song was "Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige. Again, no life-related experiences. It was simply music.

But, when I was "Driving Miss Julie" to and fro, I'd hook up her iPod to the car's stereo system and play various albums.

This song never failed to get the same reaction.

Coming home from our last NEA Representative Assembly in Philadelphia...

...another "circle of life" experience in that Philadelphia was the site of her original cancer diagnosis/surgery...and her final "pleasure trip" prior to her final cancer diagnosis/surgery.

Julie was bedded down in the back seat...trying her best to rest and relax...dozing on and off.

When "Be Without You" began to play, I'd glance in the rear-view mirror and see...nothing. Did not know if Julie was asleep or awake. But, when we reached the part of the song where Mary J. Blige sang "Put your hands up...", well, up would go Julie's hand, waving to the beat of the music. I'd simply laugh with joy at a happy, peaceful, (maybe) pain-free moment...

All kinds of music...

Rachel's song for the funeral service was chosen to reflect upon and honor Julie's fighting spirit...Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down", even if standing at the gates of Hell!

No argument...THAT was Julie Newell.

Julie would have laughed at Rachel's choice...


Strike that...I'm sure that Julie DID laugh at that selection.


And because of Julie's eclectic musical tastes, I'm sure she will appreciate my "updated tribute"...a piece of "bubblegum" pop.


Natasha Bedingfield
"Pocket Full Of Sunshine" - Lyrics


I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love and I know that it's all mine. Oh, oh, oh, oh.

Do what you want, but you're never gonna break me.
Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me. Oh, oh, oh, oh.

Take me away, a secret place.
A sweet escape, take me away.

Take me away, to better days.
Take me away, a hiding place.

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love and I know that it's all mine. Oh, oh, oh, oh.

Do what you want, but you're never gonna break me.
Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me. Oh, oh, oh, oh.

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine.
I got a love and I know that it's all mine. Oh, oh, oh, oh.

Wish that you could, but cha ain't gonna own me.
Do anything you can to control me. Oh, no, oh.

Take me away, a secret place.
A sweet escape, take me away.

Take me away, to better days.
Take me away, a hiding place.

There's a place that I go that nobody knows.
Where the rivers flow and I call it home.

And there's no more lies; in the darkness, there's light.
And nobody cries, there's only butterflies.

Take me away, a secret place.
A sweet escape, take me away.

Take me away, to better days.
Take me away, a hiding place.

Take me away, a secret place.
A sweet escape, take me away.

Take me away, to better days.
Take me away, a hiding place.

Take me away, a secret place.
To better days, take me away.

Take me away, to better days.
Take me away, a hiding place.

The sun is on my side.
Take me for a ride.
I smile up to the sky.
I know I'll be all right.

The sun is on my side.
Take me for a ride.
I smile up to the sky.
I know I'll be all right.


The tune and opening line..."I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine" brightly captures Julie's optimism and mission in life...to bring light into the lives of others.

The song continues with Rachel's "strength theme"..."Do what you want, but you're never gonna break me. Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me"...followed by "Wish that you could, but cha ain't gonna own me. Do anything you can to control me. Oh, no, oh, no."

But, the part that attracted Ronnie...

Following a life well-lived and well-shared, a life that culminated in Julie's fight to bring sunshine into the lives of her fellow cancer victims, drawing upon the final ounces of strength in a progressively failing body...

Within that context, I interpret the above lyrics as the joyful exclamation of one who has completed her mission in life...a person who never quit, but was honorably relieved of duty...by the One who sent her.

Yes, Julie is "home".

And, as only Julie would, she gave Ronnie a glimpse into the future...

...of a place where "nobody cries, there's only butterflies."

It is why I truly believe that someday my prayers will be answered...some sweet day.


In September, 1969..."Who Knew?"