I drove into work this morning listening to John Lennon’s gorgeous, ethereal “Across The Universe,” and thought of Josh Isaac.
“Pools of sorrow, waves of joy/are drifting through my open mind/Possessing and caressing me …”
Josh, who passed away yesterday only a short time after his 38th birthday, refused to go quietly into the night or wallow in pools of sorrow. A former Mount Washington resident who returned to his hometown of Seattle several years ago, Josh was determined to document his tragic journey with cancer up until the end, if for no other reason than to serve as a testament to life and perseverance for his three young children and wife, Kim.
Many of us were constantly moved and touched by his daily blogs (often written from medical facilities), as well as his documentary, “My Left Hand,” which made its East Coast premiere in Westminster late last June.
“Images of broken light which/dance before me like a million eyes/That call me on and on/across the universe …”
To my regret, I didn’t personally know Josh very well. My wife and I had the Isaacs over for dinner one summer Saturday night in the mid-‘90s, and I met him another time when he freelanced for the Jewish Times. He was friendly, likeable, handsome, creative, bright and funny. He had a light attached to him, a radiant quality that you sometimes detect in certain people. You didn’t forget him.
I didn’t really communicate with Josh again until seven weeks ago when I wrote an article about “My Left Hand” being shown here. At the time, he was recovering at a rehabilitation facility near Seattle from a bout with pneumonia.
In response to my question about why he decided to make such a personal documentary and statement about his health struggles, Josh was characteristically upbeat and inspirational. He said he wanted people to always remember that “life is worth celebrating, and [when] you go through this it only increases your love for family and friends and time on this planet. So I hope I help people by showing the challenges of my life to see the beauty in theirs.”
If only those of us who are not as wise and brave as Josh could and would always remember that.
But Josh, I think you accomplished your mission. And thank you.
May your memory always be a blessing and a source of great strength for your family and friends.
”Sounds of laughter shades of life/are ringing through my open ears/exciting and inviting me/Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns/It calls me on and on across the universe ... ”