Xanthia introduced me to the idea of living in state and national parks. (Bruce and I gave up our homes and do just that). I owe a great did debt to her.
We only knew each other for a year. But she changed my life immensely. I was 56 and she was 73 – living with advanced cancer. I had been going through a very difficult time but family and friends, mainly Xanthia, got me through it.
Xanthia was born in Chicago and worked at the Chicago Natural History Museum. She was a secretary and married the boss (of Follette Publishing). After they divorced she had enough money to live on the road for 5 years. Xanthia then became an RN, had 2 children, lived in Paris for 6 months as an au pair (after seeing an ad in a local paper), and other places. She also appeared in a movie “The Merry Widow” as a maid carrying flowers, but the producer faded her out.
To say she was filled with wisdom is an understatement. As our prayer flag that hangs at all our tent sites says “Wisdom- knowledge, intuition, and experience combine to guide us in thought and deed.”
She was almost like a guru to me as she taught me : how to be aware, to ban shoulda/ woulda/ coulda from my vocabulary, how to accept myself, forgive myself, how to live life in the now, and how to take risks for new experiences. The most important thing she taught me- and I have been experiencing is – “You create your own reality.”
As Rainer Maria Rilke said, “For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all tasks… the work for which all other work is but preparation.
I will never forget one of our last phone conversations. She said, “I am kissing you on the lips in a non-sexual way”
(October 18, 1942- January 13, 2017)
I will love you forever.