REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — How do you talk to someone about their own death?
I thought about that for days leading up to my interview with Jasmine Cloe. To be honest, it caught me off guard. I learned of her impressive fairy garden creation through a Facebook post. To me, that was the story.
When I messaged her, though…that’s when she told me why she created it in the first place.
The real story behind it: breast cancer. Stage four metastatic breast cancer, to be exact.
Then came the interview.
I remember arriving at her home in Reynoldsburg in August 2021. I didn’t know who I expected to greet me, but anytime cancer is involved, you [understandably] never know if it’s going to be a “good day,” or one of those dreaded post-chemo “bad days” you hear so much about.
Then, there she was.
Jasmine walked out on her front porch before I even stepped foot on her driveway; her smile was as radiant as the August sunshine. An aura of peace and positivity guided her every step to meet me for the first time.
Still, though, how do you talk to someone about their own death?
She held it together. So did I. We carefully navigated the tricky subject. Then, when she started talking about the fairy garden, why she created it and the hope for her family after she’s gone, I lost it.
So did she.
“They’ve promised me they’re gonna keep it going,” Jasmine told me. “I’d love to be watching from above.”
Her voice cracked as she held that thought, gazing up at the clouds. Her eyes began to fill with tears. There it was; it hit her. For a moment, I thought she almost believed it to be a sign of weakness to quickly wipe one drop from her cheek.
No. This is what strength looks like. This is what strength sounds like.
Jasmine talked to me about life and living and the importance of taking time for family, friends and things that matter. Why? Because she knew something none of us want to think about or accept:
We’re all going to die.
What matters, though, is the time we’re given and how we spend that time and connect with others while making them feel loved, valued and appreciated.
I left that interview feeling some kind of way. I felt impassioned by her love for life. I felt connected to her positivity and I felt genuinely better as a person for having met this perfect stranger.
Then, I felt hopeless. I felt useless because no matter what I or anyone else did – nothing and no one could give her what she craved most: more time.
Jasmine passed away this week.
To the Cloe family: I’m sorry for the unimaginable loss that you are now dealing with and for the hole that, no doubt, will never be replaced. I hope you find peace in who she was and what she stood for. I hope on dark days you remember that smile and that laugh and you look up at the sky…because, you can count on it, she’s already looking on from above.
For the rest of us: may we all live with Jasmine in our hearts and carry her memory, her legacy and her positive outlook with us, always.