Lisa Joseph and a life’s value

Lisa Joseph. RIP

Lisa Joseph. RIP

I have little value to this world.

It’s undeniably true. I write books. About sports. At best, they entertain and inform and (hopefully) add some texture to a subject. At worst, they gather dust on a 99-cent rack. Either way, that’s about it. Authors receive some notoriety, but I’m not entirely sure why.

Again, I have little value.

But here’s the thing. Despite my minimal contributions, I’ve lived a spectacular life. My parents raised me in a lovely suburban home, smothered me with support, paid for my college education so I’d leave with no debt. I was able to pursue my dream of writing for a living, and have been able to work for a great magazine and put out a bunch of books. I live in a beautiful home in a beautiful neighborhood with my beautiful wife and kids. Why have I received such gifts? Honestly—luck. Pure friggin’ luck.

I learned a few hours ago that Lisa Joseph, my friend, has died. I met Lisa about a decade ago, when she worked as a babysitter for a family up the street. She was a native of Arima, Trinidad’s fourth largest city, and came to this nation to find work to help support her family. Back in the day, Lisa and I would take night runs throughout New Rochelle—usually three or four mile jaunts up and around the neighborhood. We would talk and talk and talk—about her son, about her time as a goaltender with the Trinidad national soccer team, about the kids she watched (and loved). Lisa was a positive spirit, and I can’t recall ever hearing her rip someone or look fatigued or complain about her lot in life.

Even when, about six years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer.

It spread quickly. Really quickly. All over her body. Lisa stopped working, moved to a one-bedroom apartment in a shit New York City neighborhood, ran out of money, grew weak, grew weaker. It was awful to watch, and when the wife and I spoke to Lisa via phone, we were always taken aback by her positivity. Her son was growing so big. She was feeling better. God was watching her.

Maybe, oh, a year ago, Lisa begrudgingly returned to Trinidad, to be with her loved ones. She didn’t want to make the move—but then good things started to happen. We had this Facebook exchange …

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 9.52.22 PM

… and this one …

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 9.52.36 PMIt was good news! Great news! A wonderful, giving person on the rebound. Her faith was being rewarded, and she was engulfed by love.

Now … she’s gone.

It’s not fair. The struggles. The heartache. The constant fight for money. Why was Lisa’s life one uphill run after another, while I’ve been allowed to sprint? Who decided this is the right way?


1 thought on “Lisa Joseph and a life’s value”

  1. Just goes to show that there is no divine plan. As Tony Kornheiser says. every thing is 50-50. I wouldn’t say you were lucky at least as far as being a writer. You worked hard at it. You may have been lucky your books have sold pretty well. I always wonder how bad people manage to live long lives and others like your friend have the worst luck in dying young through no fault of their own.

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