At age 70, an emotional tsunami hit Jonell Kirby Cash broadside, when her husband died. She couldn’t escape the reality that the dreams that she had created with her husband no longer existed. She had the choice to “drop out” of life and to deteriorate or “screw up her courage” and make plans for the rest of her life. She didn’t know how long she’d be on this earth, but then again…none of us do…so she made the decision to make the most of the life that she had left and she’s been blazing trails ever since.
Somewhere in time after the last of the sympathy cards and the first days of spring, Jonell got a call from her high school sweetheart. She was confronted with the waves of emotions that come from morning, loving and a yearning to live fully. She thought deeply about blending families and histories and her own personal growth. Falling in love later in life had not been in her master plan, but then again Jonell had always been a gypsy spirit. Her 70’s were an exciting time and worthy of telling. In the early 2000’s as she sat with her daughter and niece in a writing group, they urged her to write her story into a work of fiction…and “A Ring a Dance a Second Chance was born”.
In 2010, at age 82, Jonell published her first work of fiction. Women and men from age 50 on up, came out of the woodwork to congratulate Jonell on writing a book for their generation. Falling in love, developing new ways of living and managing relationships in a changing world were topics that boomers were hungry to read about and relate to. The fact that Jonell is a doctor, a teacher and a philanthropist to this day supports the hope that life doesn’t stop after the kids are raised or when retirement sets in. The stereotype of a stale, tired or fearful aging process has been dispelled. Jonell embraces technology, continues to teach and to write and look for ways to engage her talents in this world.
What’s next for Jonell? Perhaps a sequel or maybe a prequel …who knows! She is one to keep folks guessing. Today she makes her home in Georgia with her high school sweetheart. They have been married for ten years. The couple divides their time between kids and grandkids, nieces and nephews and “kudzu family”. The greatest key to living a full and vibrant life is to live fully in each moment as it arises. The past is a thing that great stories are made of. The future is but a dream, but right here and right now …well, Jonell is an inspiration to all of us at whatever age you claim.
Managing Editor of A Public Relations Company