Posts Tagged ‘death


their daughter’s daughters.

Over the weekend, we remembered, mourned and celebrated the life of a wonderful woman.  She was taken entirely too early and my heart is absolutely broken for the family that she has left behind. Although I felt like I knew her very well, the truth is I didn’t. In total, I probably spent less than a combined 40 hours with her. Most of my knowledge of her is second-hand. But I felt and still feel like I know her very well. I’ve heard the story of her wedding day, and her gnocchi making techniques. I know her hobbies and that she loved Neil Diamond. I know her parenting tactics and her family traditions. I know her in the way that close adult friends know their friend’s parents, thru sharing many, many, many stories.

One thing is for sure – she will not be forgotten. Her family and friends will treasure and protect her memory forever. Remarkable people live on through everyone they touch and she is a testament to that. She leaves behind an incredible legacy: 3 amazing daughters who are strong, warm, accomplished women.  And her daughters will go on to raise their own amazing daughters. And their daughters will raise amazing daughters. And she will live on.

She had many lessons to teach, but there is one in particular that I love and I’d like to share. It’s something she has successfully instilled in her youngest daughter and it’s one of the many reasons I love and adore her…

Don’t ever pass up an opportunity to celebrate, commemorate, give praise or throw a party. Life’s accomplishments and milestones are meant to celebrate. Holidays are important; spend the extra time and make it special. Decorate. Give gifts. Eat. Drink. Make memories. Honor traditions.



Dear Karen –

I started drafting this letter in my head last week when I learned of the tragic news, but tonight I realized that I’ve been drafting it for the past nine years.  I have few regrets in my life – true regrets.  But I have a few that involve you. And now I’m too late to make it right. My opportunity is gone, because you are gone.

Karen, I am so sorry that I wasn’t more upfront with you and I’m sorry that you had to find out from someone else. I should have told you myself. I knew that you would be heartbroken that we were dating, and I wasn’t even sure if it was going anywhere. Why upset you if it turned out to be nothing? I realize now how selfish that was.  I tried to apologize at the time, but I’m not sure you really heard me.

More than that though, I will never forgive myself for not fighting harder for our friendship. I let you just slip out of my life. Friends have fights and hurt each other all the time; it happens. We had fought before and recovered. Maybe it was because I was in San Diego, and you were in Bellingham. Maybe it was because you weren’t over him. Maybe it was because we were both too stubborn. Whatever it was, it happened – our friendship dissolved. And I didn’t fight for us. And for that, I’m truly sorry.

I think about how things should have been different for you. I’m not narcissistic enough to think that this event somehow changed your life or really impacted it very much at all. I know you were fighting bigger demons – but WHAT IF? What if we had stayed friends?  Would you still have lost your way? Could I have made a difference? Or helped you to love yourself more? I’ll never know.

I don’t have a high school memory that doesn’t include you. So many memories – so many laughs. We sure had fun. We were so young, but thought we were so old. I’m a better person for having known you. I hope your son will remember how passionate, vibrant and beautiful you were.

We were going to see the pyramids together. Someday I’ll make it there for you. I hope you have found peace.



loss and life

Saturday – Part One

Saturday morning Derek and I found out that a friend had passed away. While it wasn’t unexpected, it certainly wasn’t expected. Is it ever expected?  To expect it, would be to accept it. And despite my brain’s attempts to warn me, I wasn’t able to force my heart to follow. And so it came as a surprise; as all deaths do.   

He had been sick for a very long time. Three months ago he made a decision to stop taking his medication.  At first, I didn’t understand his decision.  I wanted him to hold on. Keep trying. Cling to his life. But then he sent out an email explaining it. And now I understand. His quality of life had reached an unacceptable low. He was tired of fighting for a body that would never heal. Tired of hospital stays and blood counts. Tired of waiting for test results.  Finally, he is able to rest.

It is grossly unfair and my heart goes out to his family.  I’m deeply sorry for their loss.

 Saturday – Part Two

Saturday afternoon, we made the trek to Steilacoom to catch the Anderson Island ferry for my great uncle’s 80th surprise birthday party.  I don’t know this uncle very well, but my mom’s family made it a priority to be there. So I went. 

As we pulled up to the ferry terminal, it quickly became apparent that something was not right. The ferry was docked, but it was being blocked by a stopped train.  We got out of the car to investigate and we learned that a man had committed suicide 30 minutes earlier. He had sat down on the tracks and the train engineer could not stop the train in time.  Police and Amtrak officials bolted around the crime scene. Passengers inside the train were on their feet, restless. The body was still lying on the ground near the tracks – it was covered by a black tarp.  It was surreal; I felt like I was watching a scene out of a movie. 

 Saturday – Part Three

We finally arrived at the surprise party. It was an amazing turnout; at least 125 people came to celebrate with our 80 year-old Uncle Dick. He was remarkable. He greeted everyone by name. He laughed. He told stories. He was thrilled to be surrounded by so many of his friends and family.

When it was time sing the birthday song, Uncle Dick made a quick impromptu speech.  He thanked everyone for coming and recognized his children for organizing the surprise party. Then he said something that put my day in perspective and helped to renew my focus.  He said, “This community center usually only sees a crowd this big when there is a funeral. I’m deeply thankful and extremely blessed that all of you came out here while I’m still around to enjoy you. To celebrate my life rather than to mourn my death.  While it is important we recognize the dead, it’s just as important to celebrate the living. I love you all!”

At that point, his kids drove-up in his birthday present – a brand new tractor. He was elated.

a blog for anyone, but mostly for me.