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I have had one of the most emotional, somewhat complicated, life-changing, yet beautiful weeks of my life.  I received news mixed with joy and sadness, had thoughts and amazing conversations about purpose, life decisions and love, and was surrounded by some of my closest friends and family while making memories that will last a lifetime. But there’s nothing like home (and a little music) to make everything alright…

You Will Be Missed

Last week started out with some sad news.  I received a phone call from my dad that a very close family friend had said goodbye to his two beautiful children, while he waited for God to take him out of pain and into His arms.  Brad Kahla was one of the most courageous men I have ever met.  He fought against the pain of colon cancer for over 5 years, with his family, friends and church community by his side.  He never gave up on the power of healing and lived the last years of his life with courage and every bit of strength he could muster up.  He was an amazing father and husband to a beautiful family.  And throughout all of his pain and struggling, he never focused on himself or his condition, it was always about others.

I remember visiting Brad in the hospital over Thanksgiving last year.  He was having a hard time with pain and the cancer had made its way back, but he always had a positive outlook on his circumstance. My dad and I had to scrub up and wear yellow jumpsuits so as not to spread any infections or germs that we had carried in to his hospital room.  We sat next to his bed and talked about life, met his nurse and amazing brother and just wanted him to know that he was loved. And every time I wanted to know how he was doing, he asked about my health and my love-life and my job and my new home in San Francisco.  He wanted to know how I was handling my diagnosis and if I was being strong.  He wanted to know my treatment options and if they were working and how I was feeling.  I was blown away by his concern for me! Why was he talking about me when he had more than enough to worry about at the moment?!  This is just a glimpse of the compassionate and giving man that he was. He will always be such an example of strength and pure compassion to me.  I will never forget how much he cared.  He will be missed by many.

It’s Been A Long Day – Rosi Golan

Everything’ll Be Alright

You never realize how much facing death can put your life into perspective until you lose someone you were close to.  Brad’s last days really made me think about how important it is to have a community of friends and loved ones like he did.  Especially on his death bed, he was surrounded by faithful people and his beautiful family, holding his hands through the last struggles of pain.  My dad reminisced about how he was praying for Brad in his last hours, sitting next to his bed with Brad’s wife and family, and holding Brad’s hand when he would feel a squeeze.  All of this love and care is such a testament to not only how wonderful of a man Brad was to all of those people, but it reminded me how amazing it is to be a part of a community like that growing up.  Where there is an abundance of love and support from the community.  It has been so difficult to find a community as closely knit here in San Francisco, but I realize that it may be time to start looking again.

All of this sadness and compassion and love gets you wondering if the decisions you’ve made in your life were meaningful and if the people you share your life with are everything you’ve wanted.  Where do I want to be in 30 years? Who do I want by my side? Do I have a community I can call on for support?

In my search for answers, I have been blown away by the support I have received so far for the Arthritis Walk.  I reached out to friends and family, asking them to donate to this cause and the Arthritis Foundation because I have recently felt a strong conviction to join a community of people who are struggling through the same illness.  My team has raised over $700 because of so many generous hearts and I feel such a strong support system from my loved ones. It is such an amazing thing to see friends and family come out of the woodwork to donate to a cause because of me.

Everything’ll Be Alright Joshua Radin

A Summer of Sisters and Sightseeing

Shortly after the news about Brad sank in, I found out that my sister received the internship offer she had been waiting for in San Francisco from an architecture firm that is literally a few blocks from my place.  So it’s official – Lisa is moving in with me for the summer in less than 4 weeks! And I could not be more proud or excited! What a way to turn around a gloomy week.

This summer is going to be a fun-filled and travel-filled three months.  With my sister here, I’ll have someone to explore the city with.  I am looking forward to getaways to Napa and the beach, maybe even Tahoe for a weekend.  We haven’t lived together since I was in high school (oh my gosh, I just felt really old), so hopefully we won’t drive each other up the wall! But we will definitely have some adventures together that will be unforgettable. Plus, she will be such a blessing to have as help around the house, since she’s offered to do some grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning to help me out.  I am so lucky to have such an amazing sister!

Along with a new roommate and some visitors to the City, I will be doing some extensive traveling this summer.  I’ll be making my way home to Arizona, Wisconsin and LA for some wedding festivities, along with bachelorette parties in wine country.  And then there’s possibly Colorado and SoCal for weekend getaways, and an extended vacay in Vienna, Austria for 10 days in July (with possible stops in Prague or Italy)!  I am definitely going to get out this travel bug of mine this summer. And I am ready to make amazing memories with friends and family! Things are looking up…

Vienna – Billy Joel

Going Home

And to end the craziness of the week, I took some time off work and went home to Arizona for a long weekend. It’s always refreshing and relaxing to go home and spend time with family and friends (and my puppy of course!) in the heat of the desert.  But, this weekend was a bit different because I must have brought the City weather with me. The high the whole weekend didn’t get above 70 and it was rainy and cloudy all day Saturday.  So much for my plans of tanning next the pool all weekend…

And so much for a relaxing weekend…my emotional week continued at home with babies, weddings, funerals and reminiscing…

I met my friend Lindsey’s little baby boy on his first lunch date on Friday.  What a cutie-pie!  (Babies really make everything alright, don’t they?!) It was refreshing to see how happy my friend was to have a beautiful and healthy baby boy in her life. I hope that one day I can feel that same motherly love.

A day of shopping was followed by reminiscing with some friends and cousins over wine at Postino’s Wine Cafe in Phoenix.  I love seeing familiar faces after such a long time!  The conversation went from graduations to wedding planning, medical issues to catching up on old friends in our lives.  It’s always so difficult to leave again after such a fun night…

And to kick off the numerous wedding celebrations of the year, my dear friends Kate and Ben got hitched on Saturday at the beautiful new Sheraton at Wild Horse Pass.  The desert mountain view, the five-star food, the non-stop dancing and the lovely couple were one of the best parts of my weekend. And don’t they always say that rain on your wedding day is good luck? It was such a fun night hanging out with old high school friends and dancing the night away to good music.  The ceremony was held at Brophy Chapel, so a few of us walked the courtyard and hallways of our high school, which brought back so many memories and good times. And this is only the beginning of our group of friends starting to all get married…!!

I was even able to squeeze in some time with family – including brunch with my grandmother, aunt, cousin and second cousins (that’s four generations!) on Sunday at my favorite breakfast spot, The Breakfast Club in Scottsdale. It’s so awesome to have so much family back home, and we are even welcoming a few new cousins and some new babies into the family this year!

My week finally culminated on Sunday when I went to my old church and was asked to play the piano for the teen choir (just like old times).  It was so nice to be involved in the mass again and play with the old band. I was reminded how fulfilling it used to be to play in front of that community of friends. And even though it was tough to see friends who had recently lost loved ones in the community, I knew their strength was because of their faith and the support of this community. What an exhausting and emotion, but amazing weekend…

Home – Michael Buble

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