Good Bye To A Friend

Los Angeles, 2012 
My friend Michelle passed away in her sleep yesterday.
We were friends since we were in grade school.  

A Parable of Immortality
By Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads white sails
To the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky
come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, "There she goes!"

Gone where?
Gone from my sight - that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
"There she goes!" there are other eyes
watching her coming and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes."

(This poem was a comfort to me when my friend P. Faustino sent it after my dad died)


I found November Lessons sitting in my draft. It seems like so long ago.

1. What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?
2. Givers need to set limits because takers seldom do.
3. Anything you can't control is teaching you how to let go.
4. If their name isn't God, their opinion doesn't matter and their approval isn't needed.
5. Every bite you take is either fighting disease or feeding it.
6. Every thought you dwell on is either lifting you up or bringing you down.
7. How much of what weighs you down is not yours to carry.
8. Not my circus, not my monkeys.
9. If it comes, let it. If it goes, let it.
10. The lesson repeats as needed.


Reposting The Video Of Our Trip To South Africa

Our Video  -> made by Kika

It has been six months since our trip to South Africa, and I realize that I never wrote about it.
Just yesterday I was talking about it with Steve, and I said to him that I look at that trip now, and only now with such fond memories.

It was not a "relaxing vacation."
It was far, somewhat grueling, pushed all of us out of what we were comfortable with and also, it was an expensive trip to take.
However, having said all that, I think of that safari trip as like a marathon, or a climb up an epic mountain.
Not easy, yet the satisfaction of having accomplished a trip of that magnitude based on who we are (if you knew us in real life, you would understand) fills me with utmost joy.

This picture is from our last dinner in a restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa.
While waiting for our food to come, the four of us decided to have a drawing contest on the paper table cloth. We all drew a giraffe and asked our server to judge our work.
The waiter jumped right into his task and rated all our work. Now I can't remember his grading system but I do know that he graded Steve's work as a "U" for "ungrade-able"
Guess who won?

This picture or this story may seem like nothing, but it is not nothing to me.
That the four of us could sit and enjoy ourselves with a paper table cloth and crayons halfway around the world, I found beautiful.
You see, Steve, Kika, Gabi and I? We are not the most normal.
While this might be a secret source of my frustration, I am trying my best to accept it.
Right now, at this exact point of my family's life, we are somewhat like roommates.
With the girls being 18 and almost 16--they really don't need me for anything.
I am here right now just to keep the household running as smoothly as possible.
I try to herd them with daily dinners when possible, church on the weekend but that is the extent of our family life right now.
Supposedly this is normal.
Maybe that is true but it was not quite what I was expecting, nor ready for.
Anyhow, this is why a drawing contest in a restaurant in South Africa made me very happy.
I guess it allowed me to cling to their childhood just a few minutes longer.

For our next family vacation, I am shooting for a trip to the nearest Sandals Beach Resort.
While some people may scoff at the "unimaginative, pedestrian, or non-uniqueness" of a vacation like that--I can see myself fully enjoying a white sand beach to lay around and do absolutely nothing but soak in the sun and be served food and drinks.