365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

Day of Memories

Today on the 10th of September a group of people gathered to remember our dear departed friend. I’ve spoken of this friend numerous times on here so don’t feel the need to rehash in any great detail. In the almost 18 months since her passing not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, generally more than once. Today her family and friends gathered to celebrate her life. It was a couple of hours of stories, memories, tears and laughter. But one thing was consistent… She was incredibly well loved.

What amazed me more than anything was the way that my BF reacted to the gathering. I met him about 5 or 6 months after my friend passed on so he never had the chance to know her. I know he would have loved her, the would have become great friends… she had that effect on people. But (ever loyal to those closest to her) she would have grilled him and never let up until she was sure that he was perfect for me. In fact, I think she’s still doing that. I think she sent him to me. Anyway.. back to the point…. my BF had never met Rash but numerous time during the service he was tearing up along with the rest of us. He said that he felt that even in those two hours something about her life and spirit touched him in a way that he did not expect. Although they’d never met I think he walked away feeling like he knew her.

Throughout the service people were invited to speak. To share stories, thoughts memories and insights into the wonderfully amazing person that was Rash. I even read my poem… and ALMOST got through the entire thing without breaking up. I would have been ok too if I hadn’t looked at her mom at just that last moment. The overwhelmingly consistent message what that Rash was an inspiration to every single person she encountered. Childhood gymnastics coaches, teachers, coworkers, friends and family all shared the same message. She was a determined, tenacious, spirited, amazing person that brought out the very best in those around her. In the short time that was her life she touched the lives of so many others. She left a piece of her behind in all of us and that’s how we can be certain that she will NEVER truly be gone. She taught each of us how to be a better person and she did it in a way that you didn’t even realize what was happening. She got inside your heart and stayed put. She was the most caring and compassionate person I’ve ever met. Her smile (which was a constant fixture on her face) lit up the room and brightened even the gloomiest of times.

Before I sign off tonight I’d like to share a couple of my favorite memories of Rash. I met Rash about 3 years ago and we became instant best friends. Rash was hearing impaired. She could read lips and speak and once you took the time to listen to her she was perfectly easy to communicate with. But her lip reading skills came in handy for entertainment purposes more than once. There were numerous occasions where we’d be out enjoying a drink, or lunch, or just chilling on some patio and she would tell us what was going on at every table around us. It was a most entertaining way to enhance your people watching excursions. She always caught the juiciest bits of whatever was going on around her. She never missed a beat. My other favorite memory of Rash was our weekly TV dates. She’d text me about 8:45pm telling me she was home and ready and I’d get online. We’d watch Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice ‘together’ chatting on IM the entire time. If one of us was gong to miss the show we’d both record it and make plans to watch another day. While it may seem like such a simple thing it was an amazing way to share time with a friend that I just didn’t get to see as often as I’d have liked. While we talked almost every day (over IM or text of BBM) I looked forward to our girls night TV every week.

We’d been friends for such a short time when she was taken from this world, but she was a friend like no other. She’s someone who will be in my heart for the rest of my life. I am very very grateful for the love and friendship we shared and for the people that her passing brought into my life as well. And even though they never met, I am incredibly thankful that my BF was given a chance to know her in some small way too… it just proves that she’s out there still watching out for her family and making sure that everyone knows it.

September 10, 2011 Posted by | Faith, Inspiration, Life | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Bugs

For some reason today I am thinking about three people I know that have a considerable itch to travel. My dear friend in DC (We’ll call her CG), a great pal from Canada (Miss Nicky) and my baby sister. All three are regularly finding ways to jet around the globe and go on all sorts of interesting adventures. I love to travel as well but never seem to be quite as capable as these three in finding the time (and the money) to take off to exotic locations. Perhaps in the next couple of years that will turn around… but really I think I just have to find a way to prioritize it in my life and make it happen. So I can stop being jealous of these three travel bugs I have in my life.

So, to start… my friend CG… earlier this year she and her hubby got a great week long vacation to Aruba (beautiful and picturesque as seen in the photos she shared with me). This vacation was paid for (100%) by her husband’s company. Apparently ever year they set goals of the team and if they meet the goals they get some recognition. But they also set a stretch goal that they call their ‘trip goal’. If they meet THIS goal the company takes them all on some trip… Thus the all expenses paid trip to Aruba. At the end of May CG decided to up and go to India for six weeks. Her in-laws live there and she isn’t working at the moment so she decided to go stay with her ‘family’ for 6 weeks to immerse herself in the culture, learn the language and better connect with her husband’s family. At the same time she is attempting to gather some experience working for Non Profit Humanitarian agencies. She’s been blogging about her experiences while she’s gone and while I am not sure I would want to go to India I certainly would LOVE an adventure like she’s having.

Next we have my baby sister…. she’s very active with her Church Youth group and manages to get some very cool travel out of that deal. Some of you may already know this but the Pope John Paul II started something called “World Youth Day” some time ago. It’s a global conference for Catholic Youth (from 16 – 35) that’s hosted in a different country every three years. In 2002 it was in Toronto (my sister and I both attended that one). It’s a phenomenal experience. Three years ago it was in Australia and my sister went as a group leader with her youth group. She was there for a little over two weeks and saw some incredible sights… Given that Australia is very high on my wish list of places to see I was definitely envious (and excited) that she got to go. Well this year World Youth Day is in Spain and my sister is once again going as a group leader with her church youth….. lucky lucky girl.

Finally, we have Miss Nicky…. Miss Nicky moved from Holland to Canada when she was about 11 or 12. She’s a grade school teacher and every year that I’ve known her she’s taken the summer and returned to Europe to tour around or spend some time working on her Spanish (by living in Spain for a month or more). A couple of summers she has also volunteered for a Catholic Educational Mission group that was doing some work with school children in Uganda… Talk about amazing experience. Earlier this year she went to Costa Rico (also very high on my list) and was so enamored of the area that she’s planning on spending at least a month or two back there this year. Now that the school year is ending she’s getting ready to head out once again. I am not sure what the order of her travels will be but she has the next 14 months off to travel. You see, she’s been doing what’s called a 4 over 5 with her school district. I am not sure exactly what that means but basically it’s a way of structuring her teaching time so that she builds up enough time to take an entire year (with pay) off. She’s choosing to use her time to travel around the world and learn about as many places and cultures as she can fit into her time… amazing if you ask me!!

When you have people like this in your life it’s really hard to not catch the ‘travel bug’. The last big trip that I took was about three years ago now. My little sister and I spent almost two weeks traveling around Athens and a couple of the Greek Islands. It was magnificent. But now I am thinking that I need to start SERIOUSLY planning a big trip for later this year. It’s time to get out of North America… the only real question is where to go first.

June 24, 2011 Posted by | Fun & Entertainment, Health & Wellness, Inspiration, Life | , , , , | Leave a comment