Life is precious

Two weeks ago, my friend Eva’s niece, Amanda, and nephew, Alec, were killed in a car accident. They were only 9 and 7 years old. Their mother was speeding and didn’t have seatbelts on the kids.

All of a sudden, every moment we had together was precious: the trips to Golden Gate Park, the swimming pool, the local parks. I spent a lot of time with them while I was sick these past couple years.

We made photo collages of their lives, as we remembered them: laughing, playing, loving life. I attended the wake, and their bodies were not them. I will remember them as they were alive–fun-loving, caring children with a seemingly full life ahead of them. Nothing can be taken for granted; not even youth. It was sad for everyone, but the person who wailed the loudest was the one who had cut off ties with the family completely before they were killed. I guess there is no going back once the chance to love is gone.

Climbing day trips

Mary, it was great to see you for dinner. Thanks for taking “time out” to have a nice evening together. When I wrote “How We Will Be Remembered,” I never imagined an incident that would cut straight to the chase. (See entry above.)

The past two weeks I have been spending a lot of time climbing with friends from my women’s climbing club(sheclimbs). It’s been fun to make new friends, spend time together, and help each other become stronger climbers. It’s social, and at the same time, physical. We patiently hold the ropes for each other as we scale 30-50′ walls. Each Monday night I set aside for the club at the gym, and on the last two weekends I’ve had the opportunity to go outdoor climbing with them, to local places like Berkeley and Summit Rock.

One of the climbers, Alyssa, is a very good writer and photographer! Check out this trip report, complete with route descriptions and photos! Click here


HI Stacey

Thanks so much for dinner the other night. I ate myself silly. That ice cream isn’t going to make my harness fit any better, or the 5.10s any easier.

I read your recent post about how we want to be remembered, and I liked the reminder to remember to enjoy the here and now, and make time for what is important. lately it feels like my life is not my own, rather it is controlled by nursing school. I know it is only a temporary thing, but I am not willing to give up everything even for school. the trick is always finding a balance.

Thanks for not giving up on me

See you at the gym..I’ll be the one falling off the 5.10c’s!!!

Looking for a Job

Hi Rob, thanks for changing the light bulb when you were over!

Lately I’ve been searching for jobs every day, and have found a few interesting leads.?Today I have an interview with Prime Time Athletic Club. I am really hoping it will go well! I am also applying with the school district, a non-profit girls organization, and the Center for the Independence of the Disabled.

Last night, I met Robin Reasoner and her Upwardly Mobile Leadership Group for Women…at the climbing gym. We had a great time climbing. Robin climbs once a year, but she can still hold her own on a 5.9. She was busy coaching all her friends! I was happy to get up a 5.11d with two falls…very challenging! Afterwards, the lawyer group treated me to sushi with everyone else. It was?absolutely delicious!

How We Will Be Remembered

Aunt Marion, what a nice note. Yes, we had a great time at the Transplant Games together! I received the photos, thank you! They are very special.

One of my hobbies is reading inspirational books. A common theme is…on your deathbed, how would you like to be remembered? What kind of person are you? Lately, I have been thinking about the value of human relationships and the little things that matter. This journal contains my dreams and goals, but did you know that it is also a record of how you, the readers, have made a difference in my life? A journal of how love really does matter?

I have had the privilege of spending time with many people lately…Mark came over for dinner, and we enjoyed a new steak dish I picked up a Trader Joe’s and then played Scrabble…I am still working on that life goal of 400 pts, but 359 is a good start! I spent the afternoon at Dave’s parents house…(he is still in the hospital)and I had the opportunity to show them my “transplant scrapbook” which tells the story of before the transplant to the Transplant Games. Later, I went to Rhona’s house and we went to the swimming pool and watched her two girls play at the swimming pool. On Saturday I was able to take a walk with Rene, who recently gave birth to a baby named Moses! It was great to be out in the fresh air and get a little exercise. On Sunday, I taught a climbing lesson to my friend Ilan, and he is on the road to doing 5000 push-ups and sit-ups! Then I had a relaxing lunch with my aunt, Lorraine at our favorite hang-out, Douce France coffee shop. I howed her the transplant scrapbook, and she enjoyed seeing photos of so many Florida family members that she has not seen in so long.

Sunday afternoon, I attended the annual “Heart-Lung” Picnic, where Stanford transplant patients and staff ate delicious picnic fare, told success stories, and expressed gratitude to each other for life itself. I saw Ana, Isa, David, Gwen, Lara, Pat, Joyce, and Jen…all transplant patients…as well as beloved Stanford staff such as Dr. Dhillon and social worker, Allison, and the nurse, Marla. All the patients except Ana and me had been in and out of the hospital this year, yet everyone bravely moves through life so incredibly despite the hardships.

On Monday, I met Isa at the PAC club at 8:30 a.m. She went swimming for at least an hour. I could not get myself to get into the pool at that hour, but I really had a great time watching her be so strong and healthy. She must have done about 100 laps. All of a sudden, I understood why mothers enjoy watching their loved ones do sports for hours. Besides pure happiness for her, I feel a sense of relief and hope to see her so strong, because she has had a transplant, too. It was inspiring for me. After a while, I stopped watching and did some working out myself on the treadmill, walking a mile in under 20 minutes (kind of fast for me.)

Yesterday, after spending most of the day job-hunting, I went to Berkeley and climbed with my good friend Cherie at Ironworks! It was great to see her. She has such a fun personality. I forgot my climbing shoes, so she climbed in her sandals to make it “fair.” We both worked our way up a 5.10a with bad shoes! Cherie took me to dinner at a taqueria, and we had huge plates of nachos with beans and vegetables. Then she went back to climbing…

Last night I attended a show by famous speed climber Hans Florine. Hans holds the speed record for climbing El Cap, and has done the Nose route over 100 times! More importantly, he inspired me to get in the best shape possible for the transplant with his outrageous fitness contests. He also included me in his show! He had a picture of me in his presentation, and told people how I climbed with the oxygen cord with 20% lung capacity.

So my point is, all those little things you do, spending time with people, listening, writing, or just being thoughtful, really make a difference in other people’s lives. They are the things that will be remembered long after our lives on earth are over. We only have a short time to live compared to eternity. But now here in this journal, I can remember the good things about this life and the people I love. Thinking about the permanence of memories eases my fear of death…I guess everyone just wants to be loved. All it takes is a little time and patience. I hope Dave, who is in the hospital, can think upon the good things that have happened, despite his pain and suffering.