Life Right Now

I am a deeply sensitive person. I often “numb out” when watching sad movies or hearing sad stories because it’s just too much

Now I am here, living out my worst nightmare: something bad happening to someone I love. And it’s real, even though it doesn’t feel like it. 

Enter: anxiety, panic attacks, physical pain, fear, endless questions. 

The deepest sadness I’ve ever known is now tangled throughout my everyday.  I have to feel it and let it move through me.  In the midst of it all, I have to keep committing and recommitting to living out loud, just like he did. 

Each day I am discovering small joys, grounding myself by touching the dirt and sitting on our cool driveway. Walking barefoot around our rain-kissed neighborhood. Listening to Coura Joan laugh. Doing sidewalk chalk of really big, really spooky pumpkins with Maisley. Taking baths with lavender epsom salt. 

There’s a house down the street that has a life-like skeleton in their driveway as part of their halloween decorations. Everyday, the skeleton is doing something new. Yesterday he was fixing a car, today he is skating on a ramp, what will he be doing tomorrow? That skeleton, that dead, plastic set of bones we have dubbed “Steve”, might just be the best thing in my life right now.

A tiny part of me can see that in feeling this full spectrum of emotions, that in my biggest brokenness, I am becoming more whole. That this is life. Sorrow, despair, joy and love. 




The Summer of Life and Death

I’ve lived 31 years without knowing what grief is. I know about death. People die all the time. Just not people who are ingrained in my DNA, my every memory, my childhood, and my entire existence up to one moment.

From one moment to the next, my life became unrecognizable.  I’ve been propelled into an alternate universe where I feel every emotion, often at once. Everything and everyone around me feels like glass, like the rest of my life could shatter at any moment. Homesick, as the priest said.

Who will I be on the other side of this loss? What does life look like without my Dad?

My daughter was born on June 1st. My dad died on September 29th. It’s a strange thing having life and death in the same season.  As I stood there in a vulnerable postpartum state, my heart wide open, physically exhausted and run down, I lost one of the single greatest influences of my life: my dad.

I can’t help but recall the process of birth as I am learning to survive death.

As goes birth, so does death; breath by breath. If you fight against the surges, they will sweep you away, becoming even more painful and intense. The only way I am learning to survive is to sway with the intense surges of grief, surrendering to this powerful force and allowing it to move through me. Once it is has passed, I desperately search for the peace and joy in the moments in between, trying not to dwell on the intensity of what I just felt or on what’s coming next.

I’m not sure exactly what happened in between her birth and his death. It all feels blurry right now. I think there was sand and sunshine, a little doom and June gloom. Birthday celebrations, trips and other ordinary memories that are now anything but that. 

The only thing I am sure of is right now. I am alive. Living this season, this moment, in gratitude, prayer, anger, sadness and hope.







My Dad Showed Up

My dad showed up. 

He showed up every day to work as a compassionate and intelligent boss, a quietly confident role model, never once taking a sick day.

He showed up every day as a dad, in steadfast love, support, advice and compassion.

He showed up to every soccer game and track meet with a smile, like he wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. He once surprised me and flew from Las Vegas to San Diego for a quick 4-hour trip just to watch me run the 800. I will never forget the feeling of seeing my dad there to cheer me around the track.

He showed up every day as a husband, kissing my mom first thing when he came home from work, being the best teammate and partner for endless parties and bbqs, building a successful life together from humble coupon-cutting beginnings.

He showed up as a handyman, a Jeff of all trades, to help me fix things around our house as a first-time home buyer. Who else but my dad to would be crawling through the attic, cutting a whole in our loft to install air conditioning. Or showing up with the exact tools to perfectly patch a whole in our wall. Don’t know how to fix the toilet handle? I’ve got a dad for that.

He showed up across the world when I needed him most. I called him crying while studying abroad saying that it was hard to be away from home. He called me back saying he’d love to come visit. We traveled around Italy together and then again years later around Australia and New Zealand, never getting sick of each other, sharing beers, hikes, laughs and unforgettable adventures.

He showed up in humility for everyone in the community in big and small ways with his golden heart. Helping a neighbor grab her bible that she dropped in a storm drain, fixing leaks, financially supporting make-a-wish style trips for people in need, and always doing the right thing.

And more than anything, what I will miss most, is that he showed up as himself every day; down to earth, a humble essence, with a keen perspective on what was important in life.  My dad treated everyone he met with respect. He lived out what it means to work hard and did it with the greatest witty sense of humor.

Today, we show up in his honor. We show up as reflections of him, and the kindness he showed us, We show up as the best versions of ourselves. We show up in deep gratitude and with enormous pride for what he gave us.

Dadio: we will always be your biggest fans, your number one babes. Thank you for our memorable conversations spent at 35,000 feet, thank you for grinding up mustard hill by my side, thank you for Sunday morning brekkies, for endless early morning ski runs at Bass Lake and for 31 years of countless more memories.

We are who we are because of you and mom. We will live out the rest of our lives with you in our hearts, forever entwined in our choices, our actions and our character. I love you Dadio.