October 27, 2011

Three Years

"My friend died today..." are four words I sincerely hope that none of you dear, dear readers ever have to mutter to others at any point in your lives. That powerful sentence can change everything in a heartbeat and that's exactly what happened three years ago.

Monday night my awesome roommate whom I love with every ounce of my being got to see me do an ugly cry. Ugly. It is rare that I shed any tears and even rarer that it gets ugly--meaning the whole red-eye, nose-running, deep-breathing--it definitely wasn't pretty. She was hanging out in our room reading before we went to sleep and when I walked in there to change into my jammies, the tears just poured. Before I went into our room for bed, I clicked over to Korrine's blog to read through some old posts from her diagnosis, chemo treatments, glorious triumphs and watched videos that were put up from her beginning rounds of chemo. With her death date quickly coming back around, I wanted to reminisce on the memories that I have of Korrine before she passed away. Apparently that was a bad idea...I couldn't hold it together on Monday. I first read my blog post from last year and then went and read a couple of the very first posts that were ever posted back in December 2007. It just hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn't bear it. Thank God for roommates...as I cried into my blankets she sat at the edge of her bed waiting for me to regroup (even if it was just for a deep breath). I cried all over her shoulders while she hugged me and it was just so comforting. I think in the midst of crying I muttered out, "Why did she have to die?" and that right there pretty much sums up the evening.

Three years later is still hurts just as much as October 27, 2008 did. Actually, it may even hurt more now than it did back then. I was still a junior in high school and the death just stunned me. 16 year olds obviously know what death is and can comprehend that, but it just hurt and stung so bad, I think I was just shocked that an awesome friend of mine honestly died and I would never see her again. Ever. 3 years later, it is sinking in that she is really gone and will not be back. Korrine has left an everlasting impression on me and I hope to never lose it. I am full of joy and happiness not because she died, but because I have faith that she is rejoicing right now and free of pain. Accepting that is not an easy pill to swallow, but did Korrine ever do anything that was esay?

So, where do we go from here? As I'm in the midst of college, nursing school application time is coming up a little too quickly for my liking. In the future, I would absolutely love to work in pediatric oncology. That is my absolute passion. After visiting Korrine during her cancer days and seeing the relationship and bond between the nurses and their patients and families, that's when I decided what I was going to be. Often times when I tell people that's my desirable career, I hear, "Oh wow, that's powerful. So much life and death." Well, yes, that's true but the life and death isn't just going to stop because I choose to take a path in life that is more lively. Death is all over the medical field--I'm not going to be selfish and sit back to watch death happen to protect myself. I already lost a friend to cancer and saw so many different things during her ten month battle, I feel like to live for Korrine the way she wants us all to do, going back to help those other children that are still fighting the fight, is the least that I can do.

In fact, her parents aren't sitting around either. They TeamKC organization has really taken off in the last three years and they were actually interviewed this week about what's been happening around the organization. The funds for a TeamKC house in Oakland are in the works in order to support families that are commuting to and from the hospital daily. It would give them a place to stay during long hospital stays just to relax rather than hustle back and forth from home. This was Korrine's dream before she passed away and seeing it happen honestly warms my heart. I'm so happy to see that coming to life and I would super appreciate it if all of you amazing people would keep Matt and Dana in your prayers as they continue building her dream.

As this day draws to a close, I'm just thankful that God blessed me with Korrine's friendship for the relatively short time that I knew her. Just having her friendship for a few years has changed my perspective on life completely and it is so humbling to see how He works through different people like he did through Korrine. I hope the same feeling is touching you all tonight as your evening continues on. How did Korrine affect you? What everlasting impression did she leave on your heart?

May 23, 2011

"Just remember, there is nothing today you and the Lord can't handle together."

Those very words are what sent me on my merry way this morning after attending mass. Perfection. Good thing too...the reminder is always nice.

This morning while fighting with my alarm clock, my dad's number came up on caller ID at my home phone. I instantly knew something was wrong because my parents are divorced and don't speak...he uses my cell phone to get in touch with my brothers or me. Why the house phone? The phone call went something like this:

Dad: "Is your mother there?"
Me: Why would he want my mother? Clearly something is wrong. "No, she is at work."
Dad: "She won't answer her cell phone and I have really awful news that I need to share with her."
Me: Heart starts racing. "What happened?"
Dad: "Sit down. Mark (dad's best friend) called me and told me that Jan (his wife) had a cerebral hemorrhage yesterday afternoon and instantly died."
Me: Tears.
Dad: "I will try your mother again, but please tell her to contact me."

Jan. My mother's college roommate and best friend since then (about 30 years ago). Almost like an aunt to me. Her two boys are both near my brothers' and my own ages--almost like other siblings, but more like cousins. She passed away yesterday afternoon on her way home from Oregon with her mother and sister-in-law and I still cannot believe it. I will never see her again. I can't picture her without a smile plastered across her face or a laugh filling the entire room. She was such a genuine, kind-hearted person and she will be missed greatly. She was also my oldest brother's godmother. Please keep her husband, sons and the rest of her family/friends in your prayers.

Later on today, my own mother found out that a skin biopsy came back cancerous. It isn't a serious issue since it is on her ear and a very small area, but knowing that it is malignant cancer is not exactly encouraging. She will go in for surgery again sometime soon and have more of the skin on her ear removed until only healthy cells remain. After that, she should be back to normal. Just please, please pray. Both of these incidences are enough to send my mom to a crazy house.

But as you go on throughout your days, remember, there is nothing that you and the Lord cannot handle together.

"No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

May 22, 2011

I remember...

...when I said goodbye to all of my friends one afternoon. I never thought life was going to be worth it being separated from them.
...the day I moved into the dorms back in August 2010 and the air conditioning was out, it was at least 95* outside, and I was sweating like a pig.
...when I didn't know anyone except my roommate so we walked around aimlessly and acted like we knew what was going on.
... how I thought SDSU's campus was gigantic and I would never "get" it.
...the moment my mother left me for the last time and I was officially on my own. I felt bad because I wasn't sad or sure how to react since I was pretty independent throughout high school--senior year especially.
...how my roommate cried when her mom left and I then I felt bad for not caring.
...the first weekend of school a (drunk) girl was "stuck" on my floor and kept trying to exit through the emergency door, setting the alarm off numerous times at 3:30 am.
...feeling lonely the first few weeks and especially the first day of school. I had SUCH a strong support system here at home and an awesome group of friends, it was hard to transition to nothing.
...when I met a couple friends from high school for dinner one night. It was really nice to see familiar faces and feel comfortable again.
...trying to navigate my way downtown on public transit on 9/11/10 to meet a lady who I babysit for. Needless to say, I got extremely lost (heading to Mexico), cried HYSTERICALLY for a good 45 minutes, met her for dinner, and then called my roommate to come pick me up. Traumatizing event.
...the day I turned 18 on the 18th. My dad came down to spend the day with me and it was just lovely. At this point I still hadn't bonded with many real friends (it was only the third week) and who wants to spend their 18th alone? Or any birthday, for that matter.
...when tryouts for crew started and my friendships started forming. I will never forget that first bunch of teammates.

...the first month of college...

April 18, 2011

If You Were Here...

Dearest Korrine,

If you were here, today we would be celebrating your 17th birthday. SEVENTEENTH!!! Oh my goodness, that went by fast. I remember when I met you and you were what, ten I think? Either way, you're getting old but what am I saying? So am I!!!

If you were here and I were at home today on your birthday, I would be pulling out a nice, hot, funfetti birthday cake from the oven before school started. After it cooled, I would frost it with chocolate frosting and swirl cream cheese frosting into the middle afterwards. I would show up to your house nice and early with balloons and the cake and make this day one of the best ones you've had. Chances are though, that I would still be here in San Diego chugging along with school but hey, a girl can dream right??

If you were here and I was still in San Diego on your birthday, I would call you right when I woke up and sing you happy birthday. I would then log onto Facebook and post a video on your wall praising you and going on and on about how incredibly special you are and what a blessing it is for me to have you in my life.

The only problem is that you are not here today and you aren't coming back. Those words still hurt to write and I know this is really selfish to say, but I wish more than anything that you were here living life and celebrating your 17th birthday with the hundreds and hundreds of people who love you so dearly. Instead, I will walk through this day remembering you (not that that's new or anything) and carrying your love and passion for life in my heart and spread it to all the people I come in contact with no matter what happens. You, my marvelous friend, are why I am so positive. You taught me how to love and more importantly, you brought me closer to the Savior. You are the reason I can get out of negative moods more quickly than ever and bounce back to the joyful life I enjoy living. You are the reason I smile at everything, because we never know when our last smile is going to happen. Even if you aren't here, I'm celebrating your 17th.

I sincerely hope that you are having an awesome time in heaven with our Father. I cannot wait to be reunited with you when it's my turn. Happy 17th birthday, Korrine. I love you and miss you every single day that I live.

Love always,

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