Monthly Archives: September 2013

DID

Karin Diamond 6/29/82 – 9/21/13

(craig, sammy & karin)

 

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How do you properly articulate someone that has perfect articulation? Always writing profoundly, yet realistically.

Steve was different. We had an obligation to one another. A commitment. Not only was it easy to be by his side or write about him,  it was mutual. It was expected. It was without question.

Karin Diamond did not. She didn’t have to do anything. Especially, given her own circumstances.

I could write on and on about the beauty, intelligence, uniqueness and awesomeness of Karin Diamond, but her obituary is so perfectly eloquent, no need.

What I want to express is my gratitude for how she shared her life. Karin DID. She just DID.

She did things like fly out to California to celebrate the Life of Steve. If you think about, really think about it, this was brave. I know both she and Steve didn’t like “brave”, since they were both “just doing what anyone would do in the same circumstance”. I call bullshit! Imagine attending a memorial of someone you love, but then imagine adding in the fact that you faced the same possible fate and quite possibly very soon. Then add in the fact that you’re in your third year of fucked up cancer and you travel across the US in pain, on steroids with looming treatments of your own. Then you come with grace, strength, kindness and comfort. And, your husband, an obvious reflection of each other, comes as well. This is doing.

She did things like take the time to write long supportive, candid, kind, intuitive emails. Putting aside her own fears. Ignoring her own anxieties. Placing the immediate needs of others before her very own.  To be able to write about someone you love, like she did about Steve.   Not only is it a natural gift of empathy, compassion and intelligence, but it is active, conscious decision making. Emotional and selfless strength.

She did things like live in the moment to create her future, like attending a writing workshop in San Francisco, continuing to make progress in her life and follow her passions. She wrote so distinctly and honestly that they made plays of her work. This is doing and not waiting for the hard things to pass to “do” later.

She did things like contemplate intentions and the future. Doing what many fear, facing what might not exist.

She did things like laughtravel and disobey the rules. Doing positive, fun things in spite of physical obstacles or rules.

She also did equally important things like express fear and vulnerability in her writings. Something that is so profound and so graceful. Giving yourself over, meanwhile helping others with your candor and subjectivity. Doing emotional is never easy, especially when in physical pain and unimaginable emotional stress.

She did things like express gratitude for her ridiculously strong, empathetic and dedicated husband, Craig. I know what it takes and I know what this man did. It’s a strain on marriage, both ways. But, it is also something so remarkably bonding and special. So hard to put into words. Karin sent me an email a few months ago worried about Craig and what would happen to him afterwards. She did for him exactly what he did for her, she gave him a priceless gift. She cared, reciprocated and did unto others.  She had gratitude for that man and truly truly appreciated every little thing he did for her. Just read her blog and you’ll know what they did for each other.

She appreciated every little thing that was given; every lil and big thing she earned; every and anything she was able to do.

She appreciated other people’s joys, all the while similar ones of her own where compromised.  Overcoming any potential feelings of jealousy or self-pity to truly celebrate someone else’s progress is doing something so incredibly strong, gracious and impactful. Not only looking inside yourself and challenging yourself, but looking outside of you and realizing the world goes on and everyone has their “thing”. Good and bad.

Yeah, maybe some of these things sound like “normal” and mundane, but that is what makes them even more impactful. What she did was live. She lived and learned to be in the present. I know, not every day, but she at least tried. Believe me, I doubt every day was filled with peace, happiness and perfection.  But this is what made her special. She was real, true and open.  She gave of herself, not expecting in return. This more difficult than giving any material gift.  She gave graciously, gracefully and selflessly. She taught others how to face anxiety, fear and yet still have a deep deep want and appreciation for living.  Of course she wasn’t perfect, but she was pretty damn close.

Do you want to know what a 31 year old thinks of before she dies? What she wants you to know?

It’s not about how much money you can make or about how successful you are in a career or about how fast you can get to the finish line. You already know what it’s about; what tugs at you and you sometimes ignore. If you take anything away from Karin’s life, listen to what she has said and written. Truly listen, live and DO.

This was in an email she dictated and Craig typed the day prior to her leaving us:

I hope that you are also able to see the beauty in the little things and keep your eyes open,

find love, and continue to be there for one another.

You’ve helped carry me though so much. Hold your family and friends tight because

you really never know when things can take a turn very quickly.”

 

Karin posted this a couple of weeks ago. I think she mattered. And DID Gracefully. 

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In-Betweens


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

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There’s that second when it clicks. All of a sudden you feel that wave of emotion from the middle of your chest, down through your stomach. It’s when you know. You realize how lucky you are in that very moment. It’s not always. And, it doesn’t stay with you every single second. But when it’s there, you have a deep appreciation for every single person in your life.   No matter if they’ve only said one little positive word to you, if they’ve challenged your patience or if they’ve done a thousand unfathomable kind gestures.

Balance.

Then there are the moments and spaces in-between. Times with lulls, stress, panic, pain, hopelessness, numbness, terror and fear. These in-betweens are just as important. Without them, we wouldn’t have the moments of clicking. Without them, we wouldn’t build up strength, empathy and kindness. Without balance, we wouldn’t find our way.

Beautiful things can happen during these in-betweens.

This is when we can go towards things that frightened us. Sometimes these struggles are a choice and other times things that are thrown at us without reason. At the time, these moments may seem insurmountable or impossible. But, it is at these times where the change will happen.

It is always so difficult for me to convey the amount of respect that I have for Steve. It’s an appreciation for earnest strength, compassion and selflessness. It’s a greatness that I didn’t even know was possible in a person. Steve was a beautiful person. And he didn’t just happen. He suffered. He found his way. All along not just full of warmth, kindness, and laughter, but also full of fears and pain. And what came out, was something so priceless and gentle.

It’s taken me a long time to realize, but I now know that we all have the potential in us. Sometimes it may take something catastrophic to allow for it to blossom. Other times it may just be a minute incident, a difficult decision or an interaction with a stranger that changes us. Each of these encounters has the potential to mold us into something amazing. And, it’s definitely not that simple. But, we have a say in it, even when it may not seem so. Our reaction is the choice. It’s the only thing in our control.

“It hurts to look at the clouds, but it also helps, like most things that cause pain.” 
― The Silver Lining Playbook

It’s never achieved alone. It’s never straightforward. It’s never ever easy. It’s not instant; it takes time. It’s not always a “win”. And, it often really fucking sucks while it’s happening. Sometimes it’s acceptance, facing defeat, something so difficult and sobering. But what this all means, is that in the end, the result can be something so extraordinary and something so amazing. Not always living up to our original desire, expectation or goal and often a side step. Not just something tangible, but also an indirect derivative that is even more precious. An intangible appreciation and understanding of life itself.

Not only over the past 4 years, but over my entire life, I’ve been so very lucky to meet such beautiful people. People who have given so much, often without even knowing it. There’s an incredible intimacy in sharing someone’s struggle and suffering. It’s not to be taken lightly. They allowing you to see vulnerability. You, a witness as they find their way through the in-betweens. All the while, you finding your way, even without knowing it at times.

Believe me, we will all have our in-betweens. We will all have to be vulnerable. We will have to see defeat. We will all have to find balance and stand time. But, we will all have our choice on how we react.

It’s painful to reflect. But acknowledging and remembering the in-betweens makes this all the more beautiful.

music:  future islands “balance”

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