The following entries (from beginning runner to half marathon finisher) represents a continuing journey of tremendous grief and sorrow, and of transformation - largely through the therapeutic power of running. The sorrow that has broken my heart open wide has in time allowed me to experience the beauty of being in the present moment. And of course, without the support of family and friends to guide me, I would not have made it this far.

If you have lost someone in your life, I offer these words and verse (some Kristy's, some mine and others) with the hope it may touch your heart and help you heal.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Photo by Elliot

The following paragraph is a passage from the book Breaking Open by Elizabeth Lesser. It is a way of thinking that seems to manifest itself when you get to the bottom of the well, so to speak. While I can allow myself to feel deeply it is difficult for me to accept what has happened. To allow it to become a part of who I am. To allow it into my life and learn to live with it every screaming minute of every day. Does accepting my daughters death mean I am saying it's okay? Can the reality of it really make it bearable? I am not at the point where I can answer these questions, but the following words seem to hold some promise. There are people who have suffered the death of their whole family and have survived. I do know that suffering is the great equalizer. It makes you feel transparent, as if nothing can hide you from the world. Your only identity is that of a person suffering - your mind can think of and understand nothing else.

"Adversity is a natural part of being human. It is the height of arrogance to prescribe a moral code or health regime or spiritual practice as an amulet to keep things from falling apart. Things do fall apart. It is in their nature to do. When we try to protect ourselves from the inevitability of change, we are not listening to the soul. We are listening to our fear of life and death, our lack of faith, our smaller ego's will to prevail. To listen to the soul is to stop fighting with life - to stop fighting when things fall apart; when they don't go our way, when we get sick, when we are betrayed or mistreated or misunderstood. To listen to the soul is to slow down, to feel deeply, to see ourselves clearly, to surrender to discomfort and uncertainty, and to wait."

And so.......I wait.

Friday, March 27, 2009



The garden Kristy and I tended

yesterday I threw
a rock into the garden…

that a woman once gave to me
small and white… it was of the sea
like she appeared from nowhere
in need of release
in an ear or in a shoulder

yet so did I
such relief desire

stories of our alive
such pleasures and decadence
yet such torment
incomprehensible brutality
in undeniable beauty

and all at once
and all the way
our souls laid bare

yesterday I threw
a rock into the garden….

but that was ten thousand years ago

-- Elliot

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Kristy wrote her name in the cement along with the
rest of the family. It kept the fence up for many
years. We often looked at this reminder of our
early years and reminisced

I wrote this poem many years ago for my mother. She was so important in my life at the time. Sadly she now suffers from Alzheimer's and our lives have been changed forever. When I was Kristy's age I turned to my mother when I had problems so big they seemed insurmountable. Now when I read this poem it seems to have been written for me.

The Motherhood Journey

Motherhood is like a long journey.
You pack everything a wise woman needs.
You give up everything a strong woman wants.

At some point you look back across the years.
Across the fields of joy and sorrow.
Across the years and moments of
love...sorrow...and forgiveness.

When the journey started
you wanted only to be a mother.
Now you want only
to be loved.

When I was 18 I married. I could hardly wait to be a mother. This was my fondest dream at the time. The love and joy I felt for each of my four children grew even more powerful as they became as adults. I can now say, 36 years later, I know of no greater love and no greater sorrow. As much as I have loved, I have now also grieved. It is the memory of this love which is now keeping me alive.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Yesterday at the lake there were signs everywhere of Spring.
I want to believe there is beauty and rebirth in the future.

This was written to me by a friend: We are pulled into life, and pulled through it, yet we describe ourselves as doing this or that as if we have a choice to do something or not. Like water slamming against a boulder before flowing around it, we careen from obstructions in our lives, but despite them, our lives flow on - a greater force compels us. Nothing stands still; not in life, and not in death. There is no past, only a present account of the past. There is no future; only the anticipation of the future. The present is our reality. It incorporates history and anticipation. Time is the force that accumulates history. But we have consciousness; therefore, we have the choice of action, correctly regarding history and anticipating the future.

This is my response: This seems to be the common concensus in every meditative approach I read. I am just trying to understand how to keep going with the flow. I know I have no choice, I am here today. But my life is now nothing like what it was before and the anticipation within the present is lacking. When people talk about going on from disappointment and change I think they cannot possibly mean me. More than disappoint is loosing your joy for life. Something more though - the very fact I am afraid to voice thoughts of defeat and surrender lead me to believe I don't think anyone else can understand what is happening. Being empty seems to be something at least. A way to appreciate what was. But deep inside I don't think I will ever be able to feel a joy such as I had again. I know it is wrong to look back on what I had and not be glad that I had it. This is the one argument that keeps me going. I had joy. To be alive now is to remember it. Is this feeling strong enough to overcome the lack of it in the present moment? When the later is coupled with the horror of feeling the rest of my life without this joy THEN it becomes unbearable. I know I am at a cross road so to speak. I guess I am looking for some type of sign.

Friday, March 20, 2009


One year later we sit by the river and remember our sister,
our daughter and our friend. Click on the title to see a video
taken riverside.

if time had any meaning
it may be love
a year without you
has been a year with you
in the deepest way
we will never be nearer
or further apart
I lose you and find you
as I lose and find myself
you will always be the love of my life
teaching me of all other love
I release the pain of your absence
and embrace the joy of your presence
you are my teacher, my sister, and
my guide in worlds seen and unseen
my gratitude for every moment we have shared
is profound and alive as this river
thank you Kristianna
thank you
thank you
in teaching me to love so completely
you have given meaning to my life
I will not doubt that eternity is ours
to share


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Few sights compare to the beauty of the river as
it takes on the first rays of sunlight. I retreated to
the river to be with my daughter and my sister on
March 9, the first anniversary of Kristy's death.

For months now I have been writing an entry every day into this diary. It has never been a chore as I felt I had to pour out my heart or it would burst at some point. There's something almost alive about putting your thoughts where anyone can read them. And the whole process has been one of movement as I go from thought to thought, trying to make some sense out of Kristy's death.

When I achieved the goal I set for my recent run, things began to change for me. I no longer had something to focus on. Having a structured training schedule to achieve this run took all thought out of a portion of each day. This is the part of each day I treasured most, as it allowed me to escape thoughts of death and loss.

I am still trying to find my way back into focus. I feel as if I am floundering in my own dark passage and can't seem to find a way out. I used to feel as if I had a separate life, one that was my own. But it contained so many different things - things that were really not just mine. Everything has changed now and I feel as if I do not know who I am anymore.

I would like to write about the first anniversary of Kristy's death at some point. It still has to wait. I know I am not ready, because for now the words are not coming to me. I can't seem to find a way to express them. Hopefully, this is a start.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Today an article came out in the San Jose Mercury News regarding the crash that killed my daughter. The one year anniversary will be on Monday, March 9.

San Jose News Paper Article

My sister Kim and I will travel to be with Laurissa today and plan to stay with her for a few days.

We miss you Kristy. You are always on my mind and in my heart.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Become the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi


Kristy, Bancroft Elementary School

I would like to post this message from a former elementary school classmate of Kristy's. It reminds me there were so many others who loved and admired her - from grade school on up.

My God what a tragedy. I just found out last night. I grew up with Kristy in San Leandro and went to Roosevelt and Bancroft with her.

Dear Kristy,

It has been well well over a decade since I last saw you Kristy but I feel that the world has lost someone great. Reading that you have achieved such things in your life comes as no surprise what so ever. Actually totally expected to hear that you are a champion athlete. You were always the fastest girl in the playground and was faster than just about every one of us boy's too.

Being a athlete was your destiny. The world feels like a smaller place just knowing you are no longer with us. Kristy, you loom large in my memories of my childhood. You did touch many lives more than you probably ever realised. I will always remember you Kristy. Will always remember you. -

Chris Baldwin,
London,UK (grew up in San Leandro)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Kristy playing with a litter of stray kittens

My mind has been distracted by the looming anniversary of Kristy's death, now just 5 days away. If you are just visiting this site, please read on. I hope in some way what I have written will touch you. Not all of us suffer the loss of a child. But we all go through the darker corridors of life and suffer in countless ways. We are all visited by "dark angels". It is this struggle that makes us who we are and binds us together in our humanity.