as i sit here, i count my blessings that i have a bed, food, water, and electricity. my mind wanders to those in the Philippines with none of that. i can’t even imagine.
honestly, i feel a little defeated that the media isn’t helping make the help that the Philippines need more visible and heard. but it doesn’t meant that i’m not going to stop trying. instead of my regular scheduled post, today is my post is for For Philippines with Love.
in remembrance of those lives lost in the wake of typhoon haiyan and this post is raised in hope for those still alive and holding on to whatever faith they have that things will be ok again.
how does having a Blogger Day of Silence help? well when we did this for For Japan With Love, over 1200+ bloggers got involved and i significantly remember when i went to bed the night before, we had raised $28,000 and four hours later when i woke up, the amount was $44,000. so oh yes, it helps for sure. every little helps.
so please if you can, donate.
but more importantly, take a moment today to think of those in the Philippines.
just wanted to share a quick announcement.
thanks for taking a moment to read!
and of course,
i’m sure most of you are well aware that i went off the radar for a while as i had to deal with some personal and family matters. well i’m back and already started scheduling posts again and catching up and answering emails. i wanted to take the time to thank you all for your patience and understanding while i went through this time. thank you to those especially who have reached out on a personal level to make sure i was ok.
growing up is hard enough, but throw in losing loved ones, had a major toll on my family and i. this included my mum, my sister and i getting a major stomach virus (which i’m still currently recovering from). i’m sure we easily succumbed to it because of all the stress we were dealing with. each day gets better and better and it has become part of daily life and we’ve just learned to accept. we still miss him a lot. it’s still surreal. but baby steps.
but i digress. just wanted to let you all know that i’m back and posts will be back to normal tomorrow including confetti throw fridays! excited for all the upcoming posts and happy to be back.
p.s. that’s cleo (his and my sister’s dog) and i having a stare down.
and so here we are, four years later.
even though i haven’t been blogging for more than a month because of certain circumstances, i still can’t believe this blog has existed for four years. it’s longer than any job i’ve had so far. i can’t believe the features that have been on here. i can’t believe the photographers that have submitted features on here. and i’ll always say this over and over again, but the people i have met through this blog has truly been my favorite part of it all.
i’m incredibly thankful and so very lucky and blessed to have you all as loyal readers and supporters of this blog for so long. it’s still growing slowly, but surely. and i’m in awe of those who have reached out personally while i’ve been dealing with recent tragic events. thank you so much for standing by and being patient while i deal with my family and the whole recovery/grieving process or whatever it’s supposed to be called. (if you have no idea what has happened, please take a moment to read THIS.)
i thought i was ready to be back this week. but my sister is actually in town so i’ll be spending time with her instead. i’m so fortunate to have a day time job that has given me flexibility to be with her. i’m still working my butt off, don’t get me wrong. but at least i get to be close to her and still work remotely. so despite how horrid this nightmare that is our reality is, i’m blessed to be able to still do the things i need to be doing and have the support and encouragement from dear friends and dear coworkers.
i’ll be back soon. but i wanted to hop on to say, thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for the past four years of absolutely wonderful submissions, beautiful imagery, from the belly laughs, happy tears, joyful moments, words of support and encouragement, and the bloody fantastic friendships. thank you oh so much for all the confetti love too- for literally throwing confetti with me or putting them in cards you send me or sending me some so i can throw too. my heart is full whenever i think about the people who i’ve met through this blog and continue to meet. so thank you really.
hope you join me in throwing some confetti this weekend.
xoxoxo and of course, #tcogtfo.
photo credit: Shoda Love
i’m almost ready to be back. i need this coming weekend to plan out and reschedule all these posts. i want to thank all the people who have sent submissions for their understanding and patience. truly thankful that people still want to be featured on here and don’t mind waiting. means a lot.
to describe the past month, there are truly no words. for those who have been following me on social media and those who have reached out personally, know how hard and how sad the days have been for my sister, my family, his family and me. we’ve been trying to keep busy to numb our minds and hearts, but there are those fleeting moments where your mind just can NOT grasp the reality and you remind yourself that he really isn’t coming back and he really isn’t here anymore- it’s not a nightmare, this is reality- and then you just mentally, physically, emotionally break down.
my dearest darlingest sister has the strength and bravery of no other person i know. she manages to get herself out of bed at 5am in the morning, go to work by 6am, save lives and do surgeries that are 8+ hrs at times, sometimes tell families that their loved one isn’t going to make it, and still walk back into their apartment into the loving paws of their dog. don’t get me wrong, she has major breakdowns almost every day though…but i do have to say they have gotten less and less. she’s working on the reminders she has of them together where they make her less sad and make her glad and happy that she had them. guys, it’s truly incredible what my sister is doing and what she is capable of at this horrible trying time.
i want to thank all of you who have been sending so many thoughts, prayers, and encouraging, comforting words. some may have been silently done and many have been heard. you have no idea how much my family and his family appreciate it. the gratitude i have for all of you can not be fully expressed.
with that in mind though, i can only think of paying it forward. as it always has been part of this blog and myself, to help and support any way possible. good friend, NIRAV PATEL, reached out to me and asked if i could help spread the word and help out his dear friend and website designer- Ryan Malmberg.
the above are THE MALMBERGS. a sweet loving family. the parents are powerhouses of physical and emotional strength. a few years ago, their baby boy passed away just 6 months after his birth. since then they had two beautiful girls. but some just can’t get a break and recently, jessica was diagnosed with breast cancer. i spent some time reading their journal and realizing how health insurance only covers so much, the out of pocket expenses for jessica’s surgery as well as the treatment after are going to pile so high. yet this family’s outlook on life is still yet so positive and so strong. we can all learn a little something from that. puts everything in perspective. please take a look at their site and see if there’s any way you can help at all.
check HERE to see what Nirav is doing to help raise funds for this sweet family. he’ll be selling some of his prints seen HERE to help out. please, if there’s any way you can chip in, please do. get something pretty in return for the good that will help this family so much.
i’ve always known how precious life is. but the past few weeks have hit home about how you can not take anything for granted. do whatever you can to help others in need. my heart aches for the family and hope for the best for them.
sorry if i sound like a debbie downer lately. i’m still grasping the reality of my new situation. i hope you all still continue to follow this blog when i’m back to regularly scheduled posts. thank you all again ahead of time for all the love, support, and encouragement.
disclaimer: this is a heavy post. this is a personal one and it’s just going to be words and no images. i try not to be too personal sometimes on here as i want people to focus on the photographers and their work. however, recent events have put a complete stop on this blog. forgive me as i’m not a writer and my brain and heart are feeling all sorts of things so this will come off as discombobulated. there isn’t really a way to describe how i’m feeling right now.
i don’t really know where to start. i actually don’t really even know what to think.
on thursday, june 6th, 2013, around 7:30 PM, my sister’s boyfriend collapsed suddenly and passed away. they did an autopsy the next day and there were no immediate signs or causes for his death like an aneurysm, a blood clot, etc. there are toxicology reports being run i believe, but those take more than a few weeks. and at that rate, what really is the point? he’s gone.
he was only 36. he was perfectly healthy. he did not do drugs. he was not a heavy drinker. he was none of that. went on walks with their dog. his career was on the fast track of success doing some amazing work for pancreatic cancer. he was at his peak. he was the perfect one for my sister. they were together for 8 years and had been living together for probably 4 years.
my sister was not with him when he passed. she was in reno for part of her general surgery residency program and he was back where they lived in oakland. she did not get to say goodbye or physically hold him and say goodbye. i actually don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. he was an organ donor therefore we never got a chance to say goodbye. but that’s how amazing of a human being he was.
when my sister called friday morning to tell me the news, my first thought was my grandma, then my parents, then maybe my sister had broken up with him. it did NOT cross my mind that he had died. he was THE last person i was thinking of. i was in nyc when all of this happened. my parents rushed up to be with my sister and her friends drove from oakland to reno back to oakland to pick her up. i flew there as soon as i could to be with her. though i’m not sure how much help i was cause i was a sobbing mess.
my sister, oh my dearest darlingest sister. my heart is aching for her. there are no words or actions that can comfort her. people go up to her and give her their condolences and say “it’s going to be alright”. well frankly, no it isn’t. it isn’t going to be ok. how can you say that to someone who just lost the love of their life? what do you say to someone who has lost that someone who loved them unconditionally and knew at the end of the day, they were made for each other? this isn’t a break up where you know it will be ok. he is everywhere in that apartment of their’s, he is everywhere in the neighborhood they live in, he is everywhere in the dog they own, he is everywhere in her heart, soul and breath.
my sister is a damn strong person. she’s a general surgeon after all. but gaddamn, this…this is just too much. honestly, i don’t know how to be there for her as a sister. cause i really don’t know what to tell her or what to say to her. i really don’t know. i don’t understand the situation. why did he have to be taken away from her? what did she do to deserve this devastating heartbreak? why her? why them? i know i won’t ever get answers. but as a sister, i loved him because he loved my sister so wonderfully and so beautifully. he had the patience and kindness that i would want my sister to be showered with. he also gave that to me. while my sister was in med school, he would keep me company while i visited her. he made me those thin pancakes i loved, take me out to lunch, talk about interesting historical facts together, taught me how to take care of their puppy. he had jokes for me and shared the same sense of humor and sarcasm. in fact, we were similar with certain behaviors and my sister would point out how freaky it was at times. what more could you want for your sister? what more could you want in a brother?
i don’t know. i’m still trying to process it all. i’m still in shock and disbelief. i get sick to my stomach thinking about it. i walk around like a zombie feeling numb. i have multiple breakdowns a day. i lost a brother. trying to understand why he died is one thing, trying to understand why it was so sudden and unexplained is a whole different ball game. and this is just me…you guys can’t even imagine what my sister is going through. even i won’t ever to be able fully comprehend. i struggle with how i’m suppose to be around her and what i’m suppose to do for her. cause even i don’t know what i’m supposed to do. i just can’t believe he really is truly gone. i want him back so bad and i feel so helpless that i can’t make this situation better. cause there really isn’t any way. my sister’s heart and whole self aches every day. it’s a major struggle to want to wake up and fall asleep. the only time she feels ok is when she’s finally sleeping and not thinking about it.
it’s already hard to understand death. those that have a prolonged death from a serious illness- it’s a catch 22 cause you have the preparation to say goodbye, but it’s so dragged out that it’s probably not healthy either. a freak accident like being hit by a car…at least that’s explained. but shit…one split second and he’s gone. no rhyme or reason…no explanation. my mind just can not wrap around that fact. not like it matters, he’s gone anyways.
i think what hurts the most is how good it was with my sister and her boyfriend. they had plans. they had fucking awesome plans together. they barely ever argued. they were that couple. they had one of those relationships that once you have it, you don’t let go of it cause it’s that good. one of the things my sister has said in the past few days is she does not regret anything about their relationship, that she has said everything she has ever needed to say to him, she knows that he knew how she felt about him and loved him to the moon and back and back and back and back times infinity.
that freaking stupid saying “life is too short”. well fuck, that really hit home. i hate that saying cause i’ve heard it being said way too many times over the 27 years of my life. and while it’s supposed to encourage you to take risks and take that leap. more than ever right now, it’s teaching me to not fret about the small crap. get mad at your loved ones, but don’t forget to tell them you love them after no matter how pissed you are at them. love with all your heart. hug everyone tightly more often now. you just really never know when it’ll be your last chance. whatever it was that bothered you about them before, just let it go. it’s just not worth it. so not worth it. i find myself getting annoyed at facebook/ twitter updates that talk about how frustrated someone is over something idiotically petty and stupid. i want to tell them to shut up and buck up. if my sister can freaking go back and save a life in two weeks while going through this hell hole, they need to get a grip on their life and bring it back into perspective.
i know for a fact that it won’t be ok. i miss him terribly so. i want him back for selfish reasons because he loved my sister unconditionally. he made the world for her. i want him back cause he was more than a friend, but my brother. my heart aches and i cry. i’m so frustrated. i’m so frustrated that i can’t figure out what to do for my sister. i just really don’t know. i still have so many thoughts and i’m so confused. i don’t really know how to write it down. all of this is only part of what i’m thinking.
my next few weeks are involving a lot of travel. we will be saying goodbye to him next weekend in canada. i’ll be up in the bay area a lot from now on to do whatever i can for my sister and to be there for her. i really don’t know if that will help at all. i’m going to take a few weeks off from this blog til i’m not sure. i apologize in advance for putting features on hold. my sister and my family comes first. well that and my own sanity. i will be back, i just don’t really know when for right now. it won’t be long cause i know he would have told me that life has to move on and not to ever let go of something this dear to me. i love this blog to pieces.
i want to thank my dear dear friends who have sent me messages of love, support and encouragement. i want to thank those who have kept my sister in their prayers and thoughts. i truly appreciate it. this community has always had my back and you have no idea how much it means to me. i am truly lucky to have you all in my life. for those that can physically be there for me, your hugs mean more to me than you will ever know. i apologize in advance for the burst of tears that happen when you hug me. for those who can’t physically be here but have been sending love and prayers over the interwebs, they are felt whole heartedly so thank you so much. thank you all for sticking through and reading all of this word for word.
to my sister, you already know how i feel. but know that i am here for you always. i’m in complete awe of how you are holding yourself together so gracefully. i know you will have your moments of breaking down and i will be there to hug you and hold you and try my best to hold you up and help you as best as i can. i love you and i will see you this sunday.
dear mikey, you meant the world to my sister. you meant the world to me because of what you meant to my sister. you will always be part of this family. thank you so much for loving her in a way only you could. thank you for taking care of me like a sister. you are so sorely missed. wherever you are, please keep looking after my sister and Cleo. i miss you and love you so. see you when i see you. xoxo.