gentle warriors

This is my dad in Korea, one of my favorite pictures of him. It is so him. The way his hand is draped over his knee, that sweet crooked smile, the slightly turned-in foot, and best of all his ability to get down on the ground to hang out with a kid.

We never heard much about his time in Korea; he was not really a boastful guy. Back then he was a partier, and rumor is that this trait postponed many of his departures to the battle field. It seems the clerk in charge of the index cards (!) indicating who was shipping out was a drinking buddy, and didn’t want his pal to go. I have no clue if this is true or just a family myth. Either way, it’s a good story.

Today we honor our veterans. I am thankful for them, I am thankful for their parents and their loved ones who watched them walk out the door, not knowing if they will ever return. I am very thankful.

I stand here crying for a different gentle warrior…one that left this earth for her next journey way too young. Three different cancers over the past 15 years, she fought like no other. She was a warrior.

There are people who change your life with their gifts. Fran’s gifts were many, she was a master of color, a sculptor…an artist. Fran was our hairstylist. This sounds like a crazy exaggeration, I mean really, who mourns their hairstylist like this, but Fran was more than just someone who cut our hair. Fran was a friend.

My daughter, another warrior…fights the battle of trichotillomania. It started in 6th grade and it is a constant in her life. When you develop this kind of obstacle in middle school things can go two ways…your community can rally around you, or they can run. I am in awe of the communities that rally around kids in need. That did not happen here. One of the few people we could always count on, who addressed the issue, who was always supportive, who wanted to learn, was Fran. Fran gave me the gift of one of the best days with my girl, she gave Olivia her first pixie. After a year of hiding under hats and wraps, when Olivia was ready…she trusted Fran to cut what was left of her hair. Without judgement or drama, Fran created the most beautiful little cut…hello Mia Farrow, hello beautiful girl…welcome back my Olivia. When someone makes your kid feel beautiful that person is forever in your heart.

Why can’t I stop shaking…these last few years have been filled with loss, what is it about this death that is hitting me so hard? Fran was a hard working woman, a business owner, a mom. She loved to cook for her peeps, celebrate her kids, entertain, and take care of her extended family…13 years into her cancer battle, she still hosted Thanksgiving. Fran was a woman who never turned down a job, who loved to make people feel good about themselves, a woman who gave. I am so very sad because even though she lived every moment of the last 15 years to the fullest, she will not get to see her kids grow up, or experience the first night of having an empty nest with her husband. I mourn for her, her family, and everyone she connected with. I mourn because her death frightens me and reminds me to live each day, to appreciate time.

Fran, I wish you a gentle journey to your next adventure, I wish you peace. I hope your next go is pain-free and full of rainbows. I know you will, once again, appreciate every moment.

I am thankful for Fran.

Published by Kat

A mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a graphic designer. I am flawed... but I try.

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