Every time I dried my eyes and took a deep breath, my eyes would swell again as I saw him through someone else’s eyes. Waves of emotion crashed over and into me as I visualized his mother, father, stepmom, stepdad, grandparents. If I felt a void in my heart with him gone, what were they feeling? Imagining this was overwhelming and I felt lost inside of myself. I was attempting to grasp a reality that was incredibly difficult to face. Scanning my memories of loss, I couldn’t find the means to understand or digest all my coworkers and I were feeling. Yet, allowing ourselves to feel was enough for the time.
They say that grieving is a process, but the loss of a 5-year-old boy to cancer doesn’t seem to fit the traditional five steps of grief. The words “denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance” seem awfully empty and logical. They lack the depth of emotion we felt as we grieved the loss of our patient. As this little boy’s Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and Speech Language Pathologist, my coworkers and I learned that coming together to heal, learn, and support the patient’s family was one of the hardest things we’d have to do in our career. The complexity of this grieving felt like a two-part rollercoaster of emotions…More
Published October 23, 2019
Describing the “why” behind my dedication to Tanzania has required a lot of insight, thought, and research. I know why my heart keeps getting pulled back to Tanzania: the people, culture, mountainous & lush landscape, faith, love, and passion. Additionally, I’ve found a way to use my unique skillset to help with the increasing need for rehabilitation services. As my understanding of the need increases, so does the forward momentum of access to services for children and adults with special needs. I feel the pull from Tanzania and, as I’ve described before, I am willingly obligated to continue serving and understanding the people of this country.
In order to continue service in Tanzania, I have dedicated myself to learn more about the country from a broad, global perspective. I have been relentlessly curious about helping without hurting, poverty alleviation efforts, and general statistics regarding the world’s progress in education, rehabilitation, and more. As a huge portion of my dedication to Tanzania is facilitating others during international service learning opportunities, I feel it’s imperative I have a bigger understanding of the culture, people, and needs.
With my insatiable desire to learn, I’ve decided to share my research here! This way, I have a place to reference the information and share it with others, while also opening the door for input and gathering information from people like YOU! I can’t wait to learn together.
Read more for a zoomed-out view of Tanzania’s culture, plus the current state of rehabilitation in the world and Africa.More
Written September 16, 2019
How does one describe something that lives in the heart? It isn’t an emotion, but a feeling. It feels like walking into a familiar place, smelling freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, tickling your senses with nostalgia and comfort. It feels like getting a hug from someone you know and haven’t seen in a while, slowly and effortlessly melting into each other during your embrace.
It feels like tears of purification, happiness, and wholehearted gratitude every time I think about Tanzania.
Tanzania founds its way into my life and has dug a home in my heart. The complexities of my feelings around Tanzania and my experiences over the last few years is something I’ve tried to explain many times. This is my attempt to begin unpacking the intentions living in my heart.
You were not meant to be a one-time adventure. You have opened my heart in ways I know I could, but didn’t know how I would. You have brought me joy, faith, love, and hope. For this, I am grateful. For this, I am obligated to serve.More
Summer 2019 Adventure Journal
Written September 9, 2019
when things start looking up,
and all i can see is the light,
it really starts to feel
it has been worth the fight.
rising stronger with a full heart i come
remembering how life can be oh-so fun!
dancing and climbing
through life and up walls
i know now what i need to stand tall!
with feet rooted in faith,
mind focused on strength,
and a community by my side,
i am here feeling grateful, wholehearted, ALIVE.
This summer has been fulfilling in many ways. My pasty Irish complexion has connected with my Italian roots, as consistent sunshine has kissed my skin and given me tan lines. I’ve done some epic stuff, but also some whole hearted LIVING with people I love and a growing community in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve grown in relationships with my coworkers and friends, plus maintained connection with those far away. I’ve summited peaks, skied glaciers, camped in vans, supported friends in the Pride Parade, hung at the beach, mountain biked for the first time, bought my first road bike, and MORE! It’s been sunshine and fun galore.
This is my adventure journal for 2019’s sunny, glorious summer. It is certainly not all-inclusive of course, but I put forth a decent effort to recount all these amazing memories from mid-May to August.More