• Day 90/90 – Atticus’ Memorial

    Day 90 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? We celebrated the life of Atticus VanSlyke as a community.

    Photo by Amy Donohue
    Photo by Amy Donohue

    Literally hundreds of people followed this family’s journey as their little son Atticus battled cancer. He battled it while spreading joy and love everywhere he went. I loved seeing the photos of Atticus walking the halls late at night and looking up at the light displays in the lobby with wide eyes and his jaw dropped with wonder. Our collective hearts broke when we learned the news that Atticus passed away.

    We came together as a community to support this family and remember Atticus. The church was packed with all walks of life from people in suits to people wearing jeans and “Team Atticus” t-shirts. I wore a yellow cardigan and my dress with the pleated skirt that makes me want to twirl. (I may have twirled a few times when I put it on that day.) It seemed appropriate.

    The service was beautiful. It was filled with images of Atticus from his too-short life and some of the most gorgeous music I’ve ever heard – especially the performance of Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone). Krys and Melissa planned to sing this song when Atticus was cancer-free, but they played it here because their son was free from the chains of cancer in a different way. I’d never heard this variation of Amazing Grace before, and even though I’m not a religious person, I bought the song on iTunes when I got home. Listening to it still makes me cry.

    Atticus' Balloon Release
    Atticus’ Balloon Release

    Krys and Melissa both spoke at Atticus’ memorial. I don’t know how they did that, but they each spoke from the heart and with such openness and love for Atticus and their family, sharing stories that few people know. I was in awe of their grace and how openly they shared what was in their hearts while the rest of us soaked tissues and handkerchiefs with tears.

    The service ended with a balloon release. (Yes, I know we engaged in communal littering and it’s bad for the environment, but shut up – it’s what this family wanted.) I hope it helped give them a sense of peace and the feeling that they are still connected with their son and brother.

    I hope the VanSlykes know that they are surrounded by love. Even though the rest of us will get on with our lives while they are deep in their grieving process, we will be there in a moment’s notice if they need us. And as time passes on and they re-experience their grief as they celebrate holidays and milestones knowing that Atticus is missing, I hope they know that we’ll be thinking loving thoughts for them.

    In case you missed it: Day 89 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I registered the trademark for this blog!

  • Day 76/90 – Dinner at Oden’s

    Day 76 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to have dinner with friends at Oden’s house.

    Love this photo of Oden and me (Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission)
    Love this photo of Oden and me (Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission)

    I know Oden through Ignite Phoenix and Improv AZ. She’s freakin’ awesome. She is a self-proclaimed “Jewish mother” and somebody I can always count on. With one friend visiting from out of state and another friend recently moving back to the Phoenix area, Oden had a group of us over to her house for dinner.

    It was a fantastic evening filled with good food and laughter. Oden cooked up a storm, including pulled pork, cheesy polenta, and homemade white chocolate ice cream for dessert. Everything was so good, and it was so great to see so many of my friends.

    I also fell in love with one of Oden’s cats. His name is Broken – because he has a crick in his tail. He is an attention-loving talkative older cat – complete with a deep loud old-cat voice. He was so cute.

    I left feeling stuffed, happy, and lucky to have so many awesome friends in my life.

    In case you missed it: Day 75 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I got a tour of the Fox 10 Phoenix TV station.

  • Day 45/90 – Oden’s Happy Hour

    Day 45 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to see a lot of my friends at Oden’s Happy Hour.

    Hanging with Oden - Love this Lady!
    Hanging with Oden – Love this Lady!

    Oden is one of my closest friends in Phoenix. We’re both organizers for Ignite Phoenix and co-founders for Improv AZ. She’s genetically awesome . . . like me!

    Oden decided she wanted to see her friends, so she declared a happy hour! She gave us a date and time and we all showed up at Angels Trumpet Ale House. I love these casual chill no-agenda gatherings – just good friends and good conversation.

    It seems like all of my friends and I are so busy that we have to schedule fun or it won’t happen. I’m so glad she organized this – it was wonderful to catch up with her and so many of my other friends.

    In case you missed it: Day 44 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Hanging with the Cool Kids at Startup Grind Phoenix.