My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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Aug '12

Laura Swanson


I must take the time to say goodbye to one of my long-time friends, unfortunately she passed away earlier this year and I was very saddened to hear this.  I met Laura when I worked at Feather River Hospital back in 2000, we worked together for about 4 years and we became fast friends.  She was so funny, I can remember so many things about her and her vivacious personality.

We spent a lot of time together back then and even after I moved to Australia in 2005, she and I kept in contact. We chatted online a lot, and I helped her out with her dog breeding website here and there.  I visited with her on every trip home and she always made an effort to come out and see me – even if she didn’t really like leaving the haven of her home.  What I know about Laura was that she was a kind and loving friend, mother, and grandmother.  She loved the ocean, her dogs, and she loved her daughters like no-one I have ever known.  She was proud and stood up for what she thought was right. An injury left her in quite a bit of pain and unfortunately left her in a state that dramatically effected her life for years to come.

At a dinner in 2007, in Chico, Laura came down to spend time with me and Rod – with a group of friends – I was grateful to see her, on our 2010 visit I made it up to her place to see her and unfortunately it was the last time I would see her.  I think of Laura when I think of good rock music, tie dye, the love for animals, and loyal friendship.

I know I’ve said this a million times before, but you never know when someone is going to suddenly leave your life.  You must take advantage of the time you have with your loved ones. Losing my father has had a dramatic impact on my life and my heart is full of sorrow for Laura’s daughters, and grand-daughter, that she will not be there to share the rest of their lives with her.  I only hope that they are able to stay strong and carry her memory on with them through life.

Laura, I will miss you. Your daughters miss you so much. I’ve seen a lot of old pictures pop up on your Facebook page in the last few months – everyone is sharing their memories of you.  It makes me happy to see your face and it is a reminder to me of the friend that I cared for so much.  I hope that you are in a happy place and that someday our paths will cross again. And I hope and pray that your children will heal and only remember the best memories of you as they make their own journey through life.

I love you.  RIP.

Dec '10

Beverly Pando

bev.jpgThis month has been a somber one, my Godmother Bev passed away on November 24th after struggling with Cancer.  This really brings up so many emotions for me and my immediate family… and after going through a similar situation with my father some 13 years ago, all I can think about is how Bevs children and and husband are suffering right now.  It’s something you never want to go through, losing a parent, and I am just crushed that Lisa and Anthony will have to go through this type of pain.

Bev has been around since before I was born, she was at one time married to one of my Dad’s best friends and mates from high school. Don and Bev were both named my Godparents back in April 1970, and we had remained in close touch over the years. We spent time growing up around their children Lisa (a little younger than me), and Anthony (a little younger than my brother) – and closer to junior high/high school we actually lived under the same roof for a short amount of time. Similarly, we were like family in many ways – Bev’s cousin married my cousin after meeting at a party at our house… we definitely were an extended family.  My parents were lucky to have such great school friends that remained adult friends and are still friends to this day. 

It was only a several months ago I heard of Bev’s struggle and I was making plans to visit Bev when we come home for Christmas (in a matter of days now), unfortunately I am so saddened to hear that her life was cut short, but thankful that the pain she endured is now over and that she is at peace.

I hope that Bev’s family can find peace too.  It’s taken me a long time to find it myself, and I don’t even think that I’ve fully accepted that my Dad is gone. Even after 13 years I still think about him every day of my life, I still have a good cry every once in a while, I still talk to him and look at his picture as not to forget.  I think that’s all you can do really. Be thankful for your family, and especially your parents.  The love of a parent is something you can get nowhere else. Lisa you are so lucky to have found your true love, and shared your child with your Mother before she passed, I know those must have been the brightest days for her.  It’s something I will forever regret for myself.

If you are going to lose someone don’t take the time you have left for grantite, be sure to say all the things you want to say to that person. Take time off to be with them a little bit longer, if you take the time it will be for them and for you.  Don’t look back and say I wish I could have.  Hold their hand, tell them that you will be okay after they are gone – that’s all my Dad wanted to hear.  And even if you don’t think you will be okay… you will.  Time heals all wounds. 

Lisa and Anthony, I am so sorry for your loss.  I am so sorry that you have to feel the anguish of losing your Mother.  I hope that you can be there for each other and lean on each other.  Don’t shy away from talking about your Mom every chance you get, it may make you cry but those are tears of love and you need to shed them.  I love you both.

I love you Dad.

I love you Bev.