In Loving Memory of Don Ottens
January 8, 2012
I am not sure where to start with this one. We were notified of his turn towards transition and made the trip to the hospital as quickly as we could. We missed being by his side at the end by no more than 2 hours.
Don became a student of SimplyAware on January 9, 2006 at the Garland Senior Center. He introduced himself to me and declared that he wanted to "try Tai Chi for 10 years or so, to see if I like it". I often ask students how they are feeling during pre-class greetings and Don always had a unique and humorous comment to share. One of his favorites was - "Heck, if I felt any better, there would be two of me". Just another, typical Donism. He attended every workshop we produced from 2005 until a stroke took half his body away in summer of 2010. Don was loyal, determined and generous with his time and efforts, always staying late after a workshop to help clean up. I am so grateful to have known him both as a student, and as a friend.
Beneath that nonchalant exterior was a vulnerable, gentle and loving soul which often intentionally tried to avoid detection. Although he shared much of his heart with me, some of Don still remains a mystery to me today. One thing I do know is that I was not the friend to him I should have been. When he needed me most, I was absent. Busy with my family and my work. I did get to visit but certainly not as often as I wanted. Each week the memory of him in the Garland Senior Center classroom was very clear to me and each week I missed his presence.
Don, the gifts you shared with me are many. Your determined efforts in the classroom encouraged others to follow your lead and try harder. Your unwavering confidence in me helped keep me going when times were really tough for my business and my family and your willingness to step outside your comfort zone encouraged me to do the same. Finally, and most regrettably, you taught me that we should never to be too busy to visit a sick friend. I will work hard to honor your gifts to me dear Don and will most certainly miss you.
In Loving Memory of Daniel Fromhoff
January 23, 2012
Dan holds a special place in my heart because he gave me the greatest gift a man can ask for, my loving wife. Fayne's Dad shared with her many lessons in life and each of them has helped create the deeply compassionate, loving, nurturing wife I love so deeply. Dan also offered me some of my first lessons in compassion and attachment as well as sharing with me his unwavering desire for success. I will always remember his passion and determination, using them as role models as I follow my own dreams and share that passion with his grandsons. Dan, as you move into your future, we will hold down the fort here and keep the passion alive. May your soul find what it has been searching for and your heart fill with love and joy.
In Loving Memory of Father Raymond Scott
Febraury 22, 2012
I fondly remember the first time I met Father Scott. As I walked in the front doors of ChristUS St. Joseph's Village for my weekly Smiling Heart Tai Chi / Qigong class I heard a loud voice coming from one of the tables in the main living room. He called out for me to come over to his table where he sat every day bantering with three other very funny gentlemen. He said "who are you?" to which I answered "none of your business" which made the table roar with laughter, especially Father Scott. From that day forward, we had a weekly trash talking session which we both enjoyed very much. It took him about a year, and a bit of ill health, to begin coming to my classes regularly but he always managed to get a laugh out of everyone in the room. I often heard him singing up the hallways and he always had something kind to say to everyone he met. Full of life and joy, Father Scott left an indelible imprint everywhere he went. Father Scott, you have given me the gift of joy. By your example, I will strive to keep my heart open, my laughs full and explore every opportunity through the eyes of a playful child. By the way Father, after over 50 years of dedicated service, you had better have a good seat up there!
In Loving Memory of Nkonyezi Wanjiru (Bright Star)
April 4, 2012
Today, I am stunned to learn that such a dear soul has moved on. I first met her family when they came to our 2007 World Tai Chi & Qigong Day event. Only 14 at the time, “Niko’s” eyes told me a story of deep, compassionate understanding usually reserved for wise, old souls. Through the years, we did not see much of each other but she left a deep impression in my heart. When we reconnected on Facebook, I was so very impressed with her passion for life and the many gifts she was pursuing. Burdened with a body that was not prepared for the long journey her soul had planned to take, Niko was taken from us very early. It is not for me to say that it was not her time, but I feel a deep sadness for those of us left behind who will no longer feel the depth of her heart in person. I fully expect her passion and work to live on which taunts the very painful question “what if...”
Niko, I did not have to spend years getting to know you, as soon as we met, I could feel the depth of your soul. The gifts I have been given by our brief times together are about soul connections and self sacrifice. I will cherish our moments together and strive to live up to the high standards you have set before us all. As your Mom often says - Never waste your breath". Farewell on your journey dear one. A bright star for sure.
In Loving Memory of John
June 8, 2012
"Big John", as I called him, was a fixture in my Tuesday afternoon Smiling Heart Qigong class at Sunrise of Frisco. A baseball player in his prime, his large frame was but a fraction of what it must have been back then. John always had a warm smile, and a willingness to be quietly involved. I could tell he was in pain and that his body was failing him but he never let it show through word or action. He did what he could in class and always had some wise crack to make us laugh. I remember seeing him in the hall once and calling out "Hey John, what's shakin'? to which he replied without missing a beat - "My legs!" John, your quiet, gentle nature will be sorely missed by your fellow classmates on Tuesdays. The gifts I take away from our friendship are, that a few words are most often enough and that a smiling, gentle nature can makes a powerful, lasting impression. Thank you for the gifts my friend, I will miss you dearly.
In Loving Memory of Rochelle Rosenstein
June 25, 2012
Over the past couple of years, Rochelle was a regular in my Smiling Heart Qigong Program at The Legacy at Preston Hollow. Her physical condition did not allow her to do everything I was offering, however, at my encouragement, she modified some movements to meet her specific needs and had fun. Through all of that, Rochelle always had a smile for me and was always so grateful for our time together. I am grateful to have seen her in class last week, we shared smiles, held hands and said goodbye. I thought it would only be for a week but I guess that goodbye will have to last me longer than I had hoped. Rochelle, the gift I am left with from our time together are to make every goodbye count, and that no matter what life throws at you, it is a daily choice as to how we perceive the challenge. We can step up and smile or sit down and frown. Today, the smile in my heart is for you. Be well on your journey my friend.