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Happy Easter | Teri's Remembrance Anniversary

Muir Rock Family,


Happy Easter everyone! Jesus is Risen. It has been raining here all weekend in SoCal, hopefully you are all staying dry, wherever you are. I'm thankful for a pretty relaxing weekend and getting to catch up a bit here with how things are going before I get ready for a busy workweek.


Holy Saturday | Lily's Funeral


While there's usually a lot to say about Good Friday and Easter, perhaps you're like me and haven't heard much about "Holy Saturday." I've attended church pretty much my whole life, I never really thought much about "Holy Saturday" until my mom sent this picture to our family chat:

Thank you Mom for the important reminder.


Just like this whole past year has had one surprise after another, this past Holy Saturday was no exception. Just like the disciples of Jesus must have felt between the crucifixion and the resurrection, I feel a similar tension between loss and hope. I'm thankful that this day can remind me that even in these darkest moments, I can still hold onto hope for the future, even when it feels so distant. I just wish that this feeling only lasted a day.


What did I end up doing? Mostly rest. And a funeral.


While it was a good day for me to rest after an extremely exhausting work week, it was still an emotional day to say the least. I think of the last Saturday before the "remembrance anniversary" as the day that everyone came to the hospital when we chose to move Teri into hospice care. I feel like the conversation I had with Teri about her choosing to go into hospice instead of emergency surgery was the most important conversation I've ever had in my life. It also feels like the conversation was yesterday, even though it's almost been a year. There's no question that Saturday 4/1/23 was also the most impactful day of my life. Thank you for those that were able to be there. I don't want to talk about it now since I have something more important to share about yesterday. Anyways, if you never heard the story, please come over and I'll share it with you, or watch the celebration of life service link at the end of this post.


It was also an emotional Holy Saturday primarily because I had the opportunity to support my close friend John at the Celebration of Life service for his younger sister, Lily:


Like Teri, Lily left this earth way too soon and no one was ready for it. I feel so heartbroken for John and whole Nguyen family and can't imagine what they are they are all going through. I was only able to meet Lily once a few months ago during John and Daisy's baby shower. While it was an emotional day for all of us, I did feel thankful and encouraged to hear the beautiful testimonies from her friends and family. She was loved by so many people, with almost 400 who came to show their condolences and support.


I also really appreciated the heartfelt message from the pastor, who spoke on this important passage:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted a time to kill, and a time to heal a time to break down and a time to build up time to weep, and a time to laugh a time to mourn, and a time to dance time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing time to seek, and a time to lose a time to keep, and a time to throw away a time to tear, and a time to sew a time to keep silence, and a time to speak time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

God really has his ways of working with my schedule for the better. My usual Saturday bike ride got cancelled, so I was able to come early and attend the wake and watch the slideshow. It was a much needed time of solitude after a busy week. I feel like I've come a long way with not being so restless since Teri passed away. Reflecting on the scripture above (printed in the paper program) was what I really needed this weekend.


There's so much on my mind about this passage. I actually heard about it recently from Helen Garcia, the author of the Minimalist Creators podcast. It's a 22 minute video but well worth it if you need some practical tips for navigating necessary endings with grace and self-compassion:

This is some pretty deep stuff. I've listened to the entire "Episode 1" a few times. If you have a chance to watch this or her other content, please let me know. I'd love to talk about it.


Back to Saturday. I'll be honest with my usual attitude with almost all group events - weddings, parties, funerals, you name it. Being a strong introvert, I'm pretty selfish with wanting alone time (Mayo doesn't count) and just like to attend the minimum amount of an event, by showing up late and leaving early. Meeting new people also stresses me out. When it comes to funerals now, I guess I've treated them the opposite way, by coming early and leaving at the end.


At the funeral, I also reconnected with one of my Inari Medical colleagues I haven't seen since I left the company in December 2022. She was in tears and gave me a big hug. She genuinely expressed her sorrow for the passing of Teri and wish that this wasn't the circumstances to see me again after almost 1.5 years. I totally understand, as everyone is so busy and it's hard to stay in touch with everyone. I felt this way during Teri's celebration of life service and seeing people I haven't seen since our wedding in 2019.


My weekend takeaway: Life is short and precious. Don't wait until a funeral to reconnect with the friends and family you care the most about. You never know when you'll see them again.


I shared with a few friends that I was attending the funeral. Saturday evening, a few of them asked how I was feeling. I felt fine. I find it surprising that I actually embrace attending these. While it breaks my heart to see so many people weeping and mourning after such a loss, I feel less alone during this season of grief.


One Last thing about Yesterday


I might regret mentioning this, but I'll proceed anyway. If you're short on time, feel free to skip this part. I'm first quite humbled by my friend John, who, despite dealing with his own loss, checked in on me on both Friday before the funeral and Saturday after the funeral to inquire about my well-being. His actions truly show what it means to be a loving friend.


Following the pastor's closing remarks at the gravesite, the mortuary coordinator extended a thank you to those present and encouraged ongoing prayers and support for the family, a gesture I found to be quite thoughtful. However, what initially seemed to be the conclusion of his speech took an unexpected turn when he began sharing his personal experience of losing a child at a young age. He effectively delivered a mini sermon. It was time to wrap this up and I wanted to go home and hang out with Mayo. While he emphasized that the focus should remain on the bereaved family, repeating this several times, his continued return to his own story left me confused and annoyed. This situation made me reflect on the universal nature of grief, and how, like the coordinator, I too can relate in the shared experience of loss following Teri's passing.


I looked a few times at John during the mini sermon. I was relieved when I saw him smile, which made me question my own feelings of irritation when the coordinator shifted the spotlight to his story amidst the sad occasion. This incident reminded me of my struggle with empathy towards others who share their grief, as I tend to be so absorbed by my own to the point of blogging about grief several times a month. Additionally, the coordinator seemed anxious throughout the day, possibly because the day's events were running behind schedule. Of course I get it. Ironically, I find myself discussing this funeral and my reflections on grief amidst sharing about Teri and my personal sorrow. Anyways, hopefully some of this made sense.


After the funeral I treated Mayo to a two mile walk to "The Pizza Press" in woodbridge. Great Idea to walk after a big meal.


The Garden Tomb


Reflecting on this past Easter weekend reminds me of my time with Teri in Israel. I really miss having a travel partner, even though I don't really like to travel. I guess I just really miss Teri. On day 5 of the trip, we visited The Garden Tomb:



For those that don't know, this site is considered by some Christians as an alternative to the traditional site of Jesus' burial, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Garden Tomb was discovered in 1867 and has since been a place of pilgrimage for many believers who seek a more personal or reflective experience of the events of Jesus' crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.


Teri would have told you that I'm not really the best travel partner. I was so skeptical the whole time we were there, I kept calling the place a "tourist trap" since this was only discovered a few hundred years ago and perhaps this was just a way for the locals to make a living. I actually kept saying this about many of the places we visited in Jerusalem. I was annoyed by all the tour buses everywhere we went, even though we were being transported in them as well. I know, terrible.


Teri didn't really appreciate this kind of humor, but still put up with it. I don't remember getting to any arguments that day. I just wish I paid more attention during the whole tour, as most of what the tour guide was talking about was over my head and I had to keep asking Teri to explain things afterwards. At least I took a lot of pictures.


Teri's Remembrance Anniversary on 4/2


I really can't believe it. One year is in two days. But why does it feel like it's only been two days and I think about her just as much now as I did a year ago?


I'm so blessed that many people have reached out to me regarding this upcoming week. I even received a nice card in the mail and flowers from a few people. I honestly wouldn't expect anyone to remember since it's hard enough to remember people's birthdays and anniversaries. Thank you for thinking about us.


To be honest, I've been so busy these past few weeks with work lately that I haven't had a chance to really think about what to do. Even my manager asked me last week if I had any plans. I said no at first since I just got back from Atlanta. I guess I was just planning on working that day. He encouraged me to do something, as his dad passed away last year and his family traditions involve doing something pretty big during the one year anniversary. He even said that he expects more people to come to the anniversary celebration than the actual funeral. I was amazed. I wish I did something big. Of course I thought, should we have a conference?? We can pull one off. But then I remembered that's probably the last thing Teri would want to do. Oh well. Maybe next year.


The next best thing to do was to take Tuesday off. I feel so thankful already, but do have a bit of regret since I never really took a day off for Teri's birthday or our wedding anniversary. My plans: I will have whomever is interested in hanging out that day come over and celebrate (just message me if you want to visit) Any time during the day is fine. Unlike running IT steering committees and conferences, I don't really have much experience on remembrance anniversaries. Anyways, just text me if you're interested in doing something that day and we'll figure it out. We can relax at the house, share stories about Teri and what we've learned this past year, walk Mayo around the lake, etc. I'll have some food during dinner. We can do a 1:1 thing if you're in introvert like me or we can do a group thing. Up to you.


If Tuesday doesn't work, we can find another time this week. I'm pretty flexible. I would also love to meet with people via video chat if that works better for your schedule.


Of course, if you want to celebrate Teri's Remembrance Anniversary on your own, let me know what you decide to do. Feel free to watch the Celebration of Life Service:


You can also watch the slideshow, something I'll have playing in the background at my house:



That's all for now. The rain has stopped so this means it's time to walk Mayo. I'll have a lot more to write about how I'm doing and feeling in a few days. Thank you for reading and all for your love and support during this difficult time.


Blessings,

Erwin





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Thanks for sharing, Erwin. You’re so funny. An anniversary conference? We should’ve done that. Maybe next year. I’m glad your weekend was restful and that you enjoyed grieving with friends at the funeral. Sounds like it was a beautiful and sad time. I’m sorry about your friends loss. I love how you shared about the Holy Saturday and the journey of loss to hope and how you are able to relate to the disciples. Teri would be proud of you for that Bible and Easter reference. I love that you spoiled Mayo with a long walk to Pizza Press. You are such a good dog dad. I can’t wait to see you later tonight and will be thinking of you…

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Praying as always for the Lord's comfort as you face this difficult day. May the sweet memories soothe the pain of loss, and may the Lord's presence and promises give you hope.

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Condolences for your friend John’s family and loved ones. I’m glad you were able to support each other during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing the beautiful videos of Teri. I’m feel so blessed to get to know her through your words and videos.

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I'm glad you guys got a chance to go to Israel. Last year was really intense. Thank you for keeping up with the blog and letting us read how you're doing without having to repeat yourself. I appreciate your sharing and even what you learn from the little inconveniences. Your honesty and courage to share your thoughts is inspiring. Will be praying for you this week.

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