Tag Archives: death

The Loss of a Generation’s Guardian: Robin Williams

With a heavy heart, I share the news of Robin Williams’ passing. What else could I write besides this? It’s difficult to know where to start. The shock, the disbelief. Chris texted me what happened before it had really hit social media. I responded with a slew of “No, no no no, that can’t be right” and it got worse when the news confirmed it. It was that jolt in the stomach, that jarring that makes you disoriented. Was he just a celebrity? Couldn’t be because it’s hit so close. It cuts too deep. I must’ve known him. I’ve never cried over a death of a celebrity, and it seems trivial to call him that. I did cry over Robin Williams’ passing. It didn’t seem right or fair. He was just always there.

Robin Williams, of course, meant something different to my generation than it did to, say, my parents’. For me, he didn’t start as Mork, though he did make me laugh there. For me, he started as Mrs. Doubtfire, as the Genie, as Peter Pan. That’s what my generation holds him most closely as, I think. I keep searching for a word that represents him to me. Yes, a legend. Yes, a genius. For what word I want to say…is almost a guardian. A guardian over us kids to keep us laughing in the face of anything. To learn, as my friend Robyn noted, to have a sense of humor in the face of terrible times. He taught us to bravely be yourself no matter what. He was so genuinely himself that he didn’t even need to tell us to be ourselves, he simply set an example. 

His movies were always our go-to’s to make us laugh or smile when we needed it. Feeling down? Just YouTube a clip of him doing impressions, voices, anything. Your lips will turn up into a smile and soon after, a laugh. It’s as if he was always there for us when we were down. He would bring back the silly into ourselves. As if he were our nanny, making sure we were okay. I suppose that’s why I reach out for the word guardian more than anything else. 

He was human. And he showed his human self and his dramatic skills in movies like “Good Will Hunting” and “Good Morning Vietnam”–my favorites of his more “dramatic” pieces even though Vietnam had plenty of laughs. My friend and I will be doing a movie tribute to Robin Williams tonight. Our childhood entertainer, our guardian, our uncle. A man who would always be there despite everything. But now that is not so. Which is why I think it hurts us so badly. More than other celebrity deaths. It’s still unbelievable. I kept crossing my fingers and hoping that when I woke up this morning, it wouldn’t be so. It still was. It is part of life. Just not a part of life we want to accept so early from a generous, warm-hearted, incredibly talented man. Which is why we are all so in pain from this loss.

His heart. His warm, generous, reaching-to-all heart. It would always bleed through every performance. His most human quality was how he cared. How warmth emanated off him and surrounded us like the Genie’s hug. He taught us to use our hearts, to be vulnerable, to be ourselves. I’m still going to look at his face (which looks closest to my dad’s out of Hollywood, which doesn’t help any) and be in shock. When you close your eyes as tightly as you can, and then open them again, hoping that he will still be there. Declare it unfair and impossible. I know he will be remembered for all of these qualities listed. I know our generation will weep in his passing for losing such an amazing character, the warmest heart, and our silliest guardian. And as lines keep saying everywhere to make me cry again–Genie, you’re free. We love you

The Misty Strongheart Scholarship Fund

Misty passed away nearly one year ago. She clearly means a lot to us as is demonstrated by the fact that I have her on my heart, always. We wanted to do something in her memory (aside from personal efforts) that would help others. After thinking about what made Misty unique, we came across the idea of doing a scholarship fund.

Old picture just after tattoo

Old picture just after tattoo

Misty was a lonely girl. When we walked into the Humane Society’s kitten room, there were easily eight kittens under four months old. While Nymeria was running around on the floor with the group, Misty was sitting on a tunnel at the top of the room. She was a good eight feet off the ground… far, far away from everyone else.

While deciding which two kittens we wanted to bring home, it became clear that Misty was a feral cat that was born in the wild. She lived there for about three months before she was brought in and almost immediately adopted by us. She was in the Humane Society for not much longer than a week before we got her. Her beautiful eyes and coat lured me in and I could not help but want to help her feel loved.

Scared little girl hiding under our dishwasher

Scared little girl hiding under our dishwasher

For about three months, Misty had a special place in our home and our hearts. I spent hours and hours every day trying to make her feel more loved and more a part of the family. No matter how many times she bit, hissed, scratched, and hid we tried harder and harder. Then one day we did not have to try anymore. I will forever regret that I could not save her or make sure that she passed away while feeling like our little girl, not a feral cat.

Misty being cute

One year later, I realize that there are many people who come from hard times and tough places. They don’t have a support system from a young age and struggle to find aid. They cry out for help, never receive it, give up asking and eventually try to do everything by themselves. No one can. Everyone needs some help. It could be one person or one thing, but it is someone or something.

In honor of Misty, Hungry & Fit is starting The Misty Strongheart Scholarship Fund. It is not your typical scholarship for students that graduated high school and are trying to find funding for their college degree. Not everyone has the means to make it to and through high school. The world is large and educational systems differ but it is consistently becoming more possible to reach across continents and oceans.

Misty attempting an escape

Using the internet or more traditional means, Hungry & Fit is inviting individuals that need support to reach their goals to apply for The Misty Strongheart Scholarship Fund. Persons interested can provide videos, songs, essays and more to relay their desire. They can use the post, email, YouTube and other outlets to do so. As long as you meet the requirements involved, you can apply.

I would like to state that a new page will be appearing on the website shortly. It should take one to two weeks. The page will include the official requirements for application. It will include the application process and details including deadlines. Therefore, I apologize for the lack of details in this post.

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Here is a basic outline of the requirements. You must be able to provide your story. What made it so difficult to follow your dreams? Was it someone in particular? Was it your culture’s norms? You must also be able to tell us how you will write the rest of your story. Do you need money for a flight to another country to start a new career? Do you need funding to attend a school for a degree or for a trade? How will you use your higher level of training or education to reach your goal? And how will you help others along the way and when you reach the end of your road?

We want to hear about dreams. We want to hear about struggles and how a little seed, coming from darkness, can find its way to the light and shine that light onto itself and others. We want you to succeed when you thought it would never be possible. We want to take someone’s hand, even though you never thought that someone would reach out for yours.

misty pretty

There will be means and measures to make sure the funding is used properly. We will see to that. Typical American scholarships are awarded in the Spring before students prepare to start college. Ours will be rewarded to the individual or individuals that we feel deserve it most at the end of the next year. The Winter holiday season holds a special place in my heart.

This is starting as a modest fund that will hopefully grow significantly one day. In the last week of December of 2014 Hungry & Fit will award at least a modest $500.00 USD to the recipient of The Misty Strongheart Scholarship Fund. (We will arrange currency exchanges for international recipients.)

We hope those individuals know that there are people who support them, love them and want them to know that there is always someone there for you… no matter how humble your beginnings are. We are excited to make this announcement and are looking forward to a year filled with amazing stories and applications. In Misty’s memory.

Joe Weider: In Honor of The Creator

If you follow us, there is a decent chance you know who this man (Joe Weider) is. If you aren’t familiar with the name, then maybe you’ve heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe you’ve even heard of a few magazines including Men’s Fitness, Shape, Flex, and Muscle&Fitness. Perhaps you’ve tried a Tiger’s Milk bar or some Schiff Glucosamine. You might have even read about the International Federation of Bodybuilders or Mr/Mrs Olympia. You can give Joe Weider credit for most of that.

 
Along with his brother Ben and his wife Betty Brosmer, Joe turned bodybuilding into what it is today. From building his own barbells from car parts, to writing magazines in his teenage years, Joe has done it all. Arnold claims he would have never come to the United States if it wasn’t for the man known as The Creator. Now he might have only stood 5’11” but all of his ideas and innovation could barely fit into that frame. Despite legal issues that surfaced as a result of some supplements not working (don’t buy weight loss pills) almost everything he has done has been golden for the fitness industry.
I just wanted to shortly thank Mr. Weider for providing me with so much. I’ve read his magazines, used his nutritional products, watched the Olympia and dreamed of magically getting my IFBB pro-card in the mail, and followed Arnold since I was a child. You can see in a past post that Arnold has always been one of my most influential figures in terms of my fitness quest since I was young. So once again, thanks, Joe; every time I go in the gym and load my plate with barbells, I’ll do an extra rep just for you.

Remembering Misty: Dealing with Death

So it’s been three months since Misty passed. We still miss her every day, as we saw her as our little baby. She had all of her perks and quirks which made her the unique kitty she was. I can at least feel okay knowing that she definitely felt loved by all the people around her. Non-animal lovers will think us silly in this kind of talk, so you can go ahead and skip this post. But we saw her as a big part of the family. Her passing, especially her being just a kitten, made the winter pretty difficult.

Misty snuggled  up one day when she didn't feel very well

Misty snuggled up one day when she didn’t feel very well

I have experienced death before in my life, but it was either gradual, distant, or in a younger age where I didn’t comprehend it as fully or it didn’t hit me as much. This one definitely, definitely hit us. It was the most wrenching, stabbing grief we’ve felt in a long time. I have lost some very close to me. But this was sudden. That’s what made it so horrible, terrifying, and heartbreaking for us.

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It was very staggering, hit us like a punch in the stomach. I didn’t understand how this could happen–she’s just a kitten, it isn’t fair. I was confused, it didn’t seem very real to me, as if I would wake up and our black and white kittens would be there, hogging food and cuddling. But I didn’t wake up, because it wasn’t a dream. It was reality, and it took a little bit for me to actually wrap my head around it. For the years I’ve lived so far, nothing really tragic has happened to me. Nothing that takes the breath and life out of you and just leaves you slumped with exhaustion and grief.

misty pretty

But after that day, I felt that. That deep pain and confusion after tragedy hits. We love animals so much, especially our own, and we take very good care of them. Which is why it was devastating to us that one of our little kittens died. And thus far, I hadn’t experienced such, and I am lucky for that. This hit both of us full force. Intermingled with grief was confusion: Why did this happen to us? How could have this happened? Is the universe against us? I don’t understand.

misty belly

This made it harder to accept reality and eventually deal with her death. I just didn’t get it, I wasn’t able to digest it. But with insanely-supportive friends and family, I eventually got past the point of denial and was able to taste the truth. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it as I did without Chris. Reality slapped me in the face and told me, “No matter where you live, who you are, how you take care of your loved ones, how good of a person you are–very bad things can happen to you.”

Meow

It was a lesson learned–a hard lesson learned. I’m sure everyone gets this lesson some point in their life and it was probably better to get it early on (although I would trade almost anything to get Misty back). Nobody is saved from tragedy. Nobody can go through life cleanly without anything bad happening. Bad things do happen. The universe isn’t against Chris and I. It taught us to be strong even when we felt that we couldn’t be. It taught us that life still will go on even when terrible things happen to you. It taught us that death is a part of life.

Begging for food

It was a horrific incident in our lives and she will always always be remembered with love and happiness. I remember the point where I could finally remember Misty without images of her death and remember her funny quirks like walking on two legs and her unique meow. Thank you to all who gave us support during this time and gave Misty love during her time.

My most favorite picture of them

My most favorite picture of them

Cats Really Do Have Nine Lives

It was a nightmare of a day. I’ll tell it to you from my (Alana’s) perspective. It’s Monday. I just finished with my last client and had a few hours to get some paperwork done at work. I come back from a great session and look at my phone. I find a string of horrific text messages. Most of them didn’t make sense due to the combination of rushing and the iPhone’s autocorrect. From “Nymeria is dead” to “at petsmart” to “they think there’s something wrong with her abdomen, going to another hospital.” 

First moment back from the hospital

First moment back from the hospital

My hands start shaking, I’m not really sure what’s going on. But from the succession of texts, I know she’s alive. Go ahead and click the link on Nymeria’s name to learn a little more about her. At the humane society, she jumped on my lap at 2 months old and basically adopted me. She’s my baby. Back to the story. So I know she’s alive, but I have no clue what’s going on. My co-worker is very worried, she’s standing next to me (she was with me when I found out Misty died), making sure I’m okay. I don’t get service where I work (call-wise) so I use the work phone to call Chris but he doesn’t pick up.

Her sleepy on my tummy

Her sleepy on my tummy

I rush and collect myself, lucking out with no more clients in the day, grab my stuff and get out. I’m extremely worried, confused, and completely terrified. I can’t lose another kitten. I text him saying I’m coming home. He texts me back the address of the hospital that they’re at. At least she’s alive, I keep reminding myself. That’s all that matters right now. Once I get in a better service zone, I get two voicemails. Both from Chris. The first one, like the texts, was horrific. It was when he thought Nymeria was dead. I don’t think I’ll listen to that one again. The second one was him carrying her to the hospital on foot.

I finally get there and find him in a waiting room. We’re both very shaken and upset. He has pee all over his shirt and blood on his arm. I finally get the story of what happened. Nymeria ran into the bedroom to pee on the cat bed (naughty girl), so Chris grabbed her and put her in the litter box. He’s in rush because he’s behind schedule, and as he’s running (top speed for in the house) out of the bedroom, Nymeria is running her fastest into the bedroom. Bam. They collide. Her head and his foot. It would’ve knocked out a human.

Her arm was shaved for the IV

Her arm was shaved for the IV

She slumped over and stopped breathing. He immediately started performing CPR. All the urine and feces came out of her and she began to get stiff. He called me, but I didn’t pick up since I was with a client. He then went back to it, chest compressions and mouth to mouth. After 10 minutes of resuscitation, she woke up and coughed up blood. She was alive. He saved her. Quickly, he put her in his shirt (I have the car at this point) and goes as quickly as he can to a pet hospital. The first one he finds does an X-ray and is worried about her abdomen and sends him to another hospital.

He gets to Alpenglow Emergency Center and they take her in. I’m with him by the time a doctor comes to talk to us. From the collision, Nymeria suffered head trauma (with swelling in the head) and pulmonary contusions (bruised lungs). Her pupils were different sizes and she was having trouble breathing, but she was doing okay. They had an estimate for costs and all they were going to do for her. It could be up to 48 hours of intensive care. I was still in shock of all this happening. But the doctor explained everything very well and the nurses made sure we were comfortable.

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Nymeria would be put in a oxygenated little room (like a cage, but comfortable with bedding and warmth), given medicine to make the swelling go down and get her pupils back to normal size. She was also put on an IV to stay healthy and hydrated. We were there for two hours. We got to see her before she left. She was pretty out of it and tired, and couldn’t see us properly. The staff there was wonderful and let us know we could call whenever we wanted, no matter what time of day or night. I felt very thankful for that.

I called every few hours, and the updates kept getting better. She soon started eating “like a champ,” being rambunctious, and her pupils returned to normal size. The next day she was walking around without swaying or falling. They said that she would be ready to pick up at 4 that afternoon, because she was off oxygen and doing well.

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I got there at four to pick my girl up and talked with a nurse who had kept good care of her. She said she was probably tired because she didn’t get that much rest because all the staff in the hospital, fell in love with her because they never get babies and, well, Nymeria has that effect. She was well taken care of with lots of TLC. The whole thing actually cost less than their initial low-ball estimate. And I was sent home with lots of information and the assurance that I should call if I have any questions. The staff there really made me feel that they cared and they were there for me and Nymeria.

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Nymeria was pretty exhausted that night, I stayed home with her and just held her while she slept peacefully like she did when she was a baby baby. She’s still a little slow reaction-wise, weak, and quiet, but she’s doing alright. She still gets excited about food and today she even jumped up to lay on the window sill. She will probably be out of it for a few days and probably has a massive head ache. I just feel so enormously lucky to have her here. She is 8 months old now.

Found them today (the second day Nymeria has been out) when I got home

Found them today (the second day Nymeria has been out) when I got home

True to her name,  Nymeria is a fighter. And I hope she will continue to be with us for many years to come. Never take anything for granted and feel grateful for what you have, every moment you have it. We are so so happy to have her with us. It has also made me think about stepping into the animal health career. They are amazing people.

New Rule in the House: No Running

Movie Review: The Imposssible

It’s been awhile since we hit the movie theatres with our busy schedules, work, and sickness. But today, we did. It was a movie that I’ve wanted to see for a while now: “The Impossible.” It’s a true story about a British (though in the credits of the actual family members, we think they are Spanish) family of 5 (parents and 3 boys) on a resort in Thailand when the 2004 Tsunami hit the Southeast Asian area. It was very gripping and intense.

Countries most affected by the tsunami, with t...

Countries most affected by the tsunami, with the earthquake’s epicenter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is an underlying tension from the beginning, seeing as the audience knows what’s going to happen as they show the date and time continually. The family is happy travelling to Thailand and having a blast on a beautiful resort, lots of love and joy. But we know what’s going to happen. We just don’t know how it specifically is going to happen to these people. So right from the start, there’s that gripping tension of waiting. 

Once it does happen, the movie becomes very intense and consequently emotional, family members trying to find their others. And in the midst of the tsunami actually passing through, a feeling of panic and terror rose up even in me as I was sitting safely in my cushioned movie theatre chair. The thing that made this harder to watch and comprehend was that it happened in real life, all of this occurred to real people and I kept remembering back to the catastrophic death toll of this event.

The Impossible (film)

The Impossible (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The family, split up, travels to different locations, sustaining horrific injuries and struggling to survive through it all. I won’t spoil it by telling you if they do or not. Despite the terrible event that triggered the horrors, there was something incredibly heartwarming about many parts. People, when they were significantly injured, stopping to help others in need when it could cause their own death. A village of Thai helping out two rich anglos, going completely out of their way just to save someone’s life. During these scenes, I felt an incredible warm feeling of hope and the beauty that still thrives in humanity, despite scenes of horror.

The acting of this movie was splendid–I mean, how could you go wrong with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGreggor. Also, the oldest son was an incredible actor and took up a big role of the movie. It really felt as if you were thrown into the situation with them. The only downside to this movie for me was that, at some parts, it was a little bit too dramatic. Sometimes you didn’t need the drama of Hollywood because you had the drama of nature–a real-life event.

English: Naomi Watts at the Cannes film festival

English: Naomi Watts at the Cannes film festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. It was tough to watch in some parts, but highlights what’s good in humanity in the worst of times. Take the time to go see it, or catch it on DVD when it comes out.

Cheers!

Rest in Peace, Misty

Perhaps you’ve noticed that we haven’t posted for over a week now. We have some very sad news to reveal: Misty, our baby kitty (the white one), passed away Thursday, November 29th at night time. It was very sudden and expected and we believe it had to do with her brain and the fact that she was born feral. Could’ve been a cyst, aneurysm, stroke, and so forth. Even if we wanted to know, it wouldn’t change the fact that she’s not longer here. If anyone knows us, they know we see our animals as kin.

We are heartbroken because she was only just over six months old, but there was nothing we can do. We got her cremated and have her urn close to us, she will always be remembered. We are healing slowly and can now think about how grateful we were to have her at all. She will be very missed by all who knew her and her quirks. She came so far from being under-socialized and turned into a cuddle monster. Nymeria, her younger sister, misses her too, for they were never separated. If you want to learn more about Misty, click here. Here’s a few pictures of remembrance:

Zzzzz...

Help, I'm adorable!

Help, I’m adorable!

Cuddlers unite!

Classic sink nap Ying-yang

No meeeeee!

Being too cute

First day we got her

First day we got her

Misty has a very strong lower body. During food time, she will go on her hind legs and walk around on them in order to be closer to the food

Don't eat me!Sleeping beauty Cuddlez

Misty being cute Thank you to all who gave Misty love.

We have some more news, and it’s a little better this time. Since Nymeria, our little black kitten, is only five months old, we were very worried about her being alone for 8-10 hours per day since she has never been alone in her entire life. Although I wasn’t exactly ready, we went to the Humane Society last week to look for a companion for Nymeria. Misty could never be replaced. Nymeria grieved her loss (though she doesn’t understand death) and I know she still misses her even though Misty could be a prissy older sister sometimes.

We found and brought home Sajah. He is a 3-month old male, orange tabby. His name is Korean and it means “lion.” He very much acts like a lion cub, too. Extremely playful with big paws and a chubby stocky body. Nymeria isn’t too hot about him yet, but she has someone to play with and she feels better not being alone.

Sajah

Sajah

Rest in peace, little snow leopard.