My Battle Call | Ray of Light
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Ray of Light

I hope everyone is lucky enough to have at least one person in their lifetime who allows them to shine. By the grace of God, I experienced it through a beautiful soul.

What’s more, I had the privilege to guide her on a journey, beautifully captured here, heading toward her first finish line. It seemed to be a transformative period in her life, and I, along with her friends and parents were present (check out the cheering section in the above photo) to have a front-row seat.

She exuded joy throughout the entire process: swim; bike; run.

The morning of the Solana Beach Triathlon was something, in all my years of coaching and racing, I had never experienced before. K was beyond grateful. Beaming.


Through the years, our shared love for triathlon evolved into a much deeper friendship. A sister-like affection, she was a trusted confidant. I can only hope I provided her an ounce of the comfort she provided me. She offered a lifeline: through deployments, loneliness, cancer, motherhood.

She later joined me in another less-joyful club… daughters who had lost beloved fathers to cancer. Once again, she showed grace. Through the pain, we were able to connect on a profound level. She loved her family more than anything.

Then… another blessing; years later, she became my son’s teacher. He was the new kid from a military family and was starting over. Again.

Knowing he would spend his day in HER classroom brought peace, as parents and… for him. We knew, unequivocally, he would be loved and taken care of.  She embraced him, quirks and all. In fact, she marveled in them.

Our relationship grew. Throughout this time~she became my coach.

I am eternally grateful my daughter was in her class this school year: A member of Her Dream Team. They shared a bond that will last forever.

When you are a kid, what’s more~a square peg~you need people who accept, love, and celebrate you. K was that for my kids. In fact; she was that for All her kids.

And now, our hearts are broken. The grief throughout the community is palpable.

Yet, there is also an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having had this shining light in our lives. She changed me. Us. And everyone lucky enough to be in her world.


#runhappy #grateful #joyseeker #shine

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  • jlh
    Posted at 02:05h, 21 March Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute for someone who is clearly an amazing woman.

  • Jo Ann (Omi Jo)
    Posted at 03:27h, 21 March Reply

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful tribute! Once again you have touched everyone with your gift of putting your thoughts into words we can all “feel”. So sorry for your loss! Love you!

    • vallig
      Posted at 04:29h, 21 March Reply

      Thank you for reading! Our hearts are broken 💔

  • Melissa Winter
    Posted at 06:01h, 21 March Reply

    Thank you so much for your loving words. You summed up my friend beautifully. I cannot find “my words”
    just yet but when they do come, my hope is that they will be as eloquent and poignant as yours.

    • vallig
      Posted at 06:10h, 21 March Reply

      Thanks for reading. Take your time. You will find your words. Xo

  • Lana
    Posted at 17:44h, 21 March Reply

    Why is it that alot of these truly amazing, giving, loving, nurturing, unselfish, inspiring people leave us too early?? So maddening but oh so much joy left behind to maybe inspire someone to mold their lives to give more.
    One of those amazing people vanished from my life in my early 20s & to this day there are not many days that my sweet friend doesn’t enter in my thoughts.
    Rest in peace, sweet lady♡♡♡

    • vallig
      Posted at 20:55h, 27 March Reply

      It doesn’t make sense. But, I do believe there are lessons to be learned from the loss ❤

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