Sunday, November 19, 2017

Life is Precious

Guadalajara, Mexico

I am back in the big city of Guadalajara, Mexico. Almost a month has gone by since I have been in work mode down here in Mexico.  We have been bouncy from a few different cities installing snow machines for the upcoming Holiday season. The team is pretty close to being finished and now I am based here in Guadalajara for the next 2 months running snow shows at the Mall.

A few weeks back I said goodbye to beautiful fall in Baja, with a nice run of waves on the horizon. I dropped Kanami off at the airport, drove my van back to my parents, packed my bags and bought a big bag of dog food and left Charlie with Joel and Moses. As I boarded the plane on my way south, not for an adventure but for work, I asked myself, “Is this worth it?”

I leave behind everything I love, all in pursuit of putting money in the bank to pursue a future dream. Sometimes I just put my head down and work hard and realize that in life we have to work hard. Days will go by and I feel content with the work and with the paycheck that comes along. Then like a sudden car crash, it all changes.

A few weeks back as we left the hotel in Queretaro, for the short taxi drive to the mall, traffic came to a slow stop. I was in the front seat and as we drove around the accident, I noticed something no one else in the car had seen. The pickup truck looked as though it ran into a man trying to cross the street with his vendor cart. As we slowly drove by the scene, reality struck. There was a man lying on the ground surrounded by a pool of blood and his body was violently convulsing. Was he in shock? Was he taking his last few breaths? Would he survive? Was I first hand watching a life slowly come to an end?

These are questions to which I have no answers.

My heart was in pain.

For the rest of the day the question, “Is this all worth it?” ran through my mind.

Life is so precious, and sometimes I forgot this. Sometimes I feel as though I am living so free and adventurous and then like that sudden car crash, it all stops.
This summer I was working on the Kern River, in what was said to be the best year for water levels since 1984. While things started off great and amazing I remember a text message I received early on in the season: “Please call it is important!”

In a text you can not hear the tone of voice, feel the anxiety or the pain. I walked away from what was happening to make a phone call. 

Life is so precious.

As much as I didn't  want to hear those words come out of her mouth, they did.

“Andrew I went to the doctor, I have breast cancer.”

I am scared, the anxiety is a bit overwhelming, the pain is real, why? Why?
These are my thoughts, then it struck me hard, how is she feeling? The conversation seems a bit blurry now, it was all so hard to concentrate on the reality of life. All I wanted to do was be with her, drop everything and be by her side. A week or so went by before I went to San Diego. While the doctors may have said that it may not be the worst case scenario, it is scary as hell to think of a young 30-year-old with Breast Cancer. And that person is one of your best friends and family.

On my drive to San Diego, I had waves of emotions that swept through my mind and heart. When something fucked up happens, it is hard to be positive, to think the best, to trust that all will turn out well. I went for a visit, the whole family was there, kids, husband, what seemed like any normal visit. The anxiety, the pain seemed a bit departed, maybe because she had to manage a household as if everything was normal.

Before I had to head back up to the river, I needed to make one more visit. This time the house was a bit quieter, it was just the two of us. I didn't know what to say, and I am sure everyone shared their own “Miracle Story” of some friend, relative or co-worker that went through the same thing and it all turned out okay. We share a real relationship, no bullshit conversation. I had no answer or positive words, I just sat there and held her hand. Tears came out, the pain was real, the anxiety, the thought of life ending too quickly.

My heart hurt. It still does.

To watch someone in pain, especially someone you love is terrible. It is even more terrible to not be physically present with that person you love.

I got through that day of work in Mexico, physically tired and also a bit mentally tired as well. During the rest of the install in Queretaro, I had moments that seemed a bit down. Maybe it was watching that guy lying in his pool of blood that had my thoughts run wild. We were working on a lift, 60 feet off the ground, fixing some of the lights that had been installed a few years back and also cleaning off the equipment. I found myself with the feather duster, being the guy who dusted off the light fixtures.

A smile came about, but one of those smiles that also reminds you of something heartbreaking. A long time ago, god maybe close to 15 years ago, a wildfire wreaked havoc throughout San Diego. As a result, my dad’s company received an overload of fire restoration work lasting close to 6 months. They had to hire probably close to 20-30 laborers to help clean up houses with extensive smoke damage.

My dad has always been someone who has wanted to help out others. So for him, it was a time to hire anyone willing to work and who needed the work. The memory that popped up in my head while I was the dust master up on that lift was of a friends dad. At the time he was not working, so he took my dad up on the offer to work. I remember later laughing with Alise, probably with a beer in hand, about how her dad’s designated job was to be the guy on the latter with that bright feather duster cleaning every nook and cranny in these million dollar homes.

The sad thing about this story and memory is that I wish I could be with Alice and her dad, and have a good laugh about our professional dusting days.

He is gone. My Heart Hurts.

Life is so precious.

I wish fucked up things didn't happen to good people and people whom I love. I don't have the answer to why they happen. 

We all suffer in some way, feel alone, tears fall.

I try and remember the good days. The laughter, the love, the beauty of life.


  1. Beautifully written, Andrew. I hope (and believe) for you, it is all worth it. You live it daily and touch people all over the world. Keep doing what you do. Abrazos.