In Honor of Sasha

I thought recovering from being struck by a Jeep and reconstructing my life after a coma would be the most difficult thing I’d ever experience. 3 years later, when Sasha passed, I learned that I had no idea what difficulty was. Later, I was accused of making her death about me. While I’m fully aware that her suffering was far worse than anything I have on my plate, I won’t deny that the grief from losing my younger sister to rape and murder absolutely is about me. That’s how grief works.

I've always found nature to be more therapeutic than anything modern society offers. Many characters in classical literature, and religious figures in theological texts, achieve personal and spiritual growth after embarking on an arduous pilgrimage. I wouldn’t presume to compare my specific goal to the likes of Bilbo, Dante, Mohammed, Jesus, Moses, or Odysseus. But these archetypes are meant to inspire. So, I’ve decided to start hiking the Appalachian Trail. After seeing the ugliness that took Sasha away, I'm looking for experiences that will remind me there's a worthwhile beauty in this world.

Some think this is an inspirational endeavor worth sharing. So instead of passively watching mainstream media use Sasha’s face and name to feed society’s morbid fascination with true-crime murder stories, I want actively to redirect some of that attention to something more worthwhile than TV ratings.

I’ve found a support group where sympathy doesn’t run dry. The Bereaved Survivors of Homicide (BSH) is where I find empathy and understanding. Because BSH benefits my mental health and emotional well-being, I became a board member to help others navigate similar traumatic circumstances. Returning to school or work can be difficult after a loved one is murdered. Random, unexpected bouts of despair and rage are not conducive to being productive students or employees. Studies suggest that most survivors typically don’t even begin healing until 3-5 years later. BSH works to alleviate these difficulties when no other resources are readily available.

I am fortunate not to need financial assistance with my journey. BSH, however, could use our help. Sasha was born on the 4th of July. So, I’m only asking for $4-donations to If enough people donated the cost of 1 fancy cup of coffee, it would make a huge difference in allowing BSH to continue serving people that are having difficulty establishing a ‘new normal.’

I’m not holding onto this pain by choice. It’s here to stay.
Instead of wallowing in it, I’m doing something good with it.
Certain lemons will always be in my basket.
Please help me make some lemonade.

Sponsored by the Bereaved Survivors of Homicide, Orange County Sheriff's Office, Victim Advocate Squad and A Stable Life Counseling Services.