Today would have been our lovely Riki’s 38th birthday. As I had written of a year ago, we lost her to an untimely death because of a faulty medical diagnosis. We continue to hear her voice, and we see her ways reflected in her children, which is of great comfort.
Riki lived, loved, and worked intensely. Whatever she did, she did it well. Thinking back to her middle school days, she decided to be on the swim teach. She received medals for winning competitions. Once the season came to an end, she didn’t need to do it again. Then she played basketball. She was the lead point-maker for her team. Once the season ended, she did not feel the need to go back.
Riki did maintain her love of cooking and being with her “village” of friends. When I spoke at her funeral, I wanted to tell the story of her vivid dreams of driving a car. She was only 11 years old when she told me of the dream in which she was driving a car from the town of Ingalls to Montezuma (about 17 miles of road or 27.6 km). Along the side of the road was a raccoon. She stopped, and opened the door, through which the furry critter jumped in. As she drove along a little further, there stood a young fawn along the side of the road. She stopped, opened the door, and the little guy jumped in. Well, she had not driven but a few paces, and there was a big dog! Yes. He jumped in the car through the door that Riki had opened. By the time she had reached Montezuma, she carried eight animals in the car! Once she stopped, she let them out of the car, and they ran to safety. She loved that dream, and I loved hearing her story.
If we thought about what dreams meant, it would not be until well into her adult life that I began to understand. She gathered friends in much the same way she was gathering those four-legged creatures. Riki quickly made friends where ever she planted. Whether I visit her home town or the town where she and Jonathan raise their children, she made close friends, and they continue to love her to this day. Alas, I didn’t tell the story at her funeral. Perhaps I thought, in a split second, that it would have been a weird comparison. Perhaps not, though. My point would have been to describe a loving heart that beat inside her. I leave you with some images of her.
Riki could be called mischievous!
Here’s a goofy one of Riki and “the Village”.
More than anything, we know that she loved her family, and she loved her friends, deeply. She loved to have fun, and she continues to be an inspiration to each of us who knew her. Meanwhile, we continue to remember what she believed in. I leave you with a picture of her and our son, her brother, Stevie. He carries on the tradition of fabulous cooking and sharing his food with loved ones.
Thank you for reading my blog. I hope to talk to you soon.