Wherever you go, leave a heart print. Let love and how BIG you love be your lasting legacy….
It is the scariest, most unexplainable, nonsensical thing to lose someone suddenly without warning. A friend of mine passed away recently in that very manner and it has left a giant gaping hole in all of our hearts that will never ever be filled. She was the brightest, most beautiful light, she lived so full and colorful and wild without any boundaries; she truly did it HER WAY (the Frank Sinatra song “My Way” had a special meaning to her and her father). She loved with all her heart, she sought after every adventure and thrills at every turn, milking this life for all it could give her, taking every risk and every opportunity that came her way. “Sorah the Explorah” was so many have referred to her as. It is not fair that her light went out way before her time. I think wherever we go, wherever this journey takes us, we should always strive to leave a heart print on the world and on others and wow, Sorah sure did that and then some. She left her heart print on every person she met, every place she visited. “Sorah was HERE”…and wow, she REALLY was!
One of Sorah’s friends began her heartfelt eulogy with the statement “Sorah was just an acquaintance of mine–said NO ONE EVER!” This statement could not be more true. Sorah made EVERYONE feel like they were instantly her best friend. People loved her, people wanted to be around her, her infectious exuberant energy, her enthusiasm for living life to the fullest, her interest in getting to know people, REALLY know them. Sorah’s best friend Sara and I were moved and comforted by seeing just how many people loved Sorah. The outpouring of love was indescribable. I feel so lucky to even be one of a gazillion people that Sorah loved. People flew in from all over the world to pay their respects at her funeral, some from New York, New Orleans, Alaska, Arizona and even as far as Panama.
She had it right; this whole approach to life and living well thing and I think we all could learn a thing or two from her approach to life. I feel compelled to share with you her list of “25 Things About Me” she wrote way back in 2009 so that you can get a glimpse at what a colorful, unique, incredible girl she was and I’m sure after reading it, it will make you wish you too could have known this incredible girl. Her spirit and zest for living will be with us forever. From now on, when I am faced with risk, adventure, and other “leap of faith” opportunities, I am going to ask myself, “What Would Sorah Do?” and decide accordingly, knowing full well that she would jump in head first and take the plunge. Even if it meant it could result in a broken heart or other setbacks, Sorah gave everything her best shot – that’s one thing I truly loved and admired about her, she always tried.
Here’s her list of 25 Things About Me:
“All RIGHT, already! Sheesh…. 25 Things” (As titled by Sorah haha)
(Written by Sorah Lee on February 9, 2009)
- In spite of the fact that I have fallen out of two trees from 20 feet up (two separate incidents, 10 years apart), fallen down 2 flights of stairs in front of first dates (again, two separate incidents, in front of two different guys), and suffered from several concussions, I’ve never broken a bone in my body or had to spend a night in a hospital. I have, however, suffered from a tremendously bruised ego.
- I had a former life as a professional figure skater, taught for several years, and almost joined the Pocahontas tour of Disney’s World on Ice…. as Pocahontas.
- I am terrified of the dark. Not scared, but truly terrified. As in… I can’t go to sleep if all the lights are off in my bat-cave of an apartment. I still use a night light. (The exception to this phobia is when someone else is with me).
- I have never been more profoundly moved by an experience than I was when I traveled with my father and brother to Korea to bury my grandmother in a traditional Korean funeral ceremony. I have never been more in touch with my ethnicity, have never felt as close to my family, and have never been as awed as I was by the beautiful ways that my culture embraces the passing on of their loved ones.
4.5 (I know, this is cheating kinda)… Actually, #4 might be in a tie with when my other grandmother passed, and she wrote her grandchildren a letter before she died, telling us some of her history, sharing with us some of her life, which we never knew about, and also, could never really get her to talk about. I will always be so, so grateful that she wrote that letter.
- I didn’t actually know that being Korean meant that I wasn’t white until I was about 8 years old. One of the hazards of growing up in Oklahoma, I guess.
- When I was 5 years old, I made a crepe paper kite in orientation for Kindergarten, and I wanted it to fly, so I threw it out the window while my mom was driving across a bridge in New York. I didn’t realize that it wouldn’t come back to me, and I think that I may, on some level, still be a little traumatized from that experience.
- I once jumped into the middle of a Chinese New Year parade to goose the God of Good Fortune. I’m not sure that grabbing the ass of a god is all that good for one’s fortune… especially judging from the looks of outrage on the older Chinese men and women who were witness to the sacrilege.
- I wish that I could be an astronaut. Actually, I just wish I could go to outer space. I want the reward without having to put in all the work.
- I took piano and violin lessons for 14 years, won many awards and prizes, performed with the Tulsa Philharmonic, and am almost 100% sure that I hated every minute of it…. Though, I am glad to have had those experiences.
- I will always, always, always, try to take the shortcut. Which usually ends up taking me much much longer. And I’m not just talking geography, here.
- I miss the snow.
- I have a problem with living up to potential. I was a National Merit Finalist and had the highest test scores on my PSAT in my high school… which kind of blew my cover as a slacker and caused many people to scratch their heads in confusion. (Sorry, Schutloffel). I then went to a state school, dropped out and moved to California, where it took me 10 years to get my degree.
- I was one inch away from going to college at West Point. Yes, that West Point. The one where you end up in the army for 6 years after graduating…. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but for anyone who’s ever met me, you can see where that might not be a great fit…
- I have a problem with self-discipline. (See #13). (Also, see # 12). (And # 10). (Ok, and maybe # 7). (Fine, #8 too).
- I am amazed every day at my good fortune when I think about my amazing friends and family, who have shown me in real ways, in action, what true love really is.
- I have a hard time saying no to people, but when I do put my foot down, I go all inner-Kung-fu, and then it’s damn near impossible to get me to budge. I blame it on being born in May.
- I have no problem cleaning other people’s houses, but I can’t seem to do it for myself, and I live in a total state of pig-sty.
- Sometimes I have a terrible temper. But most of the time, I’m sweet as pie….
- I once decided to drive to Cincinnati from Columbia, MO just because it was a Tuesday and I felt like saying hi to my friend Pete. It took 9 and a half hours, I crossed 3 state lines, and I stayed for one night.
- I took a trip to the UK and Ireland that was based entirely on my desire to see the Loch Ness monster. There may also have been a wager of some kind involved… Shockingly, I didn’t catch a glimpse of her, but I did get to see the sun rise over Loch Ness, and that was pretty spectacular too.
- I suffer from a chronic guilt about leading a spectacular life that has involved tons of travel, dining, drinking and general merriment, when I think about the life of hard work and more hard work that my parents have lived so that I could have these luxuries. I am actively trying to change that part of their life and help them live out the rest of their life with a little bit of ease and enjoyment.
- My heroes are my parents. They gave up their dreams so my brother and I could live out our own. They’re not perfect, we don’t always get along, we don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but at the end of each and every day, I know that the level of selflessness they’ve lived out, every day since my brother and I were born, is extraordinary and rare and pure and filled with so much more love than most people will ever experience. I am tremendously blessed.
- I can be overly sentimental.
- I believe in people. I believe that they are much better than they generally choose to be. And every once in a while, they are truly spectacular.
- I actually think that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.
Two of Sorah’s uber talented musician friends (Wendy Violet and David Turtle Ramani) even wrote a song for her based on all of her friends tributes as well as this list of 25 Things. It’s a pretty spectacular tribute so I wanted to share it with you:
Here also is a slideshow of photos of Sorah if you would like a glimpse at her beautiful well-lived life
So here’s to living life to the fullest, taking risks and taking every opportunity life gives you, leaving your heart print wherever you go. To honor Sorah (and ultimately myself), I will from here on out be asking myself “What Would Sorah Do?” whenever faced with new opportunities and adventures. We could all learn something from living a life a little bit more like the amazing, the one and only Sorah D. Lee. I hope her kite is flying high and free, soaring over every spot in the world that Sorah the Explorah had yet to see. We love and will miss you forever. xx
**This article is dedicated to Sorah, to her loving parents Sang and Meen-Hee “Monica” Lee, to Sorah’s brother Eugene and to Sorah’s enormous army of friends around the world who love her…..
Follow the series “Jamie’s Gem’s” every Monday on www.mynewusual.com.