The past several weeks have been a serious blur of not sleeping, trying to balance out toddler and baby, finding my own time (does it exist?), feeling like an alien in my own body, having raging crazy hormones, and dealing with a new beginning. I have the tendency to see things half-empty instead of half-full. It is during these low times that I need to realize how blessed I am and how thankful I should be. Not only do I have a wonderful husband and two growing children, an amazing supportive community, and remarkable friends and family, but I am also alive, healthy, and happy. Life can easily disappear right before us, and it is important to live each day to the fullest. Recently, I have known too many people that have left *Life* too early…
I am truly lucky to have so many wonderful friends. I feel so fortunate to know a wide variety of different types of people with such varied backgrounds and stories. Everyone is unique, and each has their own story. Most of my friends touch me in ways that they don’t even know. One of these friends is a wonderful lady named Laura Wales Holliday.
Laura — pretty as can be. Always a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.
Laura and Ken became friends at Stanford Business School. Although I knew Laura from social gatherings and events, it wasn’t until we both ended up in New York post grad school that we became friends. That said, she had already deeply influenced my life. Her story — courage and survival — made such an impact on my life that I had often shared it with other friends or strangers, passing along her strength, life, and passion, and reminding people to be thankful of the life that they have been given.
Sadly, Laura was involved in the Tsunami in Thailand in 2004. I remember learning about the tsunami with Ken when we were on a ski vacation with my family on Christmas vacation that year. We heard about it on the news, and instantly, Ken became nervous, as he knew that he had many classmates in Thailand on a study trip. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that we learned the impact of the tsunami on Ken’s classmates, including Laura. Here is Laura’s story, which provides such inspiration and a message to live life to the fullest and be fully thankful for everything that we have. For the past 9 years, I have read this aloud to my students as I know EVERYONE can take something away from Laura and her strength.
Tsunami on Koh Phi Phi
by Laura Wales
Ever since high school I have had a deep-seeded fear of tsunamis. I’m not sure what triggered this fear, as I had never had a bad experience with the ocean. It is just my thing. Some people have recurring nightmares about plane crashes or falling; my nightmares are of tsunamis. While on a Stanford Business School study trip to Thailand during winter break, I told our accompanying professor about my fear and asked him to calculate my risk of dying in a tsunami. He laughed and told me my chances were “less than zero percent.”