My Friend: Leslie Tanaka-Loza

Leslie 1

Last month I spent a few days in San Jose attending the funeral of a dear friend and visiting with my family.  Not a fun way to start the New Year, but unfortunately necessary. I went down by myself, as the hubby had commitments at home.


While I was down there, I did what I usually do on a solo trip, look for places out in nature, and go introspective. I’m not a huge shopper, and since I was flying, I didn’t have room to bring much home with me anyway.  I went to a couple of parks and spent time at a wetlands area watching sand pipers forage on the beach.


It was good to talk with family, and reminisce about our loved one. And good to laugh too, at the fun things we did together. But there was down time too, and sitting in my hotel room gave me some time to think.


Every 6 months or so, when the mood strikes, I look at who I am and where I’m going. It nothing heavy duty, just more like a casual retrospective mixed up with active dreaming.  I think when you lose a loved one, you can’t help but look back at choices you’ve made and wonder if you should change directions. This time was no different for me.


Leslie was a pivotal person in my life. She lifted me up when my sister died. She was the mother of my nephew’s best friend and because of that, I was family to her.  She kept me strong and over the last 15 years, we have forged a unique and loving bond.


My dear friend was healthy, vibrant, full of life, working at a job she adored, and married to a man she was head over heels for. She had traveled more, lived more in the last 12 twelve years than in her previous life.  She was happy.


At first, my heart ached for the loss and for the family she left behind. But as we talked about her life, there was so much joy that we shared because of her. We were strong, because of her strength.  We were courageous because of her courage. We were loving, because she loved us all.  And there was laughter; a lot of laughter, because she wouldn’t have it any other way.



I miss Leslie so much, but she will always be around, in my heart; reminding me to live, reminding me to travel, reminding to enjoy my life, and laugh. And most of all, she’ll remind me of how precious every day is.










2 thoughts on “My Friend: Leslie Tanaka-Loza

    • Thanks, Elena. You and your sisters and Mom are so remarkable. I still think about Leslie often. Sometimes it’s just about something that comes up that she would find funny. I go to share it, and then I remember. You take good care, Elena


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