Week Twenty-nine: Amanda Kasper


Write about five people that have most affected your life.

People may forget what you said,

People may forget what you did,

But they will never forget how you made them feel.

..maya angelou..

My mother – Every child has a complicated relationship with their parents. Every child experience the turbulence of teenage-hood, of going to college, of becoming an adult; sometimes parents run alongside for the length or lengths of the journey, sometimes they hide very far away and wait for the stress to pass. My mom and I did all and none of the above in our very own way. This spring is my five year reunion from college graduation, and where I stand today, in my life, my career, my spirits, is nowhere I could’ve ever predicted. What I do know is that I would not have made it through the last three years and more specifically every single day of 2012, without my mom. She is my rock, my best friend, my support system, my everything.

Calvin James Berkseth – Twelve years, one month and three days ago, the world lost a hero, and I lost one of the most important people in my life. Cal was not just my figure skating coach, he was a parent, a mentor, a role model, and an inspiration. He changed me inside and out, and not a single day goes by that I don’t think of him, that I don’t wish I could pick up the phone and call him, that I understand how this much time has gone by since I’ve heard his voice or seen his smile. He taught me everything – about life and love, about family and relationships, about passion, compassion, and treating people with kindness.

Matthew Harmon – In a very different sense, Matt was part of my life on the ice. There may have been moments or periods of time when he wasn’t the best role model, but from him, I learned so very much about life. He taught me to reach bigger than I ever could’ve planned for. He showed me that it was okay to make mistakes, to dust myself off and start again. It was from him I learned that duck tape is really truly a solution to many problems; that feeling lonely and alone, no matter how many people you’re surrounded with, happens to everyone; that we each have it within ourselves to right our wrongs – and we each have the choice on whether or not we want to. On March 15, 2001, Matt saved my life when I hit the wall head first and blacked out with a concussion. I woke up surrounded by a pool of my own blood, and began screaming. He ran into the rink, scooped me off the ice, and carried me out to the ambulance. When I wasn’t ready to jump higher or skate faster or put more power in my stride, he was the one who pushed me, who encouraged me, who made me a better skater. Through the memories, he was the one who laid down the foundations on so many of the life lessons I’ve carried with me all this time, and to him, I am forever grateful.

Samuel Joseph Ross – I am twenty-six years old, and I’ve known Sam for twenty-one years. We were friends in kindergarten. I remember when he threw up on the rug during story time, and he remembers my mom chaperoning our field trip to the pumpkin patch. We spent nearly every day together the summer before going to college, and on the morning I left Chicago and drove 380 miles to Des Moines, IA, Sam was my co-pilot. Since then, we’ve experienced a plethora of moments together – things that only we have shared in, and for that, for the amount of history our relationship holds, the way in which it has grown and forgiven, I have learned what lifelong friendship truly means.  I honestly cannot imagine my life without him – but I’m fairly certain I won’t have to 😦

Jill Appelbaum – In a way that so many people can understand, the time between 15-18 was turbulent for me for a million reasons. I found a refuge and an extended family in small business I used to work at; escaping most of high schools peer pressure and ridiculous antics to be at work, or at the house of a friend. Jill helped me to foster creativity and embrace life’s challenges, especially when I was too young to have any of the right tools. For the love, the inspiration, and the kindness I’m truly thankful.


Amanda Kasper is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer, seeking space as a lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513 and blogs over at “& this I believe”


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