Life, Thank You for Having Me: Introducing our newest writer, Jennifer Sabounchi

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Jennifer Sabounchi

I’m here. Yost Park. This is where I come to dream. I sit still in my car, sip on my local latte from Ladro and search for the sky past the tops of the swaying evergreens. When I spot the greyish-blue skies peeking through the tops of bristles, I ask the heavens above, “Please allow our little family to call Edmonds home. Please let this be home.”

Kevin and I had been working really hard for six months, trying to find a house for our family. Each morning, after eating Cheerios and brushing our teeth, my little 2-year-old Ahzi and I would pack up our car and drive neighborhood to neighborhood, and check out listing after listing while daddy was at work. We knew the market was competitive but had no idea it would take this long. And no matter what — it just didn’t seem to work out and we couldn’t exactly figure out why.

We then found out I have a late-stage genetic cancer — the same cancer that took my mom’s life way too young. It’s stage 4 and has spread from my lungs to my brain and bones. At 37 years old. With a 2-year-old. A loving husband and boxes filled to the brim with our future dreams just waiting to find a house to gently unpack them in.

So now what? Do we stay in an apartment? Does this house dream stop all together? Do we continue to take steps toward life after being told death is knocking? I turn to my dad. He has experience in dreaming. He came to this country with nothing, and built a beautiful life from sheer hard work, education and his infectious zest for making his dreams happen. What would he say?

It was immediate. “Jennie, you buy a house. If only for a day, this home makes you happy Jenniejoon (in our Persian culture, it is a term of endearment to add “joon” to the end of a name). I want you to be happy. You are my whole world. I never want you to stop dreaming. Ever.”

“But dad, what if…”

“What if what?” he replied. “We are going to do everything we can to keep you here. To keep you alive. To enjoy your sweet little Ahzi and watch her turn 3. Watch her graduate from high school one day. That’s our goal. To continue to love your wonderful husband, Kevin. This home represents life for you. I know that. I won’t let you die in an apartment. But I need you to fight Jenniejoon.”

From that moment on, my baba (dad) did everything he could to help us purchase our home. Here. In Edmonds.

Once we put our offer in, things moved very quickly. We had an unheard of two-week close! I remember being curled up in the very last item of furniture we had in our apartment, watching our friends take down the last of our belongings to the truck as the rain plummeted down on them. I sat there sicker than I’d ever been, yet never more thankful that we were on our way home.

Our friends had come to take us home.

We closed on Dec. 5. My birthday was on the 9th. We’d be here for my birthday. We would spend Christmas here. Christmas! The owner of the home really wanted to make a special trip to the house after it closed to explain some things that he thought may be of importance to us. Some logistical items. We agreed.

When he arrived at the door, our daughter Ahzi excitedly clickety-clacked her way to the front door in her ill-fitting princess heels, perfectly fitted bejeweled crown and her enthusiastic heart for what we all felt was a fairy-tale occasion.

“Mommy! Mommy!” Ahzi exclaimed. “I will show him my princess dress and my new princess room! Princess Ahzi is so excited, mommy and daddy!”

“I am too, Ahzi,” I replied. “Daddy is too! Wheeeee!” We whirled around squealing, which allowed us one last good mommy- daughter squeeze before answering the door.

The door opened and Ahzi’s tiny hand immediately scooped up the seller’s large hand in hers.

“Want to see my new room?” she asked. “Come with me. Check it out. This is our new house. This is my new princess room!”

He obliged, as a single tear slowly trickled down his round weathered cheek. Kevin held me as I wept, listening to the joy in our daughter’s voice in this moment. This moment. Engraved in my heart. In the walls of our new home. This would be one of our first memories made here.

The gentleman proceeded to go room by room, sharing memories he had here with his mom and siblings — along with brief moments of “see this door here. It goes with this key.”

His tears continued as the tour did. This wasn’t really about logistics. It was about life. His life. And that of his mom and his family. And now he was handing us over the baton. You see, his mom battled this same battle I am now facing. He understood it well.  “It was important to me, to our family, that our home go to a good family,” he said. “One who is going to love this home and living here. Like we did.” We promised him we would.

Our family.

“We love our new home! Right, mommy and daddy? We love it,” Ahzi proclaimed as she smiled as big as those little baby teeth could. And as quickly as those princess feet could move, she danced the seller to our front door. His hand still in hers. And we’ve kept in touch ever since.

It’s been a year. I’m still alive. We are living here in the Yost Park neighborhood. And we are still dreaming. I’ve done a lot in this wonderful life I’ve been given — from managing special events at a luxury New York hotel to starting an allergy-friendly food company — but one of my unfulfilled passions is to become a published writer. As a new contributing writer to My Edmonds News, I want to share my journey with you.

Ready for our first Edmonds Halloween.

We are all traveling our own journey. But some days, it might feel better knowing there is someone close. A neighbor. A friend. Someone who is giving every day everything that she’s got. Fighting for each breath. So she can see just one more smile on her sweet child’s face. So she can have one more close embrace with her loving husband. One more laugh with a dear friend. One more connection made with a stranger who becomes a friend. And one more glimpse of the orange sun setting over our peaceful Puget Sound at our beloved Brackett’s Landing.

Edmonds, thank you for having our little family. Thank you for allowing me to spend the rest of my life in a town that I love. I look forward to us getting to know one another. We just spent our first Halloween celebrating in downtown Edmonds! What a night it was for Alice, The Queen of Hearts and The Mad Hatter!

This will be a column about everyday life. Except, maybe it will be about what happens when life becomes extraordinary because instead of preparing for my death, I am pouring myself into my life. Against the odds.

Jennifer Sabounchi with husband Kevin and daughter Ahzi at Brackett’s Landing.

— By Jennifer Sabounchi

Edmonds resident Jennifer Sabounchi has served as a special events manager for The Ritz-Carlton in New York, a private chef to families in and around Seattle, and founder of an allergy-friendly food company. Recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Jenn’s new column — “Life, Thank You for Having Me” — provides an intimate portrait of her fight for her life. She also invites readers to get to know her and her family by visiting her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.sabounchi

58 COMMENTS

    • Thank you so very much Brooke! You know how much I love Edmonds. And you know how much I enjoy connecting and engaging so I hope to continue to meet other residents like us who feel the same way our family does about living in this small slice of paradise. 🙂

  1. Edmonds, this family is amazing! Watch out! The life and joy that Jennifer, Kevin and their little Ahzi possess is quite contagious! So VERY blest to know them and have them in our community! Can’t wait to read more!!!

    • Thank you Wendy! We hope to contribute good to this already amazing little town. I also hope to continue to find healing so that I can watch Ahzi grow up here! Cheers to Edmonds! And cheers to the new friends (you) who have kindly welcomed our little family.

    • Hello Maggie! We fell in love with Edmonds the first time we strolled downtown. And we feel so very thankful to be able to call Edmonds home. The puget sound has been healing to my soul. And the people we’ve met so far represent community. I hope to continue to heal so that my family may have many many more days in this beautiful beach town. Thank you for saying hello!

  2. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You are an inspiration. I love Edmonds too even though I am not living there now. I know how special it is. Enjoy, enjoy!

    • Irene,
      Good Morning! Thank you for your kind words. I am so very thankful to be able to share my journey, in this forum and in a city I love. I will make a bundled up trip to the water today and will think of you telling me to, “Enjoy! Enjoy!” 🙂 Have a wonderful day!
      Jenn

  3. Little one, I’m so proud of you. I’m here in Texas rooting for you, Kevin and Ahzi! Your writing has always brought me great joy. You are a gift to Edmonds, as much as it is a gift to you. Write on!

    • Diana,
      How cool is this? From Texas to Edmonds – We are connected via words! Thank you kind friend for taking the time to read my first column! As you can imagine, this means so very much to me. Especially at this time in my life. To be able to share is such a privilege and I hope to connect to others with my words. :). If I could do a backflip, I would!
      Jenn

  4. Beautiful artical Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Like your dad (baba) said never ever stop dreaming, you are proof, a living witness that no matter your circumstance, dreams do come true. keep dreaming, keep believing, never loose faith, but most of all keep living.

    • Tonya,
      Hello! Don’t ever stop dreaming. Or believing! :). Thank you so much for taking the time to read my column. This means so very much to me. Thank you friend!
      Jenn

    • Jayme – Thank you so very much friend for your continued love and support! So exciting to see your words here! :).

  5. This story so touched my heart. My husband and I too are looking to move back to Edmonds. It’s our childhood home and we love it so. I can appreciate the journey you went on (and one we’re on now) to find that perfect home. It’s a very emotional process. I’m so happy for you that you found you’re forever home

    • Tina,
      Hello! I will be thinking of you and your husband as I root for your return. My husband and I had no idea what a special gem of a city this was until we found ourselves spending most if not all of our time here (before actually becoming residents). Maybe one day our paths will cross? 🙂 In the meantime, thank you for your very kind words.

  6. This was amazing. Thank you for always sharing with the world what it really means to live. I am so proud of you my friend. We are all fighting this fight with you. We need people like you now more than ever in this world full of hate. You fill it with so much love.

    • Ymelda,
      Hello my sweet friend. Thank you for fighting WITH me. Thank you for your continued support and love. And for skipping all the way over here to Edmonds via New York to show me the love! :). This made me smile BIG to see your words.
      Jenn

  7. Welcome home to a lifetime of love!
    Delighted you have chosen Edmonds as your new home. Looking forward to your columns. We have several different writing groups through EPIC (Edmonds Prose and Poetry Interactive Community). A supportive community and welcomes new members!

    • Kizzie,
      Hello! Thank you so very much! And thank you for including different writing groups. Another wonderful resource in Edmonds! :). Pleasure to meet you. Thank you for reading!
      Jenn

  8. Wishing you a miraculous healing! Thank you for sharing your life and joy of living in Edmonds…. visualize yourself healed! You have a light that shines brightly in your spirit! Praying for you and hoping your dreams come true!

    • Heather,
      Hello! Thank you for your prayers. I believe in prayer and appreciate that you would take the time to pray for me. This little light of mine THANKS YOU! This is a wonderful life and I’m so thankful to be here. I look forward to getting to know you readers as I share more of my story. 🙂
      Thank you for saying hello!
      Jenn

  9. I’d like to extend the warmest of welcomes to you and your family! I look forward to many more articles in the years to come…

  10. Your story of love and life is beautiful. I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventures in Edmonds and hoping our paths cross one day.

    • Melissa,
      Hello! Thank you so very much. I am just so very thankful for this opportunity to write and share and a large part of this is being able to connect to other Edmonds residents! So I appreciate your very kind welcome. 🙂 Thank you!
      Jenn

  11. Welcome and thank-you Jennifer!

    Funny how the paths of our lives twist, intersect and turn back on each other. I’ve known your husband Kevin for years. We met as co-workers/colleagues, and from the outset I was drawn to his openness, positive attitude and warmth. We lost touch for a while when I “retired,” but I still run into him occasionally when I drop in to the old workplace and it’s always a treat to see his smile.

    And now I find that despite fighting it for years, I really need to get real and take the quotes off of “retired,” as I’ve found the perfect niche in writing and taking photos for My Edmonds News. And lo and behold, now life takes this new turn and here you and I are as colleagues!

    Yes, life is indeed wonderful, and I totally agree that there’s no place better to live it than Edmonds.

    • Larry! I am so happy to hear from you because I’ve heard such wonderful things about you! I truly appreciate how life works in this very fun way. That you and Kevin worked together and now you and I do. Thank you for taking the time to welcome me in this platform. This is so exciting for me to be able to write for a publication I enjoy in a place that I love and get to call home. Edmonds has my heart and I hope to get to know this beautiful town through our neighbors, local business owners and the new faces we now count amongst our friends. Can’t wait to meet you Larry! Say cheese! 😉

  12. Wow! Beautifully written. You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. Life is beautiful and so are you and your family. Peace, joy, love, and many blessings on you and your family.

    • Bj,
      Thank you so very much! What a gift this opportunity is and I hope to continue to share as well as hear from the My Edmonds News subscribers! Thank you Bj – from our family to yours.
      Jenn

  13. I was 9 years old when my family moved to Edmonds from southern California in 1974. Edmonds has been my home ever since. Little did I know that 43 years later I would meet my wonderful friend Jennifer who has shares the same love for this town, and has impacted my life greatly. I’m cheering for you Jenn and so excited to see all of the amazing things that are in your future.

    • Oh Michele. What a sweet sweet comment. Thank you for taking the time to share this. Kevin and I often say how thankful we are that we live in our neighborhood because of a kind friend we now have that is so close to us! In proximity and in heart. I think you may know her? She moved here 43 years ago from California. 😉

    • Danielle,
      Hello! Thank you so very much! :). This is all so exciting and motivating for me so I appreciate you cheering me on friend.
      Jenn

  14. It is such a pleasure to have your words and positive energy available for everyone to read. Edmonds has hit the family jackpot.

    • Marsha,
      As you can imagine, your comment made me smile HUGE from ear to ear. Thank you so very much for your very kind, supportive and fun words! :)!
      Grateful,
      Jenn

  15. A fantastic start Jenn!!! Edmonds is lucky to have you. I know that you will be bless them with your writing and journey the same way you have been blessing us on your Facebook page. I look forward to being a regular reader. Well done my friend!! ❤️

    • Chad,
      This is a true honor for me. I am so very thankful to My Edmonds News for this opportunity and I thank you for encouraging me to keep writing! Thank you – as my dear friend – for your readership and support! Yay!
      Jenn

    • Hi Shelle,
      Thank you so very much! :). As exciting as this opportunity is to write for My Edmonds News, the opportunity to connect to readers and be welcomed by you is just as thrilling. Thank you again Shelle. Yay Edmonds!

  16. How inspiring it was to read your article and the comments made by many of your new and old friends. It made me happy to have so many people share so many good thoughts and to be a resident of this great place.

    • Kathe,
      I felt the SAME way when reading the comments today left by friends – new and old. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever faced. But to see good come from this – It is so incredibly humbling and inspiring. Thank you for your welcoming comment. :).

  17. Wonderful to know that you and your family are here in our town of Edmonds. I chose Edmonds to be my new home in 2008 when I moved west after living 30 years in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was coming to Seattle for doctoral school and I got to choose just where to live. Edmonds was and is the right town for me. Although I am only a renter, I love my house and my neighbors and this amazingly green, beautiful environment. It still makes me smile that the pharmacy clerk knows my name before I say it, that the man who works at McDonald’s still remembers my dog Polly from all of our visits to the drive-thru before she died. (He asks me, “You haven’t gotten a new dog yet?”) I’m so glad you are here and I look forward to reading more of your columns.

    • Sabrina,
      Hi! I very much enjoyed reading your response. Thank you for sharing! It made me smile when you mentioned the pharmacy clerk knowing your name. I feel the EXACT same way. Granted with cancer, I am at the pharmacy often. ;). This is such a special town. Small town feel with warmth and sophistication. And I am so very thankful for this opportunity to write and share and connect to our Edmonds community! Thank you for saying hello. 🙂
      Jenn

  18. Jennifer… this is ABSOLUTELY perfect. You are so amazing mama. Be prepared to have LOTS and LOTS of loyal fans reading your writing every week. I can not ever tell you how proud I am of you for making this happen. You are going to inspire all of Edmonds with your zest for life, your beautiful family and your infectious smile. I am so very honored to call you my friend❤❤❤❤ xoxo

    • Oh Isabella – Thank you! I am just so very thankful for this opportunity My Edmonds News is giving me to share. Thank you for your support! Cheers to words! And cheers to the current readers. I am so excited to be able to connect with Edmonds in this way! 🙂

  19. This was an awesome first article… and as I have always said… “you need to get published somehow… your words are so inspirational and you were born to do this!” I love how you paint the picture… I can see you there doing what you love… writing!! And Ahzi playing close by while Kev is holding you tight. Keep fighting and never give up!! I love you and will continue to pray for you all the days of my life. You are truly and inspiration for all!! ❤️

    • Love you friend. Thank you for your encouragement and support Anna! Can’t wait for you girls to come back and visit us here in Edmonds! 🙂

  20. So as I sit with my ‘undivided attention’ at Irving Farm Coffee Roasters on 50th and Lex with my morning brew, I am extremely touched by your honest and endearing testimony of the first of many articles to come. You are a dear friend Jenn who continues to remind me that sometimes life requires all you’ve got to make things happen— and you, my lady, are exemplifying that adage and more! You have an army of love and strength behind you to get through these tough times and I am so glad to be a part of your tribe!!! #jennstrong

    • How cool is that Rori?! From New York you are teleported to us here in Edmonds! :). Thank you SO very much for reading my words. This is a dream come true that My Edmonds News has given me and I look forward to many more additions to my column! Dreams do come true. Even in the toughest of times. Stage four cancer reflects HOPE today for me. And I’m so humbled that I get to share that. LOVE your hashtag btw! ;).

  21. Your words are magical Jennifer! You’re such an inspiration and motivation for our little family. As I wipe the tears from my eyes, I am reminded just how precious each day is. Thank you for pouring out your heart and being so open and honest about your life. Always praying for you. You, Kevin and Ahzi are always on our minds and in our hearts!

  22. I love this so much, “I turn to my dad. He has experience in dreaming.” Although I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting your baba I adore him, as I adore you. Beautiful column Jen. I look forward to what is yet to cone.

  23. Dear Jennifer,
    So excited for you and your column.
    Your first writing was so beautifully done and happy you are able to share with so many .
    Wishing you ,Kevin and Ahzijoon many ,many years of sharing your story and your daily life.
    So proud of you.

  24. Jenn, I am so overjoyed for you that you are pursuing this dream. As we’ve all been telling you the past year, you are a great writer! Your words are true and raw and beautiful and bring a tear to my eye every time I read them. Your positivity and awesome sense of humor will get you through this.

  25. Hi Jenn, I have been praying for you and your family ever since I have heard about the “battle” you have been fighting. I am so glad that your dreams are becoming reality. Being a mom of a 3 year old myself I know what it’s like to want to be there for them for everything and for many many more years to come. God bless you and your family I hope our paths will cross someday and our daughters can become friends along with our families getting to know each other. God bless you and keep you let his face shine upon you and give you everlasting life. Stay strong mama.

  26. Jennifer,
    I’ve been to that home of which you speak of. It is a place of love and compassion; gratitude and hope. It is a pleasant, friendly, family place to be and one that will (and has hopefully) embraced you. You and I go back a long time. I am so far beyond thrilled that you have chosen this beautiful spot to spend with your family. Edmonds is so lucky to have your light shining with them for many years to come. I love you as only kindred spirits can.

  27. Beautiful, passionate, heartfelt, moving, awe inspiring, honest….can’t wait to read more articles from you! You are incredible!

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