Sometimes the Path You Set Out On is Not the Path You Pave
As I look back on the last 20 years of my life and how my career has shifted, I realize that the path I have paved for myself as an entrepreneur and female business owner is even better than the one I had planned to follow. Today, I am a Family Facilitator who successfully runs, Family Matters, a “one stop shop” that helps you with any transition from A-Z, specializing in Seniors, Divorce and Collectors. While I can’t be more grateful to be where I am today, my path is full of some personal experiences that are sometimes difficult for me to discuss. But I know that by sharing my story, I can be more valuable to my family, my friends, and my clients. It’s because of these experiences that I am able to run my business, and be compassionate and present to my clients. For every service I offer, whether it be Professional Organizing, Professional Moving, Nanny Placement, or Family Facilitator, I have a personal story to share.
I am Kim Falahati and This is My Story.
When I first started to nanny for a family in Blackhawk, they had three young children, 5 year old boy and girl twins and 6 month old girl. After 7 years of working with them and being part of their family, the parents decided they were going to seperate. My services quickly advanced to more than their nanny as I became more hands on as both mom and dad needed time to heal, extra household help, and the kids needed more hands on attention.
A single parent of three, they were understandably overwhelmed with having to run a household on their own, caring for themselves and their children, preparing healthy meals, and holding themselves together during a very emotional time. I often worked overtime so they could be with their friends, take a vacation, or whatever else they needed to pull themselves together for the sake of their sanity and for the children. This transition was temporary, and I was happy to be there to help the family become whole again.
For 14 years, I was the primary caretaker of their children, whom I lovingly refer to as “my kids.” I helped the family transition from a family with wounds to heal and scars to mend to a healthy unit who lived, loved, and laughed again. As the children aged, I started my next adventure.
2012 – While I was in between jobs, a girlfriend of mine introduced me to a single dad of two teenager children, who was going through a very contentious divorce and needed some help coping with his life transitions. I quickly became a caregiver to their family while he sorted through what seemed to be a never ending divorce.
Before he hired me, the entire family isolated themselves in their own rooms. The children ate dinner in their own rooms, fending for themselves. The house was barren-there was no feeling of life in the house-only gloom, sorrow, and despair. Not much communication, each living his or her own existence.
Enter a petite, but fierce chipper house manager, who was determined to help this family live life again. I began making healthy meals for the family, requiring they all sit down at the family table. Soon the discussions about each of their days started flooding in, and I saw a noticeable, but slow, improvement over time.
Some days were better than others. Often, he would call me and tell me not to come to the house, feeling defeated to deal with life and just wanted to hole himself up in his room. I put my drive and nurturing on overtime. I saw depression sweep through him, and made it my mission to go over and bring a little bit of joy and life into their home.
I started organizing the chaos in the home. Drawers of “stuff”were sorted, consolidated, and boxes unpacked. Pictures and art work were hung with love and did little things to help make the house a home. I spent time with the family, hung out with the kids and their friends, ran errands, cooked meals, and most of all, I was present.
He later told me I motivated him to get his life back on track and was grateful I helped put his family unit back together again. One day, he said to me, “I feel like you’re my life coach.” These words rang so true to the next transition in my life.
Armed with his words and more ambition than ever, I became a Certified Life Coach and my next chapter started.
2013 – It was about this time that I realized I had much more to offer my clients than nanny and house management services. I was a gifted listener and coach who automatically shifted into a nurturing supporter who could organize lives and households, create and coordinate schedules, cook, interview, hire, and fire staff, and help families through transitions with compassion and nurturing. Whether it was a death, divorce, move, or medical, I was naturally gifted to help individuals and families transition and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. But I went for it. I started my first business, Life It Up, a name an acquaintance came up with during happy hour. Our motto was, “When life gets you down, Life It Up!” I specialized in divorce for men, offering to do the everyday activities they often had no time for, such as running errands, obtaining a nanny, meal prep, household help and more!
I continued to provide coaching services, often bringing my dog, Sadie, my Emotional Support Animal (ESA) along to my clients home. A year old puppy we found dumped on the side of the road, beaten, and covered with fleas, Sadie had a second chance at life, and she helped become the second chance for the families. When she accompanies me to my clients’ homes, the children have no idea that we’re there to help them open up and talk about their feelings, bring joy, laughter and help teach kids responsibility.
2014 – I realized that my Life It Up business held so much more potential. I saw a need in my community for more than a Life Coach and I felt comfortable in my new role as the Family Facilitator of Family Matters.
Family Matters is my opportunity to be a Family Facilitator for families in transition, but this time, I focused my business to include Professional Moving Services, Professional Organizing, Nanny Placement, and of course, Family Transition. But more than just divorce, I saw a need to help people transition through grief, aging parents, seniors, estate transitions, and everything in between.
My business that once was run solely, became a business of four and a partnership with a professional moving company. Together we operate a business that helps individuals and families from Pleasant Hill to Livermore to San Francisco. We believe that by nurturing and hand holding people through the most difficult transitions in their lives, we can help the process and ease the pain, stress and grief that can sometimes accompany life transitions.
Family Matters is a one-stop shop that is licensed to help with everything from packing and moving, hosting estate sales, organizing your home, finding a suitable caregiver for your children, and coaching you and your loved ones through a difficult period in your life. You are met each and every day with a smile and a friendly, “Hello,” and an offer to help in any way possible.
I know how to treat you because I have been you, and this is what makes me able to care for you and your family throughout your transitions.
2013-I have had my share of personal deaths in my life, three a year for the past 10 years. When I first found Sadie in July 2013, I called my best friend, Melissa Cobbett, my animal guru, for advice on how to train her. Little did I know that phone call to Melissa Cobbett (yes we say her full name every time) would be my last. August 15, 2013, she passed. My best friend for over 25 years, who made me laugh like no other…gone.
I was so shaken and broken by Melissa Cobbett’s unexpected passing, that I was unable to get out of bed, paralyzed with grief, shaken to my core, and unable to work or socialize. Sadie came into my life when I needed love the most and needed a push to move forward. She made me leave the house and helped me move on. Sadie saved me.
Having gone through the death of my best friend and the many other losses in my life, helps me understand the depression my clients go through when they feel they can’t move forward. Having Sadie not only helped me move forward, but she helps our clients move forward.
May 2012 – An ordinary day at Ikea with my father and mother turned into one of the most devastating, life changing days of our lives. Without warning, my mother, Sande, collapsed to the ground and began trembling and shaking. She was hardly able to communicate and my nurturing tendencies turned into full-blown FREAK OUT RESCUE ALERT. With no help from anyone and in the biggest maze ever, I commanded my way to the nearest exit while my dad, Perry, and my mom were waiting for me to get the car. We rushed her to the hospital where my sister, Tiffany, thankfully met us.
Together, my sister and I tagged team good cop/bad cop to get answers to my mom’s health crisis. One would be aggressive with getting answers, while the other was calmer reminding to take deep breaths.
April 2013 – My mom was diagnosed with Monomania Tremors and Dystonia, Dystonia is a neurological disorder where the person’s muscles contract involuntarily, causing twisting of the muscles, repetitive movements or abnormal fixed postures. Doctors recommended 2 brain surgeries, a week apart, in which they would implant a pacemaker. My mom would need to “charge” herself every night to avoid having tremors. A surgery the family was against due to risks, but my mom insisted.
To prepare for surgery, my mom’s head needed to be shaved and a clamp (like the girl from mean girls after her bus accident) placed on her head. Just seeing the picture my sister showed us, traumatized me. My sister was the rock in the family and helping my mom prep for surgery and keeping up to date with the Dr’s. I admired her strength and appreciated having someone to lean on during a time in my life when my mom’s health scare literally took over my dad’s and my life.
Mom’s surgeries thankfully went well, and she went home to recover.
May 2018-After my mom’s brain surgery, she took a job as a Salesperson to keep her mind stimulated. We were proud of my mom’s recovery and pleased that there were answers to the tremors and muscle spasms that shook me to my core.
Unfortunately, my mom’s brush with her health took another turn for the worst. On May 2, she slipped, and we later found out she broke her femur on her right leg. She already had walking issues as her left knee was bad due to knee replacement surgery. 2 bad legs! I met my dad at the hospital, and we quickly found out my mom needed surgery ASAP.
This surgery was by far the scariest thing for me, as my brother-in-law’s dad had passed a year ago from this type of surgery. This was a high-risk surgery due to my mom’s health and I was told that my mom asked not to be revived, words I will never forget. I lost it. Always a chance during surgery, but the words I never thought I would hear, punched me in the throat.
While my mom was being wheeled into surgery, my dad and I broke down in tears. Uncontrollable tears. I couldn’t look her in the face to tell her I love her so she could go in thinking I’m strong, I’m ok. Something about watching her heading to surgery, going through the double doors, felt like the last time I was going to see her again.
Even as the patriarch of the family, my dad had his limits. Seeing the love of his life being wheeled into a dangerous surgery was more than he could take. His way of dealing with difficult issues was to get away from the chaos and eat soup. So the two of us went to the cafeteria to eat soup. A LOT!
We strained to eat, and any conversation we had surrounded my mom. We both feared the worst, but for the sake of my dad, I tried to keep it together.
While my mother’s surgery was successful, she ended up in complete pain. In addition to her lack of pain medication, the doctors forgot to “charge” my mom, which led to my mother trembling and shaking again. UM, NO!
From that point on, I took it upon myself to become our family’s facilitator. My mother moved to ManorCare, an outpatient rehabilitation facility, and now receives her care at home. I oversaw efforts to order a wheelchair, communicate to the nurses on what she needs to make her comfortable at home, and coordinated 4-5 people coming in and out of their home. I check in on my mother every day and make sure that the physical therapy is progressing so she can walk again.
Prior to my mom’s health scares, I didn’t consider myself as close to her as I was my dad. Always been a daddy’s girl. Today, I tell her I love her multiple times a day and smother her with love. A day she’s been waiting for! I look at this opportunity as chance to acknowledge and appreciate how important she is in my life and to be thankful to have a second chance to tell her I love her and I am there for her.
What I am to my parents, is what I am to all of my clients. None of us is immune to life transitions. We are all so fragile and any day could be our day to need to lean on someone. Being selfless is the hardest thing we can do for someone, and when the person we want to help is a family member or friend, we don’t always think clearly in times of stress or chaos, especially in a life or death situation.
If I didn’t have my company, Family Matters, I could not be the daughter my parents count on today. I foresee what needs to be done, whether it’s having them share account numbers, passwords, and locations of important documents, or something as basic as car keys.
As my family’s facilitator, the thoughts that go through my head are the same ones that occur when I help my clients: what can I do to help make them more comfortable in their home? How can I make this transition easier, smoother, hassle free? What can I offer to them that will help aid them during this transition and how can I make it better the next time?
My mom’s experience has made me closer to her and I put myself in the position of everyone else I am helping. My experience and natural tendencies to want to help, hold my clients’ hands, offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or put my amazing team in motion comes with love and compassion.
I Understand Your Needs. Let Family Matters Help You and Save You Time. It is these experiences that have helped shape me into the kind of caregiver that I am to help my clients during these difficult times in their lives. By anticipating their needs and what they will be going through, I am able to offer hope, advice, and services to make their lives easier.
A nurturer by heart, I can appreciate what families go through during a transitionary time. It is my hope that my team and I can make the lives of people we serve easier so they can move on more quickly to the life they were meant to lead.