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Celebrating Kathi

Our partner and friend, Kathi Aichner, died on the evening of March 6, 2010 in Ventura, CA.
Share below how Kathi has touched your life and read how she has touched others.

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October 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames Tuke

Today - August 6, 2012 - I learned of Kathi's passing. It seems like so long ago now, but for me it is very fresh and full of deep sorrow. We met because of NVC - I had been learning about it from reading and wanted more, and I traveled from Pennsylvania to Paso Robles in March 2005 to attend a weekend training given by Kathi and Rodger Sorrow. Prior to the training, Kathi and I talked on the phone several times as I had so many questions about NVC. She was always so excited to share what she knew. I think we lost touch not long after, although I did know that she was diagnosed with cancer. Something made me think of her today - I don't know what - and I simply Googled her name and this tribute was one of the first pages in the search results.

Kathi, you were my first human experience with NVC, and what you helped me learn changed me forever. I'm looking at the notebook you provided at the training - I still refer to it. I see your business card tucked inside the front pocket, and a tear running down my face reminds me that I want to tell people how much they mean to me while they are alive. I wish I had done that with you, but whether I said it or not, I think you knew.

Rest in peace.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRick Dale

I just learned of Kathi's passing today and am feeling sadness and shock. At the same time I am reflecting on the deep gratitude I feel for all that dear Kathi so willingly gave to the world. What stands out most to me at the moment is how dedicated our dear friend was to sharing Compassionate Communication with the world. We first met as neighbors on Sherwood Dr. in Santa Barbara where we enjoyed playful impromptu visits, fun garage sales and many deep, transformative conversations. She and Rodger were my first introduction to NVC and they generously shared their passion and expertise with this thrilling work.

After she moved across town, we continued to be friends and shared many, many wonderful hours together. Kathi generously hired me as an organizational assistant and for a few years we worked together in a variety of interesting projects, most of which were NVC related. She would gladly give entire days to shopping for and creating mountains of flower arrangements for the IITs. As long as I knew Kathi, she volunteered her time and money in so many ways to spreading NVC. We would inventory heaps of boxes of NVC books for sale at Adult Ed classes, put together binders for trainings, pack up mountains of materials for the many workshops that she lead, scout out event locations, make welcome cards for trainees and so much more. She was a tireless worker bee for non violent communication.

Kathi was childlike in her love and appreciation for life, despite various challenges that she faced with tenacious hope and courage. Not only did she love NVC, she LOVED the shopping channel QVC! Must have been the acronym! She would relish all the cool inventions that she would come across shopping there, and again, she generously employed me to package and return the items that she decided weren't to her liking! She always strove to create beauty in her environment and loved sharing precious items that she found. She would celebrate finding the perfect pair of shoes or the exact color scarf or groovy solar lamps to light her front walkway. She was a progressive thinker and truly cared about the world.

On many occasion during work hours she would freely lend her ear in supporting me through my own challenges. I felt such a treasured freedom and safety in expressing to her really big, difficult emotions, trusting that she could hear profound pain and upset with her huge giraffe ears!

As we had spent many an hour sorting through and compiling her portfolio of NVC experience, I was so elated to hear from Rodger today that our dear crusader for peace and harmony had received her hard-won certification in NVC!!! Hip hip hooray to you girl - God knows you earned it!!!

With love and deep appreciation,

July 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Sapia

For Kathi, my ancestor in our compassionate lineage:

Ancestors, Sky People all here today

Hear my Heart Song

Hear my Respect

Hear my Love

Hear my grateful tears fall.

I am truly blessed

You are truly blessed

We are truly blessed

--"Ancestors, Sky People" Dances of Universal Peace

April 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNataraja Anne Alftine

Sending condolences to Kathi's family, wishing all of you courage, strength, gentleness and support during this time of loss and transition.

I would also like to express my gratitude to Kathi for all that I learned from her during our time together at CL09. Kathi's passion for NVC was infectious. I will never forget the courage and commitment that she brought to being real.

Bless you, Kathi, and Bless us all.

Wishing you peace, hoping that the valiant struggles of your life now make sense.


April 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMinerva Gow

I first met Kathi in the NVC Summer School in Ireland Summer 08, I guess. Found her to have a lovely presence and experienced a strong connection. She knew I had been through a hard time not long before and offered me some time with an NVC process, the night before she left Ireland. She was on an early morning flight and this was late enough in the evening. I asked her how long it would take and she said 'Should be all done in 3-4 hours'. She insisted that we do it, even though it couldn't have been optimal for her. She was amazing generous with her time and her energy. To everyone she met. The process was profound and, at the end, she thanked me !!

We kept in contact after that and Kathi persuaded me as only Kathi can to do the CL09 program in Atlanta. She finally got me to agree two days before it started and I had just returned from India and started to move into a new house. I suddenly found myself in Atlanta wondering how and what I was doing there. I enjoyed it immensely and it really helped me as Kathi knew it would.

Kathi was always offering support and empathy and she was a great friend and truely wonderful support person. I was so glad she was on my side. Then, she was on everybody's side, I guess.

She used to get so excited when you told her of a big issue that was really bothering you. She used to just say 'Juicy' and somehow the problem started to heal and shift immediately.

Kathi came to visit me in Ireland in May 2009. We ran an NVC intro together and she was in great form. She helped and touched many during that trip and we had some laughs. She really loved Ireland and cried often at the possibility of coming to live in Ireland. She was so happy here. I had an eccentric house guest at the same time and we had some laughs together. Always knew it was getting near 10pm when she got up to put on the kettle for a couple of hot whiskies in front of the fire. She had a deep passion for NVC and spreading the word in Ireland, particularly to parts of the country where there was no training. On what proved to be our last converstaion (though I didn't know it at the time), she made me promise to follow though on this plan.

I was shocked to hear of Kathi's sudden passing. I realised she was ill but had no idea she was that ill. I found it hard to believe that my dear friend had passed and I miss her physical presence. She was very present on CL10 after her passing, guess she was determined to be there, one way or the other ! And I still feel her presence gently supporting when things get tough. And I know she will support me when I start to teach or 'facilitate' NVC.

Do Kathi, mo anam cara, beannachtai De ort. Gra o chroi.

Slan go Foill


April 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMicheal

I miss you! There is this giant emptiness in my heart that I notice most when I come home. I want to share what new adventure happened at work. Somehow it seems like only you would understand. You taught me NVC and it was after I learned it from you, with you, that I was even willing to work in a psych facility. I had worked in a psych hospital before and was so discouraged with the lack of effective techniques available that I was unwilling to work in one again. Then I learned NVC, saw how effective it was in helping me, and I knew it could help others. So you supported me all the while, while I was offering this treatment that other professionals were scared of and considered "unprofessional." Perhaps some were scared because they were not comfortable sharing their honesty and vulnerability (feelings and needs) with the patients. Many longed for the recognition and safety of having a first name "Doctor." Yah, scarey honesty was not always easy for me either, but I trusted in the process. And I had you to come home to and share my mournings and celebrations with. I had you to coach me when I had a difficult case and needed some new strategies. I still need you, Kathi. Even in moving on you have taught me much, to slow down and enjoy those precious people in my life and their "quirks." (And to slow down and enjoy myself, as one of those precious people.) May I always remember to reach out for what I want and know that if I am ridiculed it is not about me. It is the other person having a difficult time expressing their needs. I trust that vail between us is thin.
I love you!

April 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia Nowicki

Kathi, my waves of sadness have soften. The time and space between the waves is expanding. The height, depth and intensity surprised me. My heart aches as I write this because I love you. I know that you love me and love will go on . . .

April 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterRodger Sorrow

Hello Dear Kathi,
I see you in the clouds, and in the flowers growing. I hear your lilting voice in the gurgle of clear water flowing from a fountain in the Heart of San Fernando's CL08. The breeze that brushes past my cheeks carries your deep and unforgettable laughter. And the sunlight that dances on my skin imitates the sparkle from your eyes reminding me to live as if there is no end. I too had cancer. You exemplified "never giving up" ... of living fully ... of tasting every moment that life put before you. I was so happy when you made your pilgrimage to Ireland ... going home, I think, prepares us for arriving at home.

Having wrapped up two memorial services for my husband, I was sitting at my computer on the morning of March 7th ready to dial the number that Rodger had posted in the newsletter and while searching for it to call you and just connect, I saw the message to CL08 that you had already left. I held my face in my two hands and beamed wishes of good travel to that sprite of a spirit who brought dance floors to life for me. Be well and know that I and probably a few others you knew in this lifetime, are right behind you. Keep dancing Irish Lassie for you will, in my reckoning, come again!

April 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Emerson

Dearest Kathi, How strange this is to write... Somehow perhaps you are receiving these messages from so many of us who care about you. I want to pick up the phone and dial your number just to chat, as we often did. I want to feel that warm concern from you that communicated to me how important I was to you. I felt cared about in a way that empowered me when you were present with me. I want to be like that for others -- in a way that they are empowered in my presence!

Your consistant tenacity was an inspiration to me. Whether it was resolving a relationship glitch, telling folks about Compassionate Leadership, selecting flowers for a grand centerpiece, or teaching me how to make a hot Irish Whisky drink with lemons, cloves and honey, your calm attention gave me peace and fun at the same time.

Thank you dear Kathi, for all that you brought to me and to others. I hope you know how much you meant to so many of us.

Your memory will be an inspiration.


April 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaye Landey

Kathy, I sent a post on April 2 and it must still be out in space chasing you. Irish Lassie, I loved it when you said," This is juicy and now we will play and have fun." I was so touched in CL 09 in Atlants when you stood before the group and said, "People love me and I can't understand why." Now you are in a place where you know. I was so grateful and full of awe with your simplicity and humility as you stood before us to tell us that. Your gits will continue wsith all of us that know you. I miss you at CL 10. Karen

April 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkaren Sammons

I enjoyed getting to know Kathi at the 2007 Santa Barbara IIT. I appreciated her embodiment of the intention of NVC as she shared her understanding with me. I was touched by her vulnerability in sharing her honesty, and inspired by her commitment to NVC as shown by her mentoring of me, her service at the IIT, and her passion for keeping clear the intention of the training. Though I knew her only a little, her care for me and passion for NVC empowers me still.

April 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry LePage

My Dear Kathi, how sad I am that the bonds of the earthly existence you so generously shared with me are broken. I am sad, lonely, and sill in a kind of flowing grief. When I met you I was afraid to dance. At my last retreat I danced with abandon and imagined you as my partner. When we met you saw in my a yearning that I did not fully comprehend. You vouched for the yearning and invited me to a training for which I lacked the formal qualifications and my adventure in the land of the living energy of needs began. And then one night we sat together with another on the lawn at the retreat center for Compassionate Leaderhsip 2008 and my heartache burst open and poured out for hours and my transformation began. I hold you in the matrix of my being foever and in every encounter where my aliveness shines, your smile, your tilted head, your love of dance and compassionate communication are alive and passed forward. I will always love and cherish you my dear Irish Lassie, so dance on and one and on.

Love, Craig

April 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCraig Sones-Cornell

Dear Kathi,
I got to meet you in the IIT 2007 in ST. Barbara. There was immediately something in your being that touched me and made me go to your "book-shop" again and again. We got friends in 9 days, we shared a lot and you invited me to stay in your house whenever I would come to St. Barbara again. We never met again. Your spirit however is with me, I will keep you in my heart as your warmth and humor that will live on - even in Germany! Love and peace to you from Kirsten

March 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten Becker

Wow, its still hard for me to believe this! I knew for awhile that Kathi had been working with cancer, but the finality and quickness leaves me stunned.

I've known Kathi for almost my whole NVC journey, meeting her in Bellingham, WA at the Giraffe Convention there in 2001.
Jori and I shared an apartment with Kathi and Rodger.

I connected with Kathi over the years, but I didn't get to know her until she and Rodger invited Jori and me to join the Compassionate Leadership Team in 2007 and began planning our 2008 event. I still feel touched and pleased to have been invited to that party! Co-creating that community with Kathi has left an indelible mark in my heart as I experience first hand what it is like to live in a world based on compassionate giving and receiving.

I miss our involvement, dear Kathi, but we will ALWAYS be connected!

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Manske

I only met Kathi a couple times...took one all day class she led in Pasadena. Her courage & generosity were huge. Her clarity about how to help people with NVC was powerful. Bless her for sharing and giving so much. Her spirit will live on thru the NVC lessons she taught her students. Sending strength to her family, and to all who knew her well. I hope you will continue to feel her presence.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarr Nealon

I remember first meeting Kathi as I drove her to pick up her friend, Michael, from Ireland. I felt worried about the springs under her seat and thought she would fall out of the car with so much boisterous excitement. Passion! Kathi embodied passion for natural beauty, her friendships, authenticity and the "full catastrophe" of life. She never never never gave up on finding her way back to compassion or in helping others, including myself, navigate through some pretty tough stuff. The set of her jaw and the 110% commitment to being an empathic companion is the sight and sense that stays with me. And her generosity...

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLucinda Patterson

I am deeply touched by the wonderful comments being left here on Kathi's page. It helps to know she is missed and was appreciated by many. I will miss the sparkle in her eyes and her eagerness to giggle. Kathi (a.k.a. mom), until we meet again, sweetheart, farewell. ~ Sandy (Kathi's daughter-in-law)

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Aichner

It was about a year's time that I came to know Kathi through Compassionate Leadership and afterwards. I am so grateful for your presence and honesty, Kathi. There is so much to celebrate in having known you. Thank you for showing what a healing conversation can look like. Thank you for your empathic presence and support to me and others. Thank you for your willingness to connect and for holding me in your heart. I am very grateful for the chance to cross paths with you.

Still a bit stunned that you are gone to this world. Celebrating that you live on in my heart.

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan Robertson-Gildehaus

I would like Kathi's family and loved ones to know that she had a big impact on my life and my healing. I especially appreciated Kathi's ability to stay present with my and other's pain so we could transform that pain. Her presence and contributions added much to our gatherings, not to mention the beautiful flower arrangements she created!
Wishing you all deep peace,

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Frank

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