Mom wanted us to have a family reunion in Hawaii after dad died. She said that he had some life insurance money set aside and that she wanted us all there the summer of 2011 to scatter his ashes in the Pacific as he’d asked. Once she knew that she would be gone by then, she asked that we take them both and do it together. We promised her we would.
We had a wonderful week in Kapalua at beautiful home overlooking the ocean. Seeing Jan’s face as she saw her bedroom suite for the first time was all I needed to be happy. She was overcome with joy and that was worth it all.
Following our stay, I wrote the email below to my brothers and sisters:
I wanted to thank each of you for making this past week’s trip to Maui such a success. It was exactly as mom and dad would have liked and I appreciate everyone’s help in making it happen. While the reason was a not-so-good one for gathering, the result was renewed sense of family and new memories for us and the grandchildren to lean on in the years ahead.
I know we each have our own lives to live and that our families differ in many ways. The joy is in the collective experience – those unscripted moments when we see one another in a new light and find common ground through our shared history, all of which then ties us closer together for the future. It is a privilege to call each of you my sibling and to know that through genetic good fortune, I am bound to you for life. I don’t take it for granted and I appreciate all that it has added to my life thus far.
The memorial for mom and dad was just right – simple and in keeping with their desires. I felt a sense of peace that evening after it was all said and done, and gave thanks for seeing it through. It felt as though we had kept the commitment to mom especially, in her desire to do this for dad, as she shared it with us a year ago in May. In keeping that promise, I know I feel as though we have done her proud. That is enough for me.
In the inestimable words of Jack Johnson (Hawaiian singer/songwriter extraordinaire) “We’re always better when we’re together….” and that refrain is humming through my head today as I get back to work and back to reality. For those of you still in the Islands, enjoy the rest of your time. For those of us back to our lives at home, what memories we have and what joy it will bring in the days ahead!I love you all – from the bottom of my heart!!
Hi My Dearest Ones,
On the way home from the Portland airport George asked me if I was sorry to leave Hawaii and come home. I told him that I was actually glad to be home. I explained that every desire of my heart had been satisfied. I was so anxious given my health issues to really make this trip and fully enjoy it. The beauty of my family never fails to amaze me, their love and commitment to me overwhelms. When Dad arranged our last family reunion in Sunriver for my benefit I promised Kevin I would make the next event and God has helped me to keep that promise. I thank you Jesus! Sadly, who would have thought that it would be Mom and Dad who would not make the next event, except in spirit.As one who faces uncertainty every day, please cherish the times ahead and put each other first in your lives. A hug can be a last hug, smiles and sparkling eyes left only in the memory. Our bonds are spiritual ones as well and we coexist in a shared journey, called together to the bliss we know here and into the vast hereafter…continuing on and on. I am so blessed to be traveling with you like waves in the ocean of God…a special current will always contain us.Everything was perfect, for Mom and Dad, for me and my family. I love you all, always and forever.