My folks had planned to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary with a trip to Kauai, Hawaii, the “garden isle.” Although their anniversary was in August they planned to go to Hawaii when it was colder here and beautiful weather there, which it is almost all year. (They do have a rainier season, and most seasons there are only noticeable by the types of flowers in bloom, such as tulip trees that are so beautiful now.)
After doctors discovered that my mother’s cancer had returned in November (she had had cancer surgery a number of years ago and as far as we knew was cancer free), my little sister Kristi decided this special trip to Hawaii needed to be more than just an anniversary celebration. It needed to be a special family time, and bless her heart she worked out all the details and deals so we “girls” could spend at least some of the time with our folks. She scheduled the trip between the rainy season and spring break. I was able to spend close to a week there with my folks, and my older sister Beth and her husband Kevin were able to “tag team” the rest of the trip, while Kristi spent the entire time with our folks and was chauffeur and organizer for all of us.
Mamma had undergone an intense round of chemo, which left her weaker, without much of an appetite and with extra pains in extra places. About the only side effect she had not experienced — yet — was hair loss. She had taken the chemo through pills, but no matter the method, the side effects seem to be similar with the poison-medicine. Every day since the chemo has been out of her system, she has had a little more appetite and strength, so she was able to enjoy more of the trip with every post-chemo day.
But she definitely had better times and worse times, times she just needed to take a break and rest. We all tried to pace ourselves with her energy level, and as a result we had a more restful vacation ourselves.
Kauai was such a beautiful place for that rest and regeneration. It is so green and lush with wildflowers everywhere, on bushes, on the ground, in trees, in yards. We enjoyed visiting a waterfall where a gent was weaving baskets out of coconut leaves while his pet pig met the tourists with a wagging of the tail.
We stood at the edge of the vast ocean as it met the horizon on one edge and the sand on the other. We saw a large sea turtle up close as he (or she) took a nap on the beach.
We snapped photos of a lighthouse on top of a rocky outcrop jutting into the ocean and tried to see if the white in the water was whales splashing. We chuckled at the wild chickens that were everywhere, sometimes following the cars along the roadway waiting for handouts.
We worshipped at local churches, ate at local restaurants and enjoyed the local language of welcome and gratitude (aloha and mahalo.) We searched for Hawaiian potato salad and an angel made of seashells. Of course we bought some souvenirs and enjoyed perusing the shops on the island.
It was a beautiful memory, which was the point my sister made. It is time to make those special memories. It is always time to make special memories and always time to treasure moments with those we love.
We hope we have many more of them.