*Continuance of “My Story” starting with Blog #1: When your life flashes before your eyes in a flood gate of memories…
In the blog Happy Dance! I left off saying that our trip to Hawaii was to be more than just a vacation/get-away for me. Let me explain.
So WHY choose Hawaii as my vacation destination? I mean, the average person would think, “Hawaii-expensive! Great adventure though! Tropical. Warm. A good get-away. Eat local, fresh food, and fresh seafood. The trip of a lifetime!” These are all nice, even great reasons, but none of there were my reasons to go.
I’m a woman who does NOT have a bucket list, even from when I was a little girl. Maybe it’s because I don’t believe that a person should wait to do something they love or want to do until they retire, or have to wait for that “perfect” occasion. I guess I’m more of the “if the opportunity arises and the timing feels right” type it may happen, but even then if it doesn’t work out I don’t expect that it has to happen. This being said, there have been two things that I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl, but for me they were never “bucket list” material. I hoped that they would happen in my lifetime, but I wasn’t SET on them happening. So, what were these two things? The first was to go to Hawaii. The second? To learn how to surf. The little girl that dreamed and hoped that one day it would happen had no idea if and when it would ever happen, but was for some reason drawn to these two things.
It happened kind of like something else once did in my high school years. I’d wanted to shoot both a “banded duck” and also a “triple-curly tail Mallard” (male). As it turned out, I shot one bird with both assets! It was a crazy ‘woot-woot’ ‘hoorah’ time that knocked the socks off me!
Back to learning to surf and going to Hawaii, let’s jump back to about 9 or so months (June/July 2015), when Mom and I were talking one day while we’d been doing the GTin5 Program. As we were talking, Mom was asking me about how many credits I had to do for continuing education for being a Massage Therapist, and also asked when I had to have my Continuing Education Class credits completed by. I told her and she asked me what I was thinking about taking/doing for the class. I had an idea, desiring to learn Ashiatsu, but wasn’t set on this class.
As we talked the subject of my desire to go someplace warm got brought into the conversation (if you remember at this point in time I was ALWAYS cold). “Yes, that’d be good, to go someplace warm,” Mom stated. Long story short, I ended up going online to research and find out where (what states) the class was offered. There were 5 states that offered National Certification for this particular class (at least at the time), only 2 of which were warmer states, one of those being Hawaii. My mind reeled when I saw it on my laptop screen, as memories of being a little girl and a desire to go Hawaii flooded my mind and soul.
Is this really possible? Is this even realistic? Could I really take my CEU class in Hawaii and complete the two things I’ve always desired to do? Am I going to be able to surf?
Remember, at this same time back 9 months ago in summer 2015, my health was teetering on the edge of destruction. I, nor Mom, knew if I was going to be alive much longer, especially if something didn’t change for the better anytime soon. (To some this may sound morbid but it was my reality, the raw truth.) Knowing the current state of my health that summer, going to Hawaii didn’t seem very realistic, but I told Mom about my research findings none the less.
“Kelly, I think you should get in touch with this instructor and see if you can take the Ashiatsu class this winter. If you can, sign up for it! We could take a family vacation to Hawaii!” Shocked in disbelief as to what I was hearing doesn’t begin to describe the expressions that were revealed on my face. Mom chuckled as I digested what she’d just said and then stated, “Well, this isn’t written in stone. All of us (family of 4) need to talk about this. If it works to do, we’ll need to figure out a good time to go”, and we’d decided that day to pursue gathering information and communications. A week or so later, the four of us, in addition to my aunt and uncle, had made arrangements to take this vacation after I’d heard back with an affirmative that I could take my CEU class in Hawaii. And that is how this vacation to Hawaii came to be.
It still felt unrealistic to me given my state of health back then, the summer of 2015. So Mom and I had to talk about the reality of the situation. Hawaii wasn’t JUST a vacation. It was more than that; it was fulfilling my only two desires I had left (if you so will to say). That being said, if I was alive, I was going on that trip. And if it killed me to go, okay, because I already accepted the fact that I MAY die. Furthermore, in going on this trip, I would do the 2 things that I’d wanted to do my entire life. This trip was honestly more than JUST a vacation. It had real meaning and depth for me. It could possibly be our last family vacation together IF I wasn’t going to make it. And, when we were making the plans those 6+ months ago, it was a very real possibility that it may be our last family trip. I had BIG plans/goals/dreams to be healthy and well by the time we were to leave for Hawaii, but only time would tell if that would happen. Again, I faced both realities, whatever God’s will would be I was okay with.So back to the current time; it’s time to go to Hawaii! Unfortunately, the time was here and I still could NOT sit without being in tremendous pain. The flight to Hawaii is long, really long. Over 8 hours, not including sitting in airports, and driving to and from them. It was ROUGH, is putting it lightly. And to make matters worse, our flight ended up taking even longer because of headwinds then having to make an extra stop to refuel before leaving the mainland. I battled physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually the entire flight. But, despite it all I was in pursuit of LIVING out my two things I wanted to do since childhood and was healthy enough to do those! I was eternally grateful to be still living and breathing.
As our unit of 6 people arrived in the tropical state, my mind reeled. It’s really happening. We’re here. I’m here. I made to Hawaii! It was almost surreal for me.
After finally getting to our rental home, and unpacking, showering, and so forth, I’d went downstairs after everyone but Mom had gone to bed. She cradled my face saying, “We are here Baby! You’re here!” I’d been very stressed with travel on extra-extended day, with pressures and great discomforts, and started crying. We sat on the living room sofa.
Even as I write this now, it still brings tears to my eyes because it was one of those really special moments. Mom spoke memories of making the plans for the trip (some of which I just shared with you), and the unknown of my being alive being completely up in the air at that time. Mom finished speaking and a gentle smile pulled at my lips despite still not feeling well and being well past the point of exhaustion. “Mom, do you also remember how once we’d made plans for this trip that I’d told you… ‘Mom, I don’t want this to sound morbid but please hear me out. We both know my health isn’t good, actually at all right now. As we’ve talked about, if something doesn’t change with my health, I may or may not be alive to go on this trip. If I am, I’ll be fulfilling the two things I’ve always desired to do, and I’ll be healthy enough to make the trip. That is what I’m planning on! But, if I’m not alive Mom, I want you all to still go on the trip. Do it for me. Please? If I’m not here to join you all I’m asking you is to please don’t cancel the trip, but go there and do it in remembrance of me, to fulfill my only two desires.’ Do you remember that?” Tears had flowed freely down our faces, but Mom knew I’d meant every word when I’d spoken that to her just the past summer.
Mom nodded yes, she remembered.
I continued, “And then you’d said, ‘Okay. But you ARE going. I’m not giving up on you and you’re not giving up on me, right?”‘
“And in agreement, I’d responded back, ‘Without a doubt I’m NOT giving up!'” in 110% agreement.
With that memory shared, we embraced one another on our first night in Hawaii and wiped away our tears… and I responded, “Yes Mama, we’re here. I’m here. I made it. Thank you for helping me to make it here. And thank you for helping make coming to Hawaii a reality.” She said I should get to bed for some really needed rest.
As I lay on the bed in Hawaii that first night, the memory of our summer conversation faded as rest entered into me.