Rainbows and Mom in Hawaii Jan24


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Rainbows and Mom in Hawaii

Our annual family Hawaii trip had a strangeness to it this time around. Mom was only with us in spirit, after she lost her battle with multiple myeloma in November.

Several months ago she planned our trip, and even chose and paid for the “phatest” pad we have ever stayed in – she would have loved it!  So spacious & luxurious, but despite its comfort, we all felt something missing.  Maybe it was a just little too big without her there to share it with us.

Prior to mom’s passing, I told her that rainbows would always remind me of her, mostly for the many times we chased them together while visiting Hawaii. I also shared this with everyone who attended her funeral and it’s been touching to have our family and friends from all over send us texts with photos of “Wanda Rainbows” they’ve seen since she’s been gone.

And although I didn’t see a rainbow myself this trip, which is unusual, her husband Ken was greeted at the airport by one and we found out on the news that a few days prior to our arrival there was an 360 degree rainbow above Kauai. Mom always said, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” Guess she’s feelin’ pretty spunky up there in heaven.


Because Mom so loved Maui, we had planned to honor her with a private beach-side ceremony at sunset. After a week of scouting we found the right place, a cropping of lava rock that jutted out into the ocean with waves lapping and a perfect view of the sun dipping into the water.

It was contemplative and of course sad, but I think we all left feeling as though the process offered some small amount of closure.  We read a litany called “When We Remember Her” and each tossed some flowers and purple leis that we were wearing into the sea. It was perfect.




When We Remember Her

One: At the rising of the sun and at its going down

All: We will remember her.

One: At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter

All: We will remember her.

One: At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring

All: We will remember her.

One: At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer

All: We will remember her.

One: At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn

All: We will remember her.

One: At the beginning of the year and when it ends

All: We will remember her, for she is now a part of us, as we remember her.

One: When we are weary and in need of strength

All: We will remember her.

One: When we are lost and sick at heart

All: We will remember her.

One: When we have joy and wish to share it

All: We will remember her.

One: When we have decisions that are difficult to make

All: We will remember her.

One: When we have achievements that are based on hers

All: We will remember her.

All: For as long as we live, she too will live

For she is now a part of us as we remember her.

Interestingly, days later while enjoying our final beach day at a spot just around the corner from the ceremony site, a purple orchid lei washed up onshore. I guess it could have been a random lei from just anyone or anywhere, but I think it was Mom’s; a gentle reminder from her, that she is always with us. That’s the story I like best anyway, and maybe, just maybe it’s true.

We certainly enjoyed all the usual delights of Maui: sun, sand, pools, walks on the beach & whale watching, golf (for Ken), chocolate macadamia nuts and evening meals on the lanai. Even though the trip was weighted with emotion, it was a good way for us to begin to change gears.

I think it’s safe to say that my heart is still heavy, and that I’m still learning how to live without a mother, trying to shift my sadness to gratitude for all that she offered during her life.  Life without her will never be the same.

We’ve all heard it before: life is precious – we’d best enjoy each gift of a new day.