Reflections on Hawaii – Part Deaux

A few of you mentioned there was a problem accessing last week’s “Reflections on Hawaii” post for which I apologize. For those of you who actually want to read it, here it is again (hopefully). May the Internet Gremlins be on vacation this week.


Reflections on Hawai’i

IMG_1116You may recall my post from last week sharing my joy at being able to witness my granddaughter graduate from high school. The celebration of the entire school was so joyful and remarkable. After the graduation, I was able to enjoy being with my family and to see the sights of the Big Island. Oh Hawai’i, you temptress! Such diversity, such beauty. From cactus to unusual trees along roadsides, to volcanoes and geological formations, the names of which were totally lost on me. I may not be able to pronounce all those Hawaiian names let alone remember them, but they burned their beautiful images in my brain so much so I shan’t forget them any time soon. The people, the culture, the amazing array of plants! Egad, all the things I’ve been seeing…those are freaking house plants in my reality, not garden hedges!

And the smells and sounds! The fresh sea air, I mean, truly fresh, not that salted, almost-bad fish smell that you are more likely to associate with beaches. The pounding of rain on avocado tree leaves in an early morning shower, the coqui frogs in the evening whistling their funny little sound. The smell of fresh Kona lattes every morning (ma-halo to Kim as well as Kevin for keeping me in a blissful state of caffeine-ation) and the cool crisp bubbly swallow of a Kona Brewing Longboard after a long day of sight-seeing. I guess the only two things I won’t be missing are sunburns and poi, but everything else, I’m already missing.

I’ll miss seeing my son first thing in the morning, his humor and amazing knowledge of what’s-what when we were on the road to unbelievable sights of the island, pride in my grandson and granddaughter and their giggle fits about silly things and genuine love and caring for one another, the kindness of my daughter-in-law after she had a particularly rough day at work. The laughter and bond shared by a family connected by something that 3312 miles cannot break (not even when we realized the Mai Tai mix already had rum in it–oops–so much for moderation). And those breath-taking sunsets every night from the lanai. Yes, I’ll miss all of that but have something to look forward to down the road–a return trip. Yeah Hawai’i, you can’t get rid of me that easily.

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Live, love, bark! <3

National Cancer Survivors Day

National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual event celebrated world wide in hundreds of communities to celebrate cancer survivors, inspire those recently diagnosed, support families and reach out to communities affected by cancer.  With more than 14 million survivors in America, we all probably know someone who has beaten cancer. Today Sam and I celebrated their survival as the hospital held its 7th Annual “Leaves of Hope” event.  And although I’m still a bit jet-lagged from the long flight home, Sam and I crossed the finish line before all the other pet therapy dogs. Yay, Sam. 🐾

Whenever we represent the pet therapy program at the hospital, I’m very proud of my fur-kid.  He always does his best even if he tried like hell to snatch a bagel off the breakfast-for-survivors table.  Clearly there’s work to be done about his table manners.  I just can’t help wondering where in that stupid pea-brain did he think snitching a bagel would be acceptable??  Goofy dog.  But he was mellow and his usual friendly self around all the dogs, the runners, and the chaos associated with an event that had 750 runners (a new record this year-woot!), race personnel, cancer survivors and other supporters/volunteers at this event.  As we walked through the health and safety expo, we were greeted with smiles and appreciation for being part of the pet therapy team by countless survivors.  When I see these former patients, I can’t help but marvel at their courage, their resilience, their optimism.  They’re the ones that inspire Sam and I every single time we have the privilege to do a hospital shift.  I am profoundly in awe of their human spirit and ever so thankful for my own life blessings.   They give me so much to contemplate and I am driven to help them out any way possible.  What Sam and I do seems so minor and yet their faces told me otherwise.  For this, I am extremely humbled.

To those who have to deal with this terrible disease, know we are here for you.  At events like this, as well as walking through the oncology floor trying our damnedest to lighten your load just a bit with a smile, a kind word and a tail wag.  Through research and events like this one we will beat this rotten bastard of a disease and together we’ll continue to celebrate your life.