Lean In

Getting acclimated to our time zone, being back at work and back to the “grind” is going to take some time, so I’m taking a bit of a self-imposed break. BUT, I wanted to share this story.

Grief sneaks up in really obvious ways, but also in really sneaky ways. Parents like us are always AWARE of this fact, and know that something can reach out and grab us at any moment. One of those things is handling the question of “how many children do you have” and the like.

One night while in Maui, we were at a luau – seated at a table with three other couples. We all exchanged pleasantries, where we were from, what brought us to Hawaii, etc. Afterwards…the dreaded question came from one woman…”did you leave any children at home to come here to celebrate?”

A bit of silence…and then I replied (as I always do) “we have a daughter. Our four year old died of cancer nearly two years ago. But we actually brought her with us to celebrate.”


But then, the most amazing thing. ALL THREE couples teared up, but rather than try to cover their tracks or say something in haste, they sat with the silence and the tears for a moment and then? They leaned in.

They asked us her name. Asked us to tell them about her. They cried with us for a few minutes and then asked to see a picture of her. THAT, friends, is a BEAUTIFUL way to handle someone else’s pain and I am SO GRATEFUL to the six other souls sitting with us that night. Six other people who got to hear about Kate and took a little piece of her with them.

Or a little PEACE of her.

Thank you, luau friends from Pennsylvania & Minnesota. I wish this message could reach you because I will ALWAYS remember that night.

Mahalo, Hawaii

Today, we head home after 10 days escaping to paradise. We went to Maui and Kauai, drank and ate ourselves silly, survived the Road to Hana, a stupidly absurd rough sea tour of the Na Pali coast, a helicopter flight over Kauai and we celebrated a vow renewal and remembrance ceremony of Kate on the beach.

Neither of us wants to leave, not only because we are in paradise, but because of the empty home that awaits. We both agreed the only thing we’d have changed of this trip would be Kate waiting for us anxiously at the airport when we arrive back home.

She was here with us for sure, sometimes so obviously all we could do was laugh, cry and say hello to the heavens.

Back to reality is always hard after a trip like this. Even moreso when the reality is what ours has become. But we have work to do, love to give and a beautiful soul whose memory we are sworn to protect. So…farewell Hawaii. Aloha a hui hou.

“Aloha na Hale o ‘Oukou i Makamaka ‘Ole…the fragrance of a blossom lasts even after the flower has gone.”