Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten


A little over three weeks ago, I received a phone call early in the morning.  The call was from the family member of a friend (M), telling me that M had unexpectedly passed away the night before, and he'd wanted to let me know before I read the news on Facebook where the news might be posted by mutual friends.  I spoke to him for a bit, and I spoke to another mutual friend afterward as well.  My first concern was for M's family and in particular her daughter.  And I thought of all the people M had touched in one way or another.  M and I met due to circumstances vaguely related to our mutual love of Disney and Disneyland.  We didn't live near each other, and I saw her periodically when she'd come down for a visit to Disneyland, but we mostly kept in touch through Facebook.  The news didn't really start to process until the day progressed, as I saw posts from mutual friends and others about the impact that M had on their lives.

Because I'm fortunate to live in relatively close proximity to Disneyland so as to be able to make frequent visits, I often post pictures of food items, merchandise and random other things that I find interesting (partly because I have friends who are Disney fans who don't live locally), as well as non-Disney-related updates on my Facebook page.  I've continued to do that the past several weeks, but something seemed off.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but something was missing.  And then I realized what that was.  I was used to seeing M "like" my posts and pictures or making a comment here or there or sending me a private message.  When I'd check my page to see if anyone had responded, I realized I was looking for a response from her, a response that was no longer forthcoming.

Over the past 15 months, I've gotten involved in doing races (walking, not running), and in about 3 weeks time, I will be participating in my first official half marathon race.  M had been very supportive of my efforts, and she knew what personal difficulties I had along the way, and she was always encouraging.  She found out that I liked the Sport Beans from Jelly Belly as a way to maintain energy during training and races, and one of the times she was down here, she brought me a bunch of different flavored Sport Beans for me to try.  She said that once I figured out what I liked, I should let her know, and she'd get me more, because she had the ability to get them at a discount.  I thanked her for them, and a few weeks later, she asked me about them.  I told her that I hadn't quite figured out the fueling thing yet, and that the supply she'd gotten me would last for a bit and I'd let her know after I'd figured everything out.

Last week, I was in a Sport Chalet browsing for some accessories.  I walked by the little section with the various energy refueling options.  My first inclination is always to go by to take a look, followed quickly by the realization that I didn't need any new stuff and would only need more Sport Beans, followed even more quickly by the further realization that M would be very upset with me if I bought them myself instead of letting her know what I wanted, as she'd asked me to do.  This time, that last thought stopped me in my tracks.  I realized that I'd be buying my own Sport Beans in the future, and that I wouldn't be able to tell M which ones I preferred.  And I burst into tears.  Odd how seemingly random things can bring about such strong emotions.

M completely believed in the concept of Ohana, and there were so many people that she counted as a part of her family as a result of that.  I'm glad to have been considered family by her.  When I do races and do my training, I often think of her.  And I'll continue posting pictures and updates on my Facebook page, and I'll know in my heart that she's reading them and hitting "like".

My blog is worth $3,387.24. How much is your blog worth?