La’i Lau Ke Kai


   As I was flying home to Hawai’i from California, I looked out the window at an abundance of small puffy clouds kissing the ocean and tears began to stream down my cheeks.  Wasn’t quite sure why this was happening, but I did know that my two weeks in California were a bit trying for me with an agenda that had each day full of “to do’s” and “to see’s”.
   I’m so glad I have a tool box for living that I was able to bring with me on my trip. Right off the bat my flight was delayed over two hours making the time to make my connecting flight only 20 minutes.  Grounded, I have an hour and a half to meet my son for lunch only to find I had been waiting at the wrong restaurant; he’s waiting for me across town on the other side of road construction.
   Off to care for my 98-year old grandma.  She sleeps most of the day and is now nocturnal, needing attention so she does not fall or get into mischief.  In my toolbox is sleep, but I can’t seem to reach that tool. I have learned to steer clear of HALT…hungry, angry, lonely, tired.  Tiredness is definitely setting in after flying on the red-eye and two nights of interrupted sleep with Granny.
   Not on my agenda was the repair of one of seven stained-glass windows I had sold and brought with me on my flight to deliver. I took into account the rough handling my suitcase would endure and ever so gingerly packed that panel in a check-in.  Of course TSA would inspect that suitcase, as they should. But I did not take into account they would pile the socks and underwear I packed around the glass to keep it from shifting on top of the panel and cram the suitcase shut.  Live and learn and do differently next time.
   Decide to take Mom and Granny on a road trip up the coast of Northern California.  Better than watching Granny sleep all day and wander all night. Mom and I can reconnect as what else can we do while driving over 1,000 miles?  The trip went as planned, not easy, but well worth it.  What I didn’t take into account was how extremely difficult it would be for me in the tired part of HALT.  I’m into a week now of a few hours here and there of sleep.  I’m snippy and impatient and easily agitated.
   Too cold to enjoy Calistoga or Ft. Bragg poolside, but we do get to enjoy each other’s company quietly. Off to Willits to have lunch with a long-lost high school friend, then up to Arcata to stay with dear friends for a couple of nights. Thought I’d throw in a visit with more friends on the Oregon border, enjoying the California coast and redwoods.
   At the furthest point away from home Granny doesn’t want to go up to bed.  She wants to go home.  Damn it.  So do I. But I cannot say that because already Granny hates being a burden. It would hurt her tremendously. So we finally get her to bed and I have my melt-down and swear I shall never do this to my kids. My poor mom in the middle of a wandering, sleepless mother and her blubbering idiot daughter.
   We get her home after a 7-hour drive and Granny doesn’t even know where she is. So be it.  She’s a happy old lady in her own little dementia world.
   Now, finish the glass repair and prepare for the baby shower.  Done deal. It’s a success.  Off to Tahoe to deliver stained-glass panels.  More quick visits and I now find myself shedding tears on my plane ride going home.  I knew when I planned this trip it would not be easy, but well-worth it in the end.  I was so right.  Now that it’s over I realize how great the rewards.  I learned how important sleep is to me and to not put so much on my plate next time.  And there will be a next time as Auntie needs a reprieve from the 24/7 care and love she gives Granny.  When she shares her experiences now, I shall really be able to relate.  And I can share with her my experiences, strength, and hope.  Only thing I shall do differently next time is let Granny be in the comfort and calmness of her own home. Let her sleep throughout the day and watch cartoons and wander throughout the night.  She’s safe there, cannot get lost, although she might fall, so I shall sleep with one eye open.
   So why was I crying when I looked out that airplane window and saw the clouds kissing the sea?  I know now.  There is a Hawai’ian saying “La’i lau ke kai.”  It means “The sea is very calm.  All is peaceful.”  And I know that I am okay; I am home; I did the best job I could.  Thank you tool box.  Thank you recovery. Thank you, Higher Power.
   With that, I wish you all a mighty fine day and much calmness. With much aloha…Dee.
   For those interested in Inspirational Gifts in Recovery or Hawai’i Art, please visit my website at  Mahalo!

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