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Memories In Our Hearts
Dedicated to My Husband and Best Friend Jim
Submitted by Marilyn
When I was seven my schoolteacher took a vacation to Hawaii. I remember stories and pictures about volcanoes, pineapples, and coconuts. I am nearly fifty now, but the excitement and wonder inspired by my teacher lasted a lifetime. For most of my adult life I dreamed of going to Hawaii. I read books, rented videos about Hawaii, and talked to travel agents, but responsibilities kept my dreams from becoming a reality.
As a child, I had no idea what paths I would take through my journey of life. I was raised in a very loving family, dedicated to supporting each other "when the chips were down". My life was destined to be one of family caregiving, which led to many choices and loving sacrifices on my part.
I am the last surviving member of my "Born-into" family. Three of my grandparents died when I was a teenager. My brother died when I was twenty. Although he was ill most of his life, his passing was devastating. I moved back home to care for my parents and grandmother. My Grandmother died a year later, with my Dad following five years after that. Shortly after I married my husband Jim, my Mother developed Alzheimer's Disease and after eight years of care in our home, she died. I watched my husband nurse and care for my mother as if she was his own mother. I realized how very blessed I was to have found such a loving, compassionate friend and partner in life. Mom's care cost my husband and I our retirement savings. The sacrifices he made for my mother can't be put into words. Chances of ever getting to Hawaii became slim to none, although I still yearned to experience the islands.
Last year, with our finances stressed, our four adult children began planning a surprise for what I thought was my husband's birthday and our anniversary gift. They told me to clear time for Thanksgiving Holiday, so I made sure we both had vacation time off. It was a week before Thanksgiving and the kids hadn't come through with definite plans. I was getting nervous that the surprise for my husband was going to fall through. The Saturday before Thanksgiving, I left messages for the kids to call me! My husband took me out to dinner that night and surprised me with my anniversary gift. The children and my husband had been planning my dream trip to Hawaii. The children had chipped in to help pay for the trip.
My dream became a reality as we stepped out of the plane onto the Island of O'ahu. Our cameras and film were stolen from a rental car, so we have no printed pictures of our trip, but the beauty of the people and islands of Hawaii will always remain memories in our hearts. I hope to surprise my husband and return to Hawaii to take new photos and make more memories to last a lifetime.