Tuesday, February 28, 2012

24 Hours

Sept. 22, 2008: I hadn't seen her for months. We'd spoken on the phone, but not as often as we used to. We lived one block away from one another. She was my best friend since I was a teenager, my former roommate and maid of honor, keeper of my secrets and the one who always had my back.  Marriage, motherhood, school and career had kept me busy and her life had taken a turn towards illness in the last few years. She was home bound now and although our lives had grown in different directions, that we loved and cared for one another was an unspoken known.  I had the nagging feeling for weeks that I should visit. I told Hubby that I wanted to see her and we took Sonny, some of her favorite foods and a spiritual message and went to spend an evening with her. It was both wonderful and painful to see her-she didn't look well. We caught up, ate, laughed and gossiped-things we did so well together. Hubby shared the message and she broke down and for the first time, expressed how sad she was, how hopeless she felt and how she felt the message he shared was just for her. I promised we'd work together to find solutions for her, we hugged and as I stood at her bedroom door, I turned back and told her, "I love you, Feala." and she replied, "I love you, too." That was the last time we spoke. 24 hours later, I received a phone call that she was rushed to the hospital and was currently in a coma, 48 hours later we pulled the plug and we buried my best friend 2 weeks later.

November 10, 2009: It was 8am. I was in a rush to get to work. I had only worked at the company for two months and didn't want to be late. I hurried to make my mother a bowl of cereal, Honey Bunches of Oats, as I recall.  She sat in her room, holding her leg which was aching, always a concern for a diabetic person on dialysis. I asked if she needed to go to the doctor to get it checked out and she assured me that my sister, who was on her way to be with her today, would take her. I hesitated at her bedroom door, turned to look at my mother and told her to call me if she needed anything. That was the last time I had a coherent conversation with her. Three hours later, my sister called to tell me she was rushed by ambulance to Kaiser and to come right away.  By 3pm, my mother had passed away. Shocked and overcome by sorrow, our family spent the next few hours sitting, talking, singing and praying by her bedside until they told us they had to take her body away. 24 hours later, I sat in her empty bedroom, wondering what had happened and of all the thoughts that flooded my weary and saddened mind, I couldn't help but be disturbed by the fact that her last meal was cereal.

February 15, 2011: Kahuku Song Fest. Na Wai had agreed to be 'celebrity' judges (I guess they were desperate, lol). After a night of amazing performances, great music, entertainment and hard work by so many talented North Shore teenagers, we greeted friends, congratulated the kids and took pictures with people. I greeted my brother-in-law, Jr., and his family. His daughter performed with the Juniors and his son with the winning Sophomores. Ever the analyst, he asked me what criteria we used as judges to determine the winner. I laughed and promised him that I didn't cheat just to ensure his son's win. We took pictures with the kids and he was, in his usual quiet and unobtrusive way, proudly standing by. I made a mental note that he didn't look well and chalked it up to long days at work, the normal stresses of life and a pending flu or cold. Early the next morning, I awoke to the sound of my husband crying. . .Jr. had a sudden heart attack while playing basketball and was gone.  24 hours later, we sat in his house, surrounded by family and community-shocked and devastated at our loss.

24 hours. . .24 hours. It's amazing how life can change so drastically in one day. You find yourself wishing, begging, negotiating for those hours back. You shake your head and wonder why most days in our lives fly by uneventfully and why this had to happen today of all days.  It makes you think about your own life, no one is guaranteed 24 hours or 24 minutes. What would we do if we knew we only had 24 hours left to live? Why don't we do that now?

What would I have done if I had known when I last saw Feala and Mom and Jr. that it was really the last time.  I would have said thank you for all you've contributed to my life, I love you, I'll miss you, don't go. . .there would have been hugs and kisses and tears and good-byes. Why then, why then don't I live my life like there's only 24 hours left? Who can I, no who must I do and say these things to NOW. . .what about you?


  1. I love this Delia. Thank you for sharing. I think of my sister Luana when I think of Feala. I am so privileged to have known these people. As I get older, I appreciate Kalihi so much more. Always proud to be from this wonderful place.


  2. Thank you Lopaka. I'm always so proud to be from Kalihi and more so to have had such wonderful friends and family in my life.