July 28th, 2015 was the last good day.
It was a Sunday. Hot, muggy. She was in a corner room on the Oncology Floor. We knew better than to make a big deal of her birthday. She’d always hated birthdays. James and I bought two pairs of cute pjs and a few knitting magazines. We spent the morning flipping through the pages, deciding what we liked best and what color yarn would be suitable.
I wrote a talk that I would be giving in two weeks at a gathering. She listened and asked questions, made suggestions. Ultimately, making the talk better.
The nurses brought in a cake.
She made us take her for a walk. Oh my was she getting weak…
I left early on the 29th. James left later in the day. He’d seen her and said she was sleeping. The Oncologist decided to start a new chemo on Friday.
What does this have to do with a hot pink bird? The word Lele?
She left her earthly form on the 4th of August. I like to imagine that she soared away – up, up…up. Enjoying the view. Taking it all in. The glorious sun. The gentle summer breeze. The fresh scent of Lake Michigan.
The year following her death was very dark. (that’s when all that therapy was happening) As I started easing back into the world, I just KNEW I couldn’t be alone for the anniversary of her death. What ever it was or where ever I was, I needed to be with my brother.
We call it Deathiversary.
James and I were extremely lucky / blessed to be able to visit Hawaii for almost 2 weeks over Deathiversary. We stayed at a friend’s condo at the Four Seasons on the Big Island. And it was heaven. She would have loved it.
Deathiversary is not for being sad. It’s for being with people you love and remembering that life is good. Life is worth living. Laughing. Being silly. Being present and intentional.
I bought a hat that said Lele. This was the one and only brand of clothing in the pro shop at the tennis courts. They had great colors and I loved the simple design – bold letters and a soaring bird.
Chad was our favorite bartender on property (we didn’t really drink on this trip – but we always sit at the bar when it’s just the two of us so it looks less like a date). Chad started calling me Lele Girl. He told me it was the Hawaiian word for “to fly” or “to take flight.” I just loved how it rolled off my tongue. Lele. Try it. Lele.
We had a lot of time for reflection and there’s something about being on a volcano that gives a new perspective.
When I thought about the previous year and the struggles and the tears… And I thought about how I had completely checked out of society, how I lost touch with most friends, teammates, even Jon, I realized I was beginning to re-enter the world. The depression was lifting. I was feeling hopeful. I wasn’t stuck. I realized that I had been given an amazing gift over the last year. I was given the gift of HOVERING. Just hovering over my life.
And I was ready to fly – to use the thermals of love and hope and creativity to soar.
LeleMarie as a business has yet to be defined completely. I want to help others soar – to take flight. To feel the love and hope and creativity in the world pushing up on their wings. Part of that is helping people live a toxic free life when it comes to what they put on their skin. Part of that will be helping people address their dietary habits. Part of LeleMarie will be quieting the mind – allowing the inner self to take flight. Part of it will be helping people change their story when it comes to earning an income – putting them and their family’s on a trajectory they might not have thought possible. Part of LeleMarie will be sharing my story – sharing my world.
So, hi. I’m that Lele Girl.