Hello Friends and Family,

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In Memory of Kona

Five years ago, in the first year of this humble little photo blog, I wrote about the loss of my wife, Kona. I just re-read that LAHP and realized that it was time to publish that issue again. Although an additional five years have passed, the feelings of grief have not diminished. Keep that in mind as you read the last paragraph below.

She was an extraordinary woman — she had that special spirit that made everyone love her. She raised two children through difficult times. She possessed a spectrum of talents — smart, good conversationalist, superb cook, excellent golfer, accomplished quilter — just to name a few. Moreover, she became the love of my life — the kind of love you read about in a romantic novel — but this was real life.

But this disease had laid her low — cancer, the "C" word — the word that no one wants to hear. Ovarian cancer, to be specific — a disease for which there was no test — with the result that once it was diagnosed, it was usually already relatively advanced.

She battled this adversary with strength and determination — through multiple surgeries and debilitating chemotherapy. But the cancer was winning. And through it all, she maintained her smile and cheerfulness that contrasted with the physical evidence of her fight against this dreaded disease. It was her positive attitude that gave me strength — both the physical and emotional strength — to be a 24-hour nurse at the same time I was still working a normal schedule with HP (from home) — or at least as normal a schedule as possible under the circumstances.

Her battle continued through the holiday season. Slowly, she began to regress and become more child-like. Just into the new year, she lapsed into a coma. Her daughter came to be with her during the final days — and amazingly, even in that comatose state, she recognized and reacted to her daughter's presence.

Early in the morning of January 6th, 1998, her daughter awoke me to tell me that her mom had stopped breathing. The end had come. Kona had died.

Even with such tragedy, somehow life goes on. Inexplicably, you get through it all — leaning on friends and family to help deal with the grief. However, the holiday season was forever changed for me. All the happy memories that most people associate with this time of year were superseded by my memory of this tragedy. And let me assure you that the pain of my loss remains acute many years later.

So when I say to you to remember the important things in life, I am not referring to your job — work will always be there — take the time to be with your family and friends — and make it quality time. Those are the memories that you, and they, will cherish forever.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com