Hello Friends and Family,

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16 Years and Counting

My three favorite things in life — Kona, Hawai`i and golf — in that order. Yes, a much younger self is pictured here — I was 51 at the time. Kona and I were vacationing in Hawai`i and someone took our picture in the golf cart. Ah, film cameras — I remember them well.

When Kona and I first got together, I had just begun playing golf. I was not very good (a bit better now) — she, on the other hand, was an excellent golfer. Most of her drives were right down the middle of the fairway. Unfortunately, at only five feet tall, she could not achieve the distance she might have liked.

Through her golf game, she taught me that you do not have the kill the ball to play well (lesson #1) and that you are not depending on your skill at golf to put food on the table so there is no reason to get upset at an errant shot (lesson #2). Those lessons go with me every time I tee it up, even today.

Of course, even the best golfers will try to improve their outcomes with a small offering to the golf gods — this time on Lana`i. Kona followed the local tradition of stacking rocks for that reason.

This particular trip was especially memorable albeit many of the memories are still painful. I am sure you cannot tell that this was just prior to the terminal phase of her cancer. She had been through the surgery plus several rounds of chemo, including one on Maui. The chemo produced severe nausea and debilitating fatigue. But she soldiered on and once the side effects diminished, she was ready to get out and enjoy Hawai`i and particularly golf in Hawai`i.

Shortly after returning to Arizona, as she was scheduled for another round of chemo, her oncologist determined that the chemo was not working and that the cancer had come back with a vengeance. It was not long before she was bedridden and I began my role as a full-time nurse — a role I was happy to fill because she received better care from me (with much help from to Hospice) than she did in the hospital.

Early in the morning of January 6, 1998, she drew her last breath. My life would never be the same thereafter.

During the months that followed, I struggled to resume some semblance of a normal life without the love of my life. I happened to spot a new series on the Thursday golf page of The Arizona Republic, our major newspaper in Phoenix. They were asking for Arizona golf stories and a little voice told me that ours was worth telling. It was published exactly as you see it here.

Life was good.

B. David

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