In my excitement (read “frustration”) while working on WordPress I neglected to add this very important part of my “It’s the little things…” blog. I’m taking my mistake and turning it into an opportunity to tell more about this incredible gift and the givers.
In our dining room window hangs the beautiful, colorful lei that was created from some of the “one thousand origami cranes” that were made by the friends and family of Mitchell Louie as he fought the battle for his life against cancer several years ago. He is survived by his identical twin brother, Adam, his parents, Rhonda and Dave and a very supportive extended family, friends and community.
Mitchell fell ill at the end of his freshmen year at Carlmont H.S. with a rare and incurable cancer. Needless to say, this was a devastating time for his family, friends and the Carlmont community. Rhonda and Dave rallied the community to try and keep Mitchell’s spirits up. Adam spent as much time with his brother as possible while trying to keep focused on school. It was an extremely difficult time for Adam and I tried to keep an eye on him as things progressed. When Mitchell died less than a year after his diagnosis, Adam was lost.
Losing an identical twin is not an experience many of us can understand. Adam didn’t know where to begin. He missed his brother and best friend beyond words. He had difficulty being with friends who became constant reminders of his brother because they all hung out together. It was during this time that Adam and I got to know each other. We spent time just talking about “stuff” and sometimes sharing stories about losses and family. He needed time to mourn and time to redefine himself as an individual. He struggled to find out what really mattered to him, what he needed to make him love life again. In reaching out to others to share his experience, Adam found his voice. Carlmont’s principal, Raul Zamora, was so touched by the Louie’s, that he provided a place at the school’s entrance for a beautiful plaque and tree in Mitchell’s memory. He, also, gave up a portion of his graduation speech to give Adam an opportunity to tell his and Mitchell’s story. As Adam spoke in a strong, deep voice, the audience was silent.
The Louie’s have continued to support each other and the community has continued to help by keeping Mitchell’s memory alive. Before leaving on our adventure, Warren and I were served a wonderful dinner when we brought two of my largest avocado trees over to be planted in the Louie’s yard. I knew that my “babies” would be getting the best care possible. Rhonda is a whizz with orchids and loves growing all kinds of plants. We left with a huge bag of “Mitchell’s Famous Cracked Corn”. It really is addicting! We feel blessed to have spent time with such quality people. Good karma is sure to be everywhere we travel with such a special gift.
Due to WordPress formatting issues, I wasn’t able to place my “baby” tree next to the Lucky Bamboo picture in my last blog. Please note the innovative holder I designed using a peanut butter jar and one of my brand new Cutco knives! My tree may now travel with no spills. My hope is that it will grow and thrive as we travel and then get planted when and where we decide to put down our own roots.