The End of My Alaska Dream
That fall we got our dream job, caretakers for a remote homeowners association, in Baranof Warm Springs. The synchronicity of how that job landed in our lap is another story for another time, but I will say, so much of my life is recognizing that nothing happens by mistake.
Baranof Warm Springs Bay is a “snow hole”, it used to snow 25 feet annually. Our job was to shovel the steps and decks of 12 summer homes, keep one mile of boardwalk clear, as well as the state dock. We also kept the hot and cold water running. Unless a boat came in, it was population 2, Keith and I. We loved it. The home owners provided two Honda snow blowers and Keith and I worked as a team again, him running the snow blowers, me shoveling steps and decks.
On the days we weren’t in the middle of snow removal, we spent many hours in the kitchen cooking together. When we had first married, he expected me to do the cooking. I invested in cookbooks and began my passion for food and nutrition. You can read about that in my blog “Love Makes Food Better”.
We were finishing up our third season when Keith took his life elsewhere. With his death, my dreams of Alaska ended. I could not keep up with the job we had. I could no longer keep our boat, as I had learned several years before that one needs to have mechanical skills to be a successful boat captain. The result of the deep grief and life changing events helped me decide to move back to Hawaii, the big island of Hawaii. This is where my true healing happened and is continuing to evolve. Again, nothing happens by mistake. If Keith had not taken his life, I wouldn’t be here writing this story.
I had a spot on my face which was changing. We self-diagnosed it as basal cell carcinoma. Keith and I were treating it with natural remedies as I have an aversion to western medicine. The spot was getting smaller but unbeknownst to me, had actually gone internal, into my parotid gland. It was actually Melanoma when I finally got around to doing a biopsy on it in Hawaii. Basal cell carcinoma generally doesn’t metastasize. I was diagnosed with wild cell melanoma which is very unpredictable.
For several years, as I was fighting cancer, I was dealing with the grief of losing my best friend, my lover, my partner in life. With each new tumor, as it had metastasized into my lymph glands, I wondered if this would be the one that would take me to join Keith. The third year into my healing adventure I had to make the decision of “Am I going to live or die?” I chose life and hence, the title to my book Yes To Life.