arrow15 Comments
  1. Sarah L
    Jan 18 - 3:05 pm


    That seems like a great thing that you did. Most especially, time with your grandson. I watch my sister and my brother who each have grandchildren, and they love the time with them so much, being well known people to those little ones. No replacement for that feeling, I suspect.

    Congratulations on 50 years married, and having a second home in a warmer place closer to where your son lives. All of that sounds very good.

    What you did not do, your list, did not stop others from enjoying, and you enjoyed some very precious time. I hope it is the start of a good new phase in your life, and thanks for sharing the holiday story.

    I was driven to the local family Christmas event, over 40 people from three generations now, and it was good to see the now relocated nieces and nephews, and the next generation, and that one day wiped me out for longer than your week did, I am suspecting. At the holidays it is all relative(s).


    • Carol Lefelt
      Jan 18 - 4:03 pm

      Thanks, Sarah, for your congratulations and good wishes. We’ve been especially grateful for our Tucson stay this year, with the ice, snow and frigid temperatures back east, along with reports of power outages and water main breaks in our home town.

      I hope you’ve recovered from your day with the relatives. Sounds like a yearly event. How great it must be to have such a big family — though I imagine the big number of people must increase the difficulty for you.

  2. nancy
    Jan 18 - 6:25 pm

    Pardon me for thinking this, but when I first read the title of this blog I immediately thought “oh poor you….for getting to go to Hawaii…oh what suffering!!”. However, as I read through the blog I could relate 100% to the isolation of our illnesses, the pain & severe fatigue, and spouses that somehow do it all, day after day, AND are still married to us!! Congrats on 50 yrs of marriage, by the way!
    I was immediately jealous and snide because I’ve been to Maui and so wish I could go back, but do not have the finances as I’m now on disability and also, I cannot imagine trying to travel via plane for that long of flight. Now as it is, I can only dream of Maui and try to remember the sound of the waves coming in and going out, time after time and all the unique smells the Hawaiin islands offer. However, my memories of that time are fading as that was back in ’93, over 20 yrs ago now. I guess in a way I am so jealous of your article and/or your life, because you have a timeshare in Hawaii, and a winter house in Tucson, where does the brilliant sunshine end for you? Please do not take this personally, as I mean NOT to be jealous of your circumstances and have pity for mine (being stuck in Nebraska mid-winter). Today, of all days, I am struck with a fibro flare due to the onset of a sinus infection I got from my husband AND a neverending change in the weather. So I guess I am in that disgusting self-pity mood and when I saw the email from Health Rising in my inbox with the blog title of “Christmas in Hawaii with ME” it actually upset me!!
    But in the end, if you take away the finances and circumstances, I realized we are the same with our illnesses and my jealousy turned into compassion for you for suffering amongst the beauty of the islands and being so limited on what you could do. But thankfully you were able to reserve strength to be with your family when the time was right for YOU, and only you. I know all too well what that is like and as it is now, my immediate family and I are very distant as I do not believe they fully understand my condition yet and why I’m on disability (gee, I don’t look sick and I’m not on my deathbed!), which is maddening and sad at the same time because we are wasting precious time together!
    Well, thank you for writing this blog. Please do not take my comments personally, I just wanted to express my frustrations with jealousy of others and being so limited right now on what I can do physically and financially. Were you ever in this type of position where you had jealousy for others? Thanks again!
    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

    • Carol Lefelt
      Jan 19 - 4:56 pm

      Jealousy for others??!! Are you kidding? For the past 15 years Jealousy has been a constant companion. Maybe I can sneak away for a few minutes here and there, while I’m lost in a movie or a good book or an episode of “Breaking Bad”, but she always returns. I’m jealous of my wonderful husband, who runs and swims and hikes (and who, as you say, “does it all day, every day”; I’m jealous of my friends and their exciting trips to Antartica and Russia and their biking tours and their ability to do more than just one thing a day before they have to collapse back into bed; I was jealous of every single walker and runner and swimmer and surfer in Hawaii (not that I’d ever want to surf; I just want to be actively human). So, yeah, Jealousy doesn’t just drop by now and then; she’s moved in for good, it seems. A real pain in the ass.

      • Cort Johnson
        Jan 20 - 1:22 pm

        A huge problem. (How could it not be?)

        Toni Bernhardt recommends cultivating mudita – joy for others and what they can do. It took her quite a while she said; jealousy was one of her toughest challenges, but eventually she overcame it.

    • Penny Richardson
      Jan 19 - 8:43 pm

      Hi Nancy,

      Was reading the Christmas in Hawaii Blog and just wanted to share with you my birth place. You probably guessed, yes, I was born and raised in Nebr. I have resided in Northern Ca. for 32 years. Just curious of your hometown??? I also have my Maui stories, that we could share, if you feel up to it.

      My best,


  3. Cheryl
    Jan 19 - 1:00 pm

    We travel about once a year by trading our timeshare too. If you ever want to stay in Orlando, I will trade you!!
    I function on a very low level so our vacations have really changed. We go to a beach for a week. I will go out at some point for a couple of hours to sit and maybe get in the water a little. We don’t go out to eat much, usually hubby is going out to get dinner. But he needs the vacations and it does us good to get away from it all. I think it is worth the effort and it takes me weeks to pack too!

    • Carol Lefelt
      Jan 19 - 5:05 pm

      Like you, Cheryl, I make these trips mainly for my husband. Usually afterwards, I’m glad I went (as you say, a change of scenery helps) but then there are times I can’t wait to return home where I’m comfortable and know what to expect. It’s all so complicated.

  4. Sharyn
    Jan 19 - 5:04 pm

    I too spent a holiday week in Hawaii with family – my husband (of nearly 44 years), a son (our host) and his wife, 2 daughters (22 mos. and 3 1/2), and her parents – 8 in all in a large house. I too must limit what I do, and still mourn that at times; I am trying to focus on the things I still can do.

    I think I am less physically limited than Carol, but I paced my activity as much as possible before leaving home, and scheduled a day between flights (first flight from our home to son’s home, the second flight was to Hawaii). In Hawaii I carefully chose what activities were most special to me to do, and what ones I should send others off to do while I rested (or napped with the grandkids). I was the last one up each morning and rested/napped most afternoons, but did manage some play-in-the-pool time with the little ones (such fun, lots of laughing and giggling), a little snorkeling, a short swim with dolphins (I have always wanted to do that!), and an evening snorkel trip to be in the water with manta rays (quite an experience!). My family wonderfully understands my limits; on the day I was supposed to be the cook, my daughter-in-law did it cheerfully, encouraging me to just enjoy the little ones (which I did!).

    It was a very good trip from which I returned quite tired, but happy with my choices.

  5. Anon
    Jan 19 - 10:46 pm

    There are various ‘currencies’ in today’s world — so called civilization. One of them is money or personal wealth of whatever kind.

    If we have very little money, we are poor.

    But another kind of currency is energy. If we have very little energy, we are poor in a different way.

    So if we have very little money and also very little energy, we are twice poor. A huge problem.

    And for what it’s worth, there are other currencies too — personal influence by way of friendships and family connections and where we lived and went to school.

    And time. At least people who are retired have time. It doesn’t make up for no energy, or no money. But younger folk who are still trying to work, they have no time either. That makes them three times poor?

    We need to do something about all of this . . .

    • Carol Lefelt
      Jan 22 - 3:57 pm

      Very well expressed.

  6. Carol
    Jan 20 - 4:13 pm

    Another great article! I so look forward to reading what you write. I can relate so well to it. I want to go to Florida in March ( I am from NY) but if I get out locally once or twice I pay a price with such PEM I really don’t think I can do it. But my family doesn’t get it at all. I have been in the worst flare ever and I’ve been sick since 1990! As for the jealousy part, I experience it so often!

  7. Carol
    Jan 20 - 4:25 pm

    I am not jealous of you Carol; it is the healthy people who don’t get it it or those that are sick but don’t get it because they can do more. I was told by one such person that I should just push myself more–that’s what she does! Also, Anon I like what you wrote in your comments!

  8. Sharon
    Jan 20 - 4:30 pm

    Oh, how I can relate!! We try to go to Maui every other year, I love it there! If I have to feel sick, it might as well be in Maui :) We found a very affordable place where the condo’s pool is steps from the lanai. In the mornings I’m always weak, so I can make it to the lounge chair (30 steps from back door) and lay next to the pool, dozing and getting in and out of the pool. Then I nap in the afternoon, and then back to the pool, or the beach. Usually it takes 3 – 5 days to recover from traveling, so we now save up, and go for at least 2 weeks so I can get a few days in of a real vacation. Sometimes it’s 4-5 days before I have the strength to go to the beach, even though were talking a 3 minute walk. In the ocean water my pain and stiffness disappear, the humidity feels good and all the wonderful fragrances and melodic sounds of the birds are pure medicine for me. My family is very patient with me, and when I can go out to dinner with them or do a small bit of small snorkeling we are all very grateful for the experience. My dear husband does 90% of the cooking and shopping but in exchange he gets to play in the ocean all day. Sometimes I take my wheelchair, but I hate it. Some trips I’m miserable and weak and sick, and other times I can manage. We’ve now been there 6 times in 11 years. I remember for years when I was first sick I just assumed I would never, ever go anywhere let alone Hawaii. I’m very grateful for what I can do!!!

    • Carol Lefelt
      Jan 22 - 3:57 pm

      That’s pretty much how I feel: If I can just get there, I might as well be someplace pretty (and warm in the winter), if I have to feel sick!

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