Recently, I had the incredible pleasure of being with high school classmates. I laughed so hard at things that weren’t even funny. I really don’t know why but it sure felt good to relax and enjoy.
We shared medical challenges. We nodded at the importance of finding good doctors who listened before diagnosing. We chuckled at dosages of medication and how one's refusal to be on any medication becomes a motivation to lower cholesterol or high blood pressure. A couple shared their cancer journeys. One shared back surgery. We listened with prayerful respect.
We shared exercise programs. Some walk. Some practice yoga via zoom. They just kind of looked at me when I described an app for couch yoga I have discovered. It works for me.
We shared what our kids are doing. Such accomplished families. We shared how we’re supporting them as they support us. One was watching her daughter’s dog while she was traveling. I couldn’t stop laughing at the runaway situations or the peeing situations – all, we’re sure, as a way for Elsa to say she wanted her human back. One had her daughter with her – who, as always, was helping her mom, especially after surgery.
We talked a little about political issues. One made it clear at the start that she’s pro-choice because a person should be able to choose for themselves, but made it clear she’s pro-babies. We all agreed that there should be privacy when personal decisions are made.
We talked about the Catholic Church. There is huge room for improvement in strengthening relationships between families and the church. Personal situations were shared and we couldn’t understand how a priest couldn’t help when asked to see a parent at home or to baptize someone. Surely, priests are as human as we.
We talked about our living parents. We chuckled at how glad we are that they remain stubborn. We shared suggestions for assistive technology devices. We recommended that folks connect with the University of Guam's Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service. They can help recommend devices and might be able to loan them out, as well.
We talked about traveling. Some are thinking of going on a pilgrimage while others are thinking of exploring Europe. I just thought how great it would be to go to Las Vegas.
We talked about the impact of the pandemic on their high school kids. Devastating and difficult. One shared that those classes should plan huge celebrations for their reunions to make up for what was lost during the last two years. I think that’s a great idea. They can start planning now to help them preoccupy themselves with constructive thought and a hopeful glimpse into the future.
I had to leave early because I had to pick Eric up. But in the short time I was there, I was so injected with a sense of hope for goodness. The love and laughter that erupted around the table reminded me that goodness blossoms all around. I am reminded that it’s always about people. People make the difference.
As we figure out how to budget and make ends meet, we can remember that the money stuff will work out as we determine with family how to curtail the spending.
As we listen to test results and next steps, we can remember that honest dialogue with medical folks will help us take the next steps. As we feel like we’re being sucked down, we can look around for those who can be life preservers.
Reunions are going on now. Go and enjoy yourself. Laugh and remember. Laugh and forget. If there isn’t a reunion on the horizon, connect and plan lunch or drinks. You just might discover that these relationships from a while ago is exactly what you need to reboot or refresh your life.
I know that the hugs and the resounding “I love you” refreshed mine. I’m not alone. Thank you, AOLG ’74. Cheers! Live. Love. Laugh.
Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and former senator. She served in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at email@example.com.