The weather is super nice lately in the Lower Mainland. And everything is lush and calm. The family and I are planning on going to the beach tomorrow as well. All of this is wonderful, but swimming in the ocean isn’t as nice as it was when we were in Hawaii.
Hawaii was a place I wanted to go for years. Back in 2014, we went as a family. Surprisingly we did it on a budget, but continued to have a luxurious time. We stayed at the Hawaiian Hilton Village Resort. We booked over a year in advance and got a wicked deal on a huge room. This was the same hotel Elvis would stay at until the late 70’s.
We had a corner room and a beautiful view of the city. It was magical and exciting. The resort had a fireworks show on the Friday, so we bought tickets to see the live performance that kicked off the fireworks. At one point during the fireworks they played “What a Wonderful World” and I cried. I cried because Hawaii was everything my father once loved, all rolled into one.
My father loved Elvis Presley. When my father first came to Canada, he bought tons of Elvis records (I still have them in my possession). My father loved to golf, and Hawaii had lots of courses. In the blotter my father had on his desk at work, there was a picture of a topless Hawaiian Hula Dancer. He had the picture hidden under his calendar, but as a nosy child, I remember finding it. But what made me cry was the song during the fireworks.
All his life, my father wanted to go to Hawaii. However, he never wanted to do go with his family. I think in a way he saw going to Hawaii as the bachelor life to the extreme. Golfing, women, Elvis, but most of all- no wife or children. When my wife and I went, we enjoyed every minute we could with the kids. At the pool, on the beach, in the hotel room, at the restaurants- all of it was quality family time. A time that my father missed out on. It made me sad to think that I could have had a better relationship with him, had he only tried.
The fireworks did me in though. All of it came together in that one moment. “What a Wonderful World” was the final song played at my father’s funeral. I remember reading his eulogy that I had written. I made it through the entire thing until the last line. Then I began to cry. My father was gone. We would never be able to create new memories or repair the lost relationship. Going to Hawaii with my family was a way to make the bond better with my children than the one my father had with me.
That night in April 2014, we sat watching the explosions on the deck chairs at a resort that Elvis would stay at, hearing a song played at my father’s funeral. My children never having met him and not knowing why I cried. I cried because I made a better choice than my father. I chose to share experiences with my children- because I love them and I want them to love me. I want them to cherish the memories of me.