Our Sweet Angel

Our Sweet Angel

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Celebrated Life

Aloha Dear Friends and Family,

We are all one, we are all connected.  Each of you has touched our life profoundly and we are better people for your love, strength and community.

In her five and a half years on earth, Carmen taught us more wonderful things than we ever knew possible.

Chris and I shared a thought with each other recently, if someone would have told us what the future held for us upon learning we were going to have a baby - and given us the choice to have nothing at all - or to have Carmen, the lessons, the love, the giggles and snuggles, the Leukemia diagnosis the journey through her fight and ultimately her passing....we would do it over and over again.

We are forever changed by having children, we are forever changed by receiving the first blow from her Leukemia diagnosis and now even more we are forever changed by not having our sweet girl to kiss goodnight anymore...

We are going to keep searching for the joy, strength, compassion and love which will be what we are left with.

We love you all so much and wish you much Aloha - A Hui Ho - till we meet again

Team White

(Written to greet everyone who attended the Squamish, B.C. Celebration of Life for Carmen November 9, 2012)

Below are a collections of images and highlights of Carmen's four "Celebrations of Life"


Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Island of Hawaii
Monday October 15th

Located at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai's "Kumakea Beach".  Attended by our closest family and friends from Portland, California, British Columbia and Ontario, along side of our new friends from Kona and special friends visiting from Kauai and Oahu.  The Four Seasons was one of Carmen's favorite places during our short time on the island of Hawaii.  Our family lived at the hotel for two weeks during our transition from Kauai and Carmen and Trevor made themselves at home at the fun pools and wonderful beach.  Uncle Earl Regidor blessed our family by presiding over the ceremony, graciously guiding Heather and I through the evening.  Many touching memories of Carmen were shared.  The sunset lit the sky up in a stunning hue of pink, while one of 4 turtles resting on the beach accompanied us to the water and gently slipped below the surface as Heather, Trevor and I entered to empty a heart shaped box into the beautiful Pacific.

I would like to repeat a quote shared during the celebration by our dear friend Corey Smith.  Heather and I have leaned on the wisdom of this quote several times over the last month.  To us, this quote speaks volumes to how Carmen lived and how we should all live to honor her;

“The sin of inadvertence, not being alert, not quite awake, is the sin of missing the moment of life – live with unremitting alertness.” 
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                by Joseph Campbell










Hualalai Academy
Carmen's Garden
Thursday October 18th

As parents, we do the best we can to make the right choices for our children.  The choice that Heather and I made to send Carmen to Hualalai Acadamy has been, without a doubt, one of the best decisions we have ever made.  From the day Carmen started Kindergarten in August she lit up with joy.  She would wake up every day excited to see her classmates and her wonderful teachers, Ms. Flowers and Ms. Hernandez (Ms. H).   And of course.....there was Oliver........Carmen's love at first sight. :-)

Though we are new to the Hualalai Academy ohana we were embraced with immediate love and support.

I recall, Ms. Flowers (Tina), sitting with me on our lanai, Monday October 15th, asking me if it would be okay if the school created a garden in honor of Carmen.  In my mind and I believe most peoples mind, this garden was going to be a small, yet touching, space dedicated to Carmen.

What occurred was something very different.  In just three short days, the Hualalai Academy ohana rallied their love, sweat and tears to create an amazing remembrance to Carmen.  The whole experience absolutely took our breath away and we can not thank you enough for your generosity, support and love.

And most of all....thank you for embracing Trevor as an honorary Hualalai Academy student.


The memorial bench in Carmen's Garden, overlooking the K-1 classrooms


See the "Dazzle Card", hanging from the bench.  Carmen 'looooved" her dazzle cards, awarded for being an exceptional little student.


Carmen's class each contributed something special for Carmen


St. Regis Princeville Resort
Kauai
Wednesday October 24

Words can not adequately describe how Heather and I feel about Kauai.   It has called our name twice already.  We fell in love on Kauai back in 2000, moved our little family of three back to Kauai in April 2008 and welcomed our baby Trevor in July 2008.   The friendships we made on Kauai will last our lifetime and who knows.....maybe three times is a charm. :-)  

Carmen's Celebration took place at St. Regis Princeville Resort, attended by our closest friends.   The celebration was presided over by our dear friends Coppin Colburn and Chris Spencer.   It was a beautiful evening, with a gorgeous Hanalei sunset.

The ohana of St. Regis Princeville, lead by our dear friend Milton Sgarbi, bestowed an incredible honor in memory of Carmen by re-naming the beach where the ceremony took place;

 "Leolani Cove"

In our humble opinion Leolani Cove, is the most beautiful place on the island of Kauai - which - makes it one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Only fitting for our Tough Little Princess.


The stunningly beautiful view from Leolani Cove


Love


....and last but certainly not least

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel 
"The Pink Hotel"
Oahu
Thursday November 1st

Of all the celebrations, Heather and I agreed that this was the toughest.  

As many of you remember, the Pink Hotel is where we stayed immediately following Carmen's diagnosis.   During this time, as she always did, Carmen impacted the lives of so many.  Each subsequent visit, was a chance for Carmen to reunite with the wonderful ambassadors of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.   Never in all my years working in hotels have I experienced the genuine care and devotion that the staff of Royal Hawaiian gave to Carmen.

The soul purpose of our time spent at the Royal Hawaiian was to help Carmen forget why she was in Oahu.   Every opportunity was made to ensure Carmen enjoyed her "get-a-aways" with Mommy (and sometimes Daddy) to the "Pink Hotel" so that our visits to the PAU clinic were only a quick part of the visit.

A small group of dear friends gathered at sunset on the beach in front of the Royal Hawaiian.   After we shared memories - Heather, Trevor and myself paddled off shore in an Outrigger Canoe to spread flowers and Carmen's ashes.   As we were paddling back to shore, Carmen made sure that we caught an epic wave, effortlessly propelling the canoe toward the beach in grace and style.


The trip also gave us some time to visit Carmen's favorite places at the Honolulu Zoo and Aquarium


Paddling out.  That is Trevor's little head right over my shoulder


Beautiful Waikiki and Diamond Head


I would like to share a video of Carmen.  It is a video from December 2011, of her dancing on a small stage in front of a full Beach Tree restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.  

Although heart breaking this video helps us remember that Carmen was quite simply a beacon of love and joy.  She loved unconditionally, lived life to the fullest and has earned her fairy wings.  

"Twinkle Twinkle" our sweet baby.   We love you Carmen

video












Friday, October 19, 2012

Kauai Ohana - Celebration of Carmen's Life

To Our Kauai Ohana
We would be honored to have you with us as we celebrate Carmen Leolani White.

Wednesday October 24th
4:45pm
St. Regis Princeville Resort
"Secret Cove"

Carmen's first time swimming in the ocean was off the beach of St. Regis Princeville.  From those moments on, Carmen always felt most comfortable in the water.  

During our families time on Kauai, the beach of the St. Regis was a special spot to share a quiet sunset or a dip in the ocean after a busy day.   St. Regis Princeville brought tremendous joy to Carmen and it is only fitting that the "Tough Little Princess" is celebrated at "daddy's hotel".

As Carmen loved the color Pink, please feel free to wear pink or show pink in some way.

"Secret Cove" is to your far right as you face the ocean.  Please join us at 4:45pm.  

Following the celebration, we will gather in the Hanalei Suite (8th floor, off lobby) for light pupu's and refreshments to continue to share memories and toast Carmen's beautiful life.


Love Heather, Chris and Trevor White

Monday, October 15, 2012

Carmen's Makana (Gift)

Heather and I would like to thank everyone for your words of support and encouragement through Facebook, phone and text.   This is such an incredibly painful time for our family but we wanted you all to know that we are hearing and feeling your kind words.   Please know that Heather, Trevor and myself are surrounded by a strong group of friends and family helping us during this time.

Many of you are asking Heather and I what you can do for our family during this time.

I would like to share a story with all of you that has inspired us to express how we would like to honor our sweet baby Carmen.

Since Carmen's diagnosis, in May 2011, our family has been incredibly blessed with overwhelming support and generosity.  This support not only helped Carmen to receive the best treatment possible, it also helped to provide her with little moments of joy and delight. 

One of these acts of generosity came to our family from a person who we knew was not able to comfortably provide a gift.  Despite our best attempts to return the gift, she would not listen and said that if her support was able to make Carmen smile it was well worth it.

We cautiously accepted the gift but knew there was another purpose.

During one of Carmen's many visits to the PAU clinic to receive treatment, Heather became involved in a conversation with two Grandparents, Christine and Ben, who were the devoted primary caregivers for a young boy, named Jaeden, also fighting Leukemia.   It was clear to Heather, that Christine and Ben did not have the same level of support that we had, yet were doing everything they could to educate themselves on ways to best treat Jaeden, as well as, provide him with the best life possible.

Without hesitation, Heather sent a $300 gift to Christine and Ben with a beautiful note of encouragement.

Several months went by, when Heather received a call from Christine thanking her for the gift.  With all the mail and medical records that compile Christine was not aware that Heathers card included the gift.   Christine was searching through her files and looking over her finances trying to find ways to meet their most recent round of co-payments for Jaeden's treatment when the check from Heather fell from the card.

Our vision is to set up a small fund that we can use to provide caring, devoted families of children fighting leukemia with a makana (gift) from Carmen when they need it most.

We will lean on the incredible medical team of the Kapiolani Hospital PAU clinic to let Heather and I know when they see a family that meets this description.

Once these families become known to us we will reach out to them personally to share Carmen Leolani White's incredible journey, while providing them with a small Gift (Makana).

Our only stipulation will be that the family must strive to live, laugh and love just like Carmen did everyday of her life.

Heather and I will be focused on bringing "Carmen's Makana" to a reality.  

Everyone reading this, has already provided us with so much love, support and generosity that you should not feel that you have to do anything.   We are only sharing our vision with you because some of you are asking.

The "Paypal" feature in the blog is still active and the easiest way to participate in Carmen's Makana.   Or....send to us at our home address.  73-4686 Hina Lani Street, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

"Carmen's Makana", will perpetuate Carmen's courage for as long as we possibly can.

Love Team White



Carmen's Makana


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Carmen Leolani White - "Voice from Heaven"

Leolani
"voice from heaven"

As many of you know Carmen was born in Vancouver,  Canada.  When we chose Carmen's middle name it was to give her a piece of the beautiful island of Kauai where Heather and I met.   Never did we think this name would be so beautiful as it is today.  

Carmen baby....we hear your beautiful voice.

We are celebrating Carmen's life on Monday October 15th at Kumukea Beach
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
5:00pm

For our friends on Oahu and Kauai, we will be visiting your beautiful islands in the next two weeks to a month to continue Carmen's celebration of life.  We will let you all know the dates in the next few days.

 



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Aloha to our sweet Tough Little Princess

Yesterday morning, October 9th, Carmen's little body was unable to keep fighting.

She brought us so much joy and happiness.

She taught us what love really was.

Now it is time for her to teach someone else.

We love you Carmen with all our hearts.


Such joy.  Trying on her new Halloween Costume with her new toy Makana.  This picture was taken the afternoon of Saturday October 7th.  


You are on your wave now sweetie.  "You Got This"

 Finding joy in the simplest of things.  Teaching us to laugh and love more than we knew was possible.


Aloha our sweet baby. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer 2012

Aloha,

Wow....keeping up with this blog is proving to be harder than we had thought.   Facebook is so much easier to provide quick updates but we still want to try to keep the blog updated.

It has been a busy first summer in our new home.

We are still getting used to everything on Hawaii Island.  Finding the perfect beaches, getting the kids involved in Karate, Soccer, Ballet and swimming.

This summer also marked the beginning of Kindergarten for Carmen and pre-school for Trevor.   We are extremely happy with both schools.

Carmen's treatment continues to go well.  She has exactly 11 months left of her maintenance Chemotherapy!  This will continue to include monthly trips to Oahu for checks and Port-o-Cath flushes.  She will continue to have Sedation, Lumbar Punctures with Chemotherapy in her cerebral spinal fluid and steroid treatments every 90 days.  Her Port is not working properly right now.  It will flush but will not give any "return."  This will make for much longer days at the PAU when she receives her LP's.  They will need to do a "line study" to see where the port line is to make sure they can put medication into it.  This is done via X-Ray.  The other options are to hope it suddenly un-clots, replace it with a new one (surgery) or have her accessed with a needle in the arm vein every few months.  Unfortunately, the x-ray option seems the best solution right now.

It is hard to believe that Carmen only has to endure 4 more periods of the steroid.   Four too many for all of us but at least there is a BRIGHT light at the end of the tunnel.   All we can do now is pray that Carmen continues to stay healthy and keep up her fight so that she can maintain her protocol treatment so she may finish on time.

Trevor had his 4th birthday on July 1st.  We really wanted to make this year special for Trevor because he did not have much of a 3rd birthday.  Heather and I returned from our 30 days in Oahu with Carmen last year on June 28th, which unfortunately impacted anything we could do to celebrate T-bones big day.   We made up for it this year!!  Team White flew back to Kauai at the end of June for a 10 day vacation.  It was amazing to reunite with special friends and throw Trevor a proper birthday party with all of his buds.

Love Team White

We will have SOCCER images up next time!  Her first game is August 25th!

Below are a few images of the moment,



Carmen catching her first wave in Hanalei Bay

Carmen and Ms. Roxy


The ever smiling and joyous King Trevor


A beautiful, by special request,  Pearl Necklace


 Carmen getting acquainted with her new Kindergarten class
 

Our heart breaking with joy and sadness.   Our TLP is such a trooper.   Marching off to Kindergarten.


School doesn't know what they are in for



The glorious bounty of Kauai.  Yummy mountain apples


Back in Hanalei.


Learning Hula


The amazing Na Aina Kai Gardens.   Location for Trevor's 4th Birthday





Back with the Kauai Gang


Oh My.   How jealous am I?  I would have LOVED to have a Darth Vadar helmet like this when I was a kid.   

Darth and Leah


The Fisherman


Yes, he got his DREAM CAKE!


Carmen and Trevor at their Dojo, learning the ways of the force

Focus my eyes, Focus my mind, Focus your body.....SIR!!!!!



We took part in Relay for Life, Kona 2012.

Wow!!!  What a difference a year makes.

We love you all.

Team White





P.S.  We have had Grandma and Grandpa White visit and Auntie Kristal and Uncle Erich this year so far.  Grandma Sandy is coming in a couple of weeks!





Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 26th....A Celebration

Aloha everyone,

It is hard to believe a year has passed since Carmen's diagnosis and the first blog post.

It would be extremely easy to think about May 26th as a day we would rather forget.   Or a time to think about all the things Carmen had to go through this past year.  But we are choosing to look at May 26th differently and we hope you will too.

Yesterday, Heather and I had a chance to spend some time together, sans kiddo's, to reflect on the incredible year.  We spent the day kayaking across a beautiful Hawaiian Bay, swimming with Dolphins and snorkeling at the Captain Cook monument.  At one point, 12 Dolphins came so close to our Kayak that Heather could reach out and touch them.  Almost as if they were coming to say hello.   Seeing all that life and the beauty of our surroundings it became extremely clear to us both that May 26th is a day of celebration.   It is a day to celebrate life.  A day to Celebrate our family and a day to celebrate us.

The pure fact of the mater is we are extremely blessed with amazing love and support from our friends and family and we realize how lucky we are. 

We originally started this blog to be able to mass communicate to our family and friends during that first month when it simply was not possible to reach out to you individually.  For me, it also became a place to tell a story about Team White.

Telling the story of our entire family was very important to us because until you go through something like this it is tough to understand that when your child is sick your entire family is sick.  This is something that we are doing together every step of the way.

Trevor has been incredibly strong during this past year, enduring the craziness right along side his sister.  In many ways, Trevor has been the glue that has kept us together.  The things he says to express his love for his sister and the way he brings humor to a sad situation is well beyond his years. 
We will continue to do our best to keep you all updated through this blog and Facebook.

Happy May 26th!!!

We love all of you.

Team White


Images of the Moment







Carmen and Tucker

video

Carmen during her last trip to Oahu showing off her new bathing suit.  We do our best to make sure her trips to Oahu are full of fun and special moments so the last thing on her mind is the trip to the PAU Clinic

video

Snorkeling!!!!  Carmen and Trevor have become great swimmers.


Carmen and Trevor in their Dojo.   So cute.  
"Focus your eye's.  Focus your mind.  Focus your Body.  Sir"


Making and Eating Cupcakes


Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday Carmen!!!!!

Wow.....our sweet little princess is five years old!!!!!!

I think it is normal for any parent to have mixed feelings on the day of your child's birthday.  It is hard to believe that 5 years have passed since we were blessed with our baby girl.  Time has literally flown by.  It seems as if our little baby has become a beautiful, confident little girl over night.

I would be remiss not to mention that this particular birthday is a very special time for our family. It is impossible not to reflect back on all that has happened over the last year to our little Carmen and our family.

We have come so far and feel so incredibly blessed to be celebrating this momentous birthday with our
Tough Little Princess.

I can not believe a year has gone by since we celebrated Carmen's fourth birthday in Princeville with our amazing friends and family.   It seems like only yesterday that the wonderful Colburn family was generously performing their family luau.   

We miss all of our dear friends from Kauai and Squamish, who are so important to our family and we are happy to have met our new friends from the Island of Hawaii.   We thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts for your love and support.  

The birthday weekend was kicked off with the screening of the "Littlest Mermaid" on Friday night, which Carmen announced to her mother that she had been waiting to see the movie since she was two.  Who knew??

Saturday was party day!!!! Complete with pink decorations, pink lemonade, pink princess cake and many pink shirts and dresses.   Our dear friends Wendy and Florian were the stars of the party, especially for Heather and I, when they showed up with all the makings for incredible gourmet pizza.

Sunday April 1st, Carmen's 5th Birthday was a terrific day.   We all went to Dolphin Quest at the Hilton Waikaloa to swim with dolphins!!!!   It was such an amazing experience that only pictures will do justice.

We love you all.

Team White

Images of Moment


A terrific moment during Carmen's "Make a Wish" orientation


Crazy Blue Head


 Grandpa and General Contractor for the incredible Play House


Beautiful 5 


Princess Carmen


TC Pizza Man

Mom and Dad

Birthday sign - check.  Pink table cloth - check.  Princess dress - check.  Pink Lei - check
Cooler of beer - check!!!


Mom and Dad

Wolverines!!!!!  Paul

Princess Cake.....and......Trevor in his underwear.

Yummmy

Party time


It is a delicate balance of eating cake without disturbing the princesses.

Success


Art time

Art fun


Dolphin Quest.  Family with Pele


Pele soaking Heather.

So cool!!!

Pele

Carmen feeding Pele some yummy fish

Belly rub

Big T

Look at me Daddy!!


Have to swim with a stick under water

Carmen with Grandpa

Testing the new underwater camera.


Wendy the Pizza Fairy

Barb and Deb


Kevin, Lee, Shea and Mitch


Cheers!!!!!!