Soul Renewal

June 18, 2009

Chole often said she believed that the ocean still ran through our veins and that we needed to return to the ocean periodically to become re-energized and our “soul renewed” as human beings.  It was certainly one of the reasons we made several pilgramiges to the coast each year at her behest. 

And each year in September we would meet with very special friends on the Central Coast. We did that for over 30 years to renew friendships and to experience the uplifting of our souls through the special bonds of a long family friendship.

Yesterday Howard Joseph, Isaac, Alicia, Emma, Sophia and I made a pilgrimage to Monterey Bay and the Aquarium, this time at little Sophia’s behest.  It was a renewal of our family’s energy and our souls as Chole promised.

Last week was Sophia’s 5th Birthday and she had requested a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the ocean to celebrate and to mark her attainment of this very special age.  Unfortunately, that celebration needed to be postponed.  But on the spur of the moment yesterday we decided to fulfil what we perceived as Sophia’s request to go to pay a visit to the seashore.

On the way back from Monterey, I asked Sophia what she enjoyed most about the trip. She said it was playing on the beach the previous evening after we had enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner on Cannery Row.   The joy she showed running on the beach and rolling in the sand making her “sand angels” was a beautiful site that contributed to my renewal and to some healing for our family.  I know that Chole would want that for us all.  She and Sophia knew where we needed to go at this time. 

Thanks, Sophia.

Howard Lee


6 Responses to “Soul Renewal”

  1. Our Computer is old and very sensitive. Recently I have had difficulty bringing up the blog, but today the computer and I are having a good day. I have caught up on all of the entries, and I am so touched and feel so in touch with Chole. Both Gary and I are looking forward so much to gathering with everyone and to celebrate this wonderful life we were so priviledged to be a part of, and in our being together ease the pain of how much we are missing her. Love to all! Judy

  2. Dear Howard,

    Yesterday while putting together our memories of Chole for her service on Monday, I read your “Soul Renewal” entry to Rhea over the phone. We were both sobbing out loud. For me, those salty tears did two things. They signaled another reminder of her loss, yet, more importantly, that ocean of tears symbolized the bathing and healing of my hurt. Chole loved the sea and your trip and the written reflections of going back to the source of her renewal served to remind me of all the wonderful conversations and fun times we had together. It also made me feel as though Chole was close by once again and showing us how to heal. Thanks for helping us through this time.

  3. Roy Hagar Says:

    I haven’t checked the blog for weeks, so I didn’t know about Chole’s death until your sister phoned and left a message with my sister Marilyn. We, too, are in the midst of a family crisis, though of an older generation. My mom is in rehab at 93, recovering from an osteoporosis-caused broken femur. I was at Marilyn’s getting furniture for my dad because they are having to move away from Mendocino because of Mom’s injury. Then Marilyn left me a voicemail on my cell phone as I was driving back to Santa Rosa today saying that she’d heard from Judy that Chole had passed away. I was feeling bad for not checking the blog, but when I did check tonight, Susan and I read all the posts leading up to today’s.

    All I can say is that you all were so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful person in your lives for so long. Also, the strength of your family is truly amazing. Taking your granddaughter to the Aquarium and on the beach was a wonderful thing to do. I understand the repeated tightening in the chest which comes after loss. Susan’s mother Jane, for whom Susan and I were principal caregivers, died last July, and we still miss her very much. We’re just now planning a family get-together down in southern California on the one-year anniversary of her death.

    It sounds like Chole’s memorial is going to be a large gathering, so I hope we get to see you. Susan and I are planning to attend. All love to you Howard and to your sons and their families. Hope we get to meet them Monday as well. We still have the little ceramic bear you and Chole brought us when you stayed here in Pope Valley not so long ago. We’re reminded of that time with you both every time we check out that smiling little guy in our front yard. So thanks for that, too.


    • howardfresno Says:

      Roy Thank you for your kind thoughts. The weekend Chole and I spent with you and Susan was a memory piece we talked about often between each other and with friends. The boys and I am looking forward to spending sometime with you and Susan on Monday. Thank you for coming at this time. Take Care Howard

  4. Lydia Avina Drayer Says:

    My guys were out at soccer practice the other night and I took the opportunity to have a good solid cry. In the middle of it I realized I was scaring our puppies and tried to stop but just couldn’t. Then my cell phone chimed and a there was a text message from Emma Rose, saying that she was at the beach and that she loved me. My soul was renewed by your visit to the beach too, Howard.

  5. What a perfect escape.

    My favorite moment was had while walking back to the hotel with Emma on my shoulders. After having a great dinner at a beautiful restaurant, laughing until my stomach hurt on the beach, and walking along the historic Cannery Row in Monterey, that sad/I-can’t-breath kinda feeling started to come back.

    Just then, as I was walking next to my dad, holding Emma’s legs against my chest, I heard Emma say in the softest voice above my head, “I miss Abu”.

    At a time like this, regardless of our ages or individual relationships and connections to my mom, I think that we are all kindred in this sense of loss. As we learn to manage the sudden heaviness in hearts, I know that my mom is happy that we are together, supporting each other, sharing a few laughs and maybe even a few tears, but doing it all together.

    Howard Joseph

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