121819: UPJUS Night / Afternoon

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Mele Kalikimaka UFOhana!

It’s that time of the year! What time could that be you ask?

Why Ugly PJs / Ugly Sweater / Or Not So Ugly Mele Kalikimaka Attire Night (and Afternoon) of course!

Check out the details for Friday and Saturday on our events calendar. Click https://UFOhana.org/events to view the calendar. Don’t forget to click on the specific event and RSVP a seat! Also, you may need to refresh your browser if the pictures appear all squishy.

Last Friday was Fancy Christmas Dinner at the Elks Lodge. What a fancy, fantastic dinner it was! Mahalo to Joe Tato and his Kaukau Krew for a job well done!

Charlotte raffled off two brand new Kala Ukuleles for the Elks Ukulele Music Fund and PIKOhana donated 3 Bass Kits and 5 Fancy Ukuleles to Lynnette’s Lynwood Elementary Ukulele Music Program. The UFOhana topped it off with Hawaiian Christmas Mele and Hulas. You could say it was a night full of blessings all around. Click below for album.

After an action packed night at the Elks we took it a little slower at our Saturday Kanikapila. Yes, that is our very own Madison in a Hawaiian Dress!

Some sad news, Claudia has a message regarding Carmen Lightle, a UFOhana Member who recently passed on.

Carmen was with the UFOhana from 2011, she and Claudia conspired to have the UFOhana Kanikapila at the Sleeping Lady Cafe. Little did they know what special Kanikapila that little event would turn into.

Many of our new UFOhana Members learned about us there. It was during one of the Kanikapilas she anointed me as “Del-vis” . . . she did have a sharp sense of humor! Always had to work to keep ahead of her.

Mahalo Carmen . . . Mahalo Nui Loa . . . we’ll miss you.

Carmen and her partner in Uke Claudia.

Below, the message from her husband to all UFOhana members that knew Carmen or would like to honor a fallen UFO Pilot . . .

From: Douglas Lightle
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2019, 12:32:45 PM PST
Subject: Carmen
Hi Claudia,

  • As mentioned in my text, can you please forward this to as many members of the Uke Ohana(who knew Carmen), as possible?
  • Also can you pls ask if anyone from the Ohana would consider playing at her Celebration of Life(at a date TBD in early Feb)?

Thank you!!   ‘Kindly,  doug

______________________________

Dear Cherished Friends and Family,

Ramona, Julian, & I are forever grateful for your collective outpouring of support, each in your own way, as we grieve over the loss of our amazing mother and spouse.  Carmen’s transition was beautifully perfect and every medical procedure was fully according to her every wish. And while I prefer to call to personally thank each of you and share the details of Carmen’s final week of life, time simply does not allow.

After nearly (6) years of valiantly battling rare salivary gland cancer(adenoid cystic carcinoma), Carmen did not break character.  She bravely and calmly crossed over from this life on Friday Dec 13th, at 9:33pm.  Her unwavering strong will allowed her to remain with us much longer than could a mere mortal.  You do know about her superhuman powers… right?  

‘Surrounded and held in our arms along with her eldest niece, Marissa Diaz(coincidentally a UCSF RN), and childhood friend Barbara Merrill, we reluctantly encouraged Carmen to leave her tired earth suit behind, as it could no longer sustain her.

It would be a gross understatement to say she received the best possible care during her 6-day hospital stay ICU hospitalization. Her UCSF medical team of more than (10) physicians, multiple respiratory therapists, and incredible nurses – meticulously cared for & nurtured her, all while comforting our entire family.  We are forever indebted beyond words and any amount of material value for their constant communication with us, creating a safe space for us to receive & offer detailed input pertaining to her care.

As some of you already know, I drove Carmen to ER a week ago Sunday after a night of plummeting oxygen levels and following a tough week, weary from her disease and the many side effects of her drug regimen.  But even this did not weaken her resolve – forever optimistic, bordering on denial, we both considered this was just another chapter in her cancer journey, with more chapters to follow.  However, within (5) minutes of arriving in ER, we were transferred to a large room with more electronic medical equipment that I recall having ever seen in a room at one time.  When the doctors told us that she was very sick and that the would do everything possible to help her, in accordance with her wishes – she immediately made clear exactly what she wanted.  Having a sold track record of unambiguity and not about to break form, she told the medical team that she absolutely wanted them to pull out all stops to help her remain alive, including intubation(breathing tube) if necessary, but only in order to allow them time to exhaust all medical treatments with the objective for her to not remain intubated.   And that’s exactly what her medical team did, expressing gratitude to her for so clearly stating her wishes, thus providing a road map for her course of treatment.

During the next (12) hours, she was put on a respirator which brought up her oxygen levels. However, this alone was not enough as her pulse continued to race throughout the day while her respiratory rate was at a level of someone running a marathon.  During this time, heavy doses of antibiotics and steroids were administered, in the event her respiratory distress was somehow related to inflammation from recent immunotherapy infusion or infection. A CT scan indicated significant disease progression since her most recent, October scan. 

Then at 11p Sunday, her deteriorating vital signs made intubation necessary.  Her breathing tube remained down her throat until it was removed this past Friday evening when she was allowed to pass.  During these long (5) days, every possibility other than the disease was ruled out(infection, inflammation, etc).  Along the way, her heart and lung functions were constantly  monitored and adjustments made as needed. I was frankly surprised and gratefult for the proactive level of medical care she was given, balanced with constant personal care. 

Ironically, while lying in Bed #13 on Friday the 13th, Carmen quietly crossed over.  Sharing my sometimes warped sense of humor, I believe Carmen would have appreciated the roll of the dice, landing on lucky 13. Not being particularly superstitious, I know that she went with her middle finger high in the air, pointed at any notion that the number “13” means anything. I think that’s one of the things I will miss most about her – her humor, and moreover she never stopped laughing at my stupid attempts at humor(even on that Sunday, the last day she spoke).

As mentioned, her passing was beautifully perfect in every way.  She gave our family a final gift – Julian, Ramona, and I became closer than ever during these final hours, feeling somewhat healed in our relationship.  But that’s just who Carmen is  –  I am forever grateful to her and her memory for this! 

Please find peace, as we have, knowing that Dear Carmen did NOT suffer nor experience pain during her last hours.  Following an hour of reduced sedation, we allowed her ventilator to be turned off & breathing tube removed.  For (30) minutes, she was free and unencumbered by tubes & IV’s. It was just her and us, together, as we gave her permission to exit, all the while reassuring her that we would be fine and in fact would strive to forever honor her in our pursuit of happiness and to be better humans during the time we have left.  In addition to checking in all relatives and friends having gone before us, we asked that she pass along our love to the many 4-legged family members that we have also lost over the years. Then at 9:33pm PST, Carmen so tranquilly, took her final breath here on earth.  Instantly, I felt lighter – my burden of fear, guilt, and dread lifting, knowing that she would not suffer any longer and fortunately never have to suffer to the degree many with her disease often endure.

‘Stay tuned for details re: a celebration of her life.  In order to honor Carmen in a way deserving of the HUGE life she led, we plan to hold a BIG gathering of friends and family near the 1st of February.  Everyone who wishes to pay their last respects are more than welcome and you will receive the details as soon as we have it all set.  Be forewarned  — this will not be a traditional memorial service – that’s not what Carmen wanted. It will be a joyous occasion to reflect & pay tribute to  an amazing mother, wife, artist, educator, and lover of life and good times.  ‘Bring your dancing shoes!!

Thank you for your blessed friendship – it means much, much  more that you can ever imagine during this difficult time!!

‘All of our LOVE – Doug Lightle (and Julian and Ramona)

Carmen-Ku

a shining spirit,
released from her mortal bonds,
forever strumming . . .

Please send your Aloha, Mana and comforting thoughts to Doug and Family . . .

Malama Pono Ka Kou,

-=SqL+Nohea+Jake=-

Aloha Oe Aunty Carmen . . . hele aku akā ʻaʻole poina

:EOT

2 Replies to “121819: UPJUS Night / Afternoon”

  1. I am saddened to hear of Carmen’s death. She was such a sweet woman. I can remember all the kind things she would say, comment on my posts and express her friendship and love. I will always miss her sweet smile and warmth.

  2. RE: Carmen Diaz Lightle

    Dear Cherished UFOhana Friends,

    As I understand, some members of the UFOhana would like to share their beautiful music at Carmen’s Celebration of Life. In response, let me make it clear that our family would be more than honored to have you be a part of this special event. I look forward to coordinating with Del, going forward!

    Whether performing or not, you are all invited. Please click following link for your invitation/RSVP: https://www.evite.com/event/018EVO3BVVP5RM7TUEPKICRVNP6NOM/activity?

    Carmen wanted to attend each & every Kanikapila . However, it was a simply a wish that her body could not fulfill during these past few years of her life. Please know that she is, and always was with you in Spirit… In fact, I would like to bring one her favorite Uke’s to place in a chair, perhaps with a lei when you play at her event(if you think that would be OK).
    I am forever grateful that you all came into her life… It was one of the most joyful and grounding things for her during the brief time she participated. I myself, loved dropping by the Sleeping Lady on th lazy Sat afternoons & basking in the beautiful music. Before then, I didn’t even know an electric bass uke existed… pretty cool!

    I look forward to seeing you March 1st!

    ‘Mahalo & Aloha forever,
    Doug Lightle

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