For The Love Of Hawaii

George sits on the living room couch at Hospice Hawaii’s Kailua Home, his daughter at one side and wife on the other. His other daughter has flown all the way from Vancouver, WA for this luau. His son is across the room, talking to a cousin. The room is littered with generations of his family. Outside, stacks of poi, panfuls of kalua pig, heaps of rice await hungry mouths. Freshly caught bright-red ahi, from his son-in-law, dominates a table corner. Musicians stand at the edge of the party, singing old Hawaiian songs. He listens in-between conversation, eyes closed.

Though his memory fades in and out, George looks content as he smiles at his surroundings. He has lived a long, rewarding life; now, towards the end of it, the only line to cross off on his Bucket List was his wish to be surrounded by his two greatest loves: Hawaii and his family. This is his party. This is a celebration of his life. After all, Hospice Hawaii is about living.

If you asked George, he’d tell you that Hawaii is the place that stole his heart. Born in Waimanalo, he and his family moved to the Philippines when he was just five years old. As years passed, young George never stopped dreaming of the beauty of the islands and the lively, loving culture he fell in love with. He longed to return someday and start a family of his own. So, eleven years later, he did, and brought his brother and sister. Family was his life’s greatest blessing; he wanted to be with them always.

George’s mission was to spread the Aloha Spirit. You could see it in his eyes, his smile, the way he greeted people. Working as a parking lot attendant at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, every guest he crossed paths with returned home knowing the true meaning of Aloha. Years later, some of them still remember the kind attendant who made them laugh.

George’s successes are too big to be measured by any material means. They can only be measured by the number of lives he has touched. And while this luau is a happy memory he can hold with him in his later days, it’s the kindness he’s seen from the physicians, the tireless care from the nurses, and the boundless support from the Hospice Hawaii staff this past year that have changed his life. It’s not about helping you in death. It’s about helping you in life.

“ THIS LUAU MEANT A LOT TO ME. I WAS ABLE TO SPEND TIME WITH MY LOVED ONES AND THE STAFF HERE, WHO IS NOW A PART OF MY FAMILY TOO.” -George Rosete