"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

November 19, 2010

Uncle Ula

We took a quick trip to Hawaii this weekend.  I know it sounds like fun, but it wasn't a vacation...we were going to get Uncle Ula to bring him back to Salt Lake.  Uncle Ula is Ova's mom's little brother....he's the uncle that always did everything for everyone.  He's sick right now, like really really bad sick...but just a few years ago, he was livin' the life!   Let me tell you a little bit about Uncle Ula....

The first time I met him was 8 years ago, Ova and I had just gotten married and we honeymooned in Hawaii.  Since we were newlyweds and broke, we actually stayed with Uncle Ula.  We were there for over a week.  I know it sounds crazy to spend your honeymoon at someone's house, but it wasn't weird at all.  Uncle Ula is such a kind-hearted man and he gave us a room in his house and then pretty much left us alone to do our own thing while we were there.  I remember him always joking around making us laugh with all his stories and jokes.  That was the first time I'd met him, but I was so comfortable with him, and being at his house.  Every morning when we woke up we would spend a little time with him, just talking and laughing before we headed off site-seeing or swimming.  We ate breakfast together every morning, usually at some nice restaurant.  He knew all the hot spots and all the places with good food and he was always excited to take us.

He was doing really well out there in Hawaii.  He managed a couple beach front properties in Lanikai....I'm talking million dollar homes.  One of the homes was owned by Paul Mitchell, it was HUGE!  Since it was Paul Mitchell's vacation home, he usually only stayed there like once a year.  Uncle Ula kept up the maintenance on the yard and inside the home throughout the year while Paul Mitchell wasn't staying there.  He rented the house out to people who came into town....for like $5000 a night....and Uncle Ula and his sister Lavi would cook and clean for them so it was like they were staying in a 5-star resort with their own private beach.....they got paid very well!   The Paul Mitchell estate was the largest, but he took care of several beach front properties on that street.  Ova and I were lucky because there were a couple times that he actually let us stay at one of the houses, if nobody was renting it out for that night.  We felt rich for a minute staying in those HUGE houses...swimming in the private pool, or in the private beach.....hahaha.  Uncle Ula would come and check on us and bring us food or anything we wanted.  He is such a kind hearted, loving and giving man.  I love Uncle Ula!  Obviously, since not everybody can afford to pay $5000 a night to stay somewhere, he got to meet and work with several celebrities and they all loved him because of his fun personality.  One of his favorite people that would stay at the property was Adam Sandler....if you can image his personality and sense of humor.....Uncle Ula was the same!  Those two actually became really good friends and it's funny because in the movie 50 First Dates (with Drew Berrymore) Adam Sandler actually named the crazy friend's character Ula, after Uncle Ula.

We've gone to Hawaii several times since our honeymoon.....alone and with our kids, and we always know we have a place to stay with Uncle Ula.

A few years ago, Uncle Ula got sick.  When he went to the doctor they did a bunch of tests, scans, MRI's....and what they found was not good.  He had a tumor growing inside his brain.  Luckily it was not cancerous, but unfortunately it was big and right in the middle of his brain on the top of his head where it is very hard to operate.  Uncle Ula's health deteriorated so fast after the diagnosis.  Because he was blessed in life with a lot of friends, and a lot of wealthy friends, he was flown from Hawaii to Los Angeles to have a surgery performed to remove the tumor.  His wealthy friends fronted the whole bill and they sent him all the was to LA because they only wanted the best for their friend.  That operation was a couple years ago.  He did ok for a little while after, but because of the location of the tumor and how big and deep it was, they weren't able to get it all out.  It has grown back and is taking over his life. 

I haven't seen him for a while.....and I was excited that we would get to go and help bring him home to Utah.  (thank goodness for free flights and my non-rev benefits!)  He had gotten so bad that they actually thought he was going to die.  All his sisters flew out here to be with him.  Luckily he pulled through.  Ova and I knew he was sick, but I don't think we understood what we were going to see once we got to him.  It broke my heart!  Uncle Ula has become completely immobilized by this tumor.  He can't talk, he can't walk, he can't move.....he's completely handicap and has to be supervised 24/7.  He's so so so skinny, it made me so sad.  I stood there and cried for like an hour at the head of his bed while Ova rubbed his hand and talked to him.  He can hear, he remembered us....but he couldn't talk.  Several times while Ova was talking to him he would make a crying face....scrunch up his nose and forehead.....that's how we knew he remembered us.  But no sounds came out of his mouth, and no tears.  I can't believe how bad he is.  It is so sad!

Ova's mom flew out to Hawaii 3 weeks ago, when he had that big scare.  She's been out there ever since taking care of him.  She makes him breakfast every morning, gives him his meds, feeds him.  Does the same thing for lunch and dinner.  Every day all day she's been taking care of her brother.  One of his nephews comes everyday to give him a bath.  He can't do anything by himself anymore.  All his sisters talked and decided it would be better if we moved him to Utah....at least until he gets better, because there are so many of us in Utah to take care of him.  Aunty Lavi is the only one in Hawaii and it's too much for her.....especially because he needs someone with him 24/7.....and she's now running all those properties by herself.   It's the best idea for everyone.

So there you have it.  Ova will be bringing Uncle Ula home tomorrow night and between the love and care of all his sisters and brothers in Utah, hopefully he'll get better and be able to get some of his life back.

We love you Uncle Ula!!


The face he kept making when Ova would talk to him....he remembered us!

11 comments:

Fred and Shenna said...

I LOVE 50 First Dates and that was a touching story you mentioned...very cool! Ü Your Uncle Ula sounds like an amazing person. Our heart goes out to your family and hope your uncle gets better. :)

ANNA BANANA said...

OMG Monica that is soo sad! :( I can't even imagine when my parents get older and when their health deteriorates..I love this blog, it was so well written. He sounds like he was an AMAZING and BLESSED man! I'm glad he got to make such an impact on others lives. It would make me feel better to leave this earth knowing I made an impact like he has on so many. My heart is with you and your family in taking care of him. You're such a sweet spirit, love ya :)

Kassie said...

Okay, first off.. I LOVE the shirt Uncle Ula is wearing.. haha shows a little of his character.. a hot girl in a bikini :) I love this blog, what a nice way to honor him. I pray he isn't in too much pain. What a loving family you all are... xoxo

sounds like an amazing man with an amazing heart...

F-A-N-G-U-P-O said...

Thanks you guys....you are so sweet!

Kass...I think it's so funny that you noticed his shirt....you're right, it totally is his personality....Ova and I were joking about it right when we saw him!

MARCIA said...

Love Uncle Ula's shirt! Monica this post is so touching. I pray that your Uncle Ula gets better. I love your sweet memories of him. Thanks for sharing.

Ane said...

Awe, that is too sad! I really hate cancer! Our love and prayers for Uncle Ula. I don't think I have met him yet. I love your mom in law she is so sweet! Lots of love, prayers and best wishes to you Monica and your family!

IONGI FAMILY said...

great post Mon!!! I too love the shirt lol

tomakazi said...

I worked with Ula about 25 years ago, building houses in Hawaii. I havent seen him in 22 years, but I think about him all the time. we had a lot of wild times back then!!! from the time when he shot 3 finger together with a nailgun, teaching me how to suck the brains out of a BBQed fish, saving me from getting my ass kicked more than once and the time when him and Timmy gave me my nickname "Tomakazi" after drinking way too many kamekazis!! a nickname that everyone knows me by still!!! Most of all Ula taught me about being a true friend. I am definitely a better person because of him. I wish him well and hope to see him someday!! If there's anything I can do to help, let me know.

tomakazi said...

Ula and I worked together about 25 years ago, building houses in Hawaii. I haven't talked to him in over 22 years, but i think about him all the time! we had some wild times together, from the time when he shot 3 fingers together with a nailgun, him teaching me how to suck out the brains of a BBQed fish, saving me from getting my ass kicked, him and Timmy giving me my nickname "Tomakazi" (which everyone know me by) and many many more. Most of all Ula taught me how to be a good friend by being one himself!! I definitely am a better person because of Ula!! I wish him well, and hope to see him someday. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

Aloha

tomakazi@live.com

tomakazi said...

Ula and I worked together about 25 years ago, building houses in Hawaii. I haven't talked to him in over 22 years, but i think about him all the time! we had some wild times together, from the time when he shot 3 fingers together with a nailgun, him teaching me how to suck out the brains of a BBQed fish, saving me from getting my ass kicked, him and Timmy giving me my nickname "Tomakazi" (which everyone know me by) and many many more. Most of all Ula taught me how to be a good friend by being one himself!! I definitely am a better person because of Ula!! I wish him well, and hope to see him someday. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

Aloha

tomakazi@live.com

Ray said...

Back in the 70's I was friends with not only Ula,Sione also.Ula was a mentor to alot of kids. He was always smiling. A great person to hang around. My heart goes out to him and entire family. That is awfully cool about 50 First Dates and using Ula's name in the movie. May God Bless and keep him by his side.