The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Friends, Family, Laughter, and a Luau

Hello Friends and Family!

WOW, what a whirlwind 10 days we spent in California! There was much to enjoy and take care of, and I think we accomplished it all! From the necessary things: doctors and financial plans; to the fun perks of visiting with friends and out of town family; the difficult: taking care of my mom's funeral wishes, to the most enjoyable: a "Celebration of Life Luau!" Let's focus on the positive and fun...the LUAU!

We were blessed with friends and family both locally in Red Bluff, and those that travelled from many miles away. My mom's dear friend Georgia flew in from Newport Beach, and we so enjoyed getting to catch up with her! She and my mom taught together over 30 years ago, and Georgia was my 3rd grade teacher back in 1973! She was my inspiration for wanting to become a 3rd grade teacher, as my year in her class was pure magic! Every element of learning was a magical journey, and I fondly recall so many details! It was wonderful to have her spend the week with my mom and share in this special celebration!

My Aunts Sylvia and Beth, Uncles Jerry and Edward, Cousin Mike and his family, all flew in to be a part of the day with us! Our friends the Wileys drove up from the bay area, and our friends the Lempko's and Ross' drove in from Sacramento. We had childhood friends in attendance; thank you Kim, Warren, Jim, Troi, Lee, Kelly and Todd! My mom had friends from all of her many organizations, church, neighbors, teacher friends from Antelope School, and friends of my dad's from the sherrif's department and the airport were all present!

Now, let me tell you what my sister in law Cindy spearheaded with the help of many wonderful people; the Luau Ladies! Thank you Cindy, Annette, Melanie, Beverly, Sherry, and Shellie! A bit of the Hawaiian islands truly came to Red Bluff on a very rainy, windy, and blustery day! Upon walking into the hall, we could hear Hawaiian music playing as a lush tropical paradise awaited our arrival! A big tent was set up with grass skirting and palm trees where my mom passed out leis to each guest who arrived. Upon entering, guests saw a sea of bamboo palm trees with colorful hibiscus flowers on each table. Big Kahunas, Tiki huts, and fresh palms lined the walls. Fresh Hawaiian ginger, bird of paradise, and orchid arrangements adorned each food and memory table. Fresh orchid leis were ordered especially for us to wear; thank you Kay and Linda!

There were two memory tables with memorabilia from my mom's life growing up in Hawaii, beautiful and delicious cakes were lovingly baked and prepared by my mom's friend Barbara, and were surrounded with antheriums and hibiscus. Authentic Hawaiian foods were prepared from scratch with researched recipes that were absolutely delicious! Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma sisters, and all those involved in preparing all the fantastic pork, chicken, haupia, salads, rice, rolls, etc... and for slaving away in the kitchen through-out the entire party! Special thanks to Melanie Hoskins for organizing this huge job of preparing all the meats! Thank you to Danny and Dianne from "The Big Picture~Custom Framing" in Red Bluff, for graciously rearranging your schedule to photograph the event!

My mom was just in awe of the entire celebration which included two sets of authentic Hawaiian dancers, all her favorite foods, some of which were prepared especially for her to enjoy, such as poi! Her friends Annette and Sherry gathered all the photos for a moving video tribute, and the entire event couldn't have been more perfect or more celebratory! It was truly a "celebration of life" that honored my mother, and what her life has meant to everyone there!

Special thanks to the Null Family for hosting two BIG meals for our family, for setting up, cleaning up, entertaining kids, cooking, drilling holes in pineapples, working throughout the night, and more! Thank you to my in laws; the Koffords, Ragans, and Clelands who cooked, decorated, spent hours cutting fruit, preparing centerpieces, cleaning up, etc...etc... How can I ever thank you enough for doing all of this for my mom?!? I love you all!

SPECIAL gratitude goes out to my sister in law Cindy, who rescued me from being overwhelmed, and took the reins of organizing all the facets of this awesome event! Cindy drove all over the state looking for just the right elements for the party, researched tirelessly, shopped, purchased, returned, and researched more for everything to be just "perfect!" She organized entertainment, and created the massive pineapple palm centerpieces, bamboo palm centerpieces, and was the 'mastermind' behind many of the details throughout the event. We had said that she basically had a month to pull off a "reception" for over 200 people! It all could not have been possible without the help of all the Luau Ladies committee, the many friends, family, and organizations that assisted!

On behalf of both my mother and myself, we thank you for giving my mom one of the final wishes she has had since learning of her disease and prognosis...that of sharing time with each person she cares about, and to have the opporunity to tell each person who attended, "Thank you" for being a part of her life! Mahalo!


Anonymous said...

Thank you and the "Luau Ladies" for a wonderful celebration.It was fantastic, delicious,and beautiful. Your Mom looked so happy. It was a very special day, not only for her but for all of us.
Susie C.

Anonymous said...


I must agree with Susie. Your mom looked very happy. And to everyone that was involved to pull together the awesome celebration, thank you!


Kim said...

What a FUN day! And yes, Lorraine looked wonderful!!! It was exciting to see everyone working hard together, and having a great time, too! It was beautiful, Denise! Thank you again. Please pass along a huge thank you to everyone who made it an amazing day.
love, kim l.

p.s. To Kim Faires, it was nice to meet you that day!