Lifetime Lessons Of A Loving Mom

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - July 14, 2010

My mom grew up in the Philippines, the daughter of a Lutheran minister and a Scottish nurse. As the eldest daughter, as in most families, she was charged with taking care of her five younger sisters. Growing up in the PI in the 1940s and ‘50s was a daunting challenge, especially for a young woman. Old traditions die hard, and the male-dominated society must have frustrated such an erudite and determined Dorothy Jane.

Although she had a dream of one day becoming a doctor, reality dictated that she conform to duty and marriage. With her new husband in tow, Dorothy relocated to Chicago to join family that had already become established. At the young age of 19, Dorothy gave birth to a son, and later in 1965 she delivered a daughter, whom she named Stacey. Now living in small-town Indiana, Dorothy took the challenge of being an Asian woman overcoming stereotypes and prejudice straight on and created a life for herself and her two children.

I recall Mom working constantly. It was necessary to provide basic necessities. As the father of two young kids, a boy and a girl, I have grown to considerably appreciate all that Mom had to endure to keep us together as a family. It takes courage and perseverance, and Mom certainly had an abundance of both.

We were not rich by any means. But we didn’t know it thanks to a time when you didn’t need the latest fashion or video game. As kids, we were rich with the outdoors and neighborhood friends. It wasn’t unusual for us to leave the house early in the morning and not come home until after dark. Mom would encourage us to do new things - just don’t disobey her. Let me just say that if I came home and heard Mom say, “Richard David, I have a bone to pick with you,” I would walk straight to my room, pack a suitcase and head to the Greyhound station. Mom could be tough, but she was fair, too.

As time went on, I came to Hawaii and Mom retired after so many years of hard work. Along with the only dad I ever knew and her husband of nearly 30 years, Tim, she transitioned from running businesses to cultivating beautiful flowers, shrubbery and her beloved woods right in back of the house. Mom loved animals, whether they were hers or not. Mom would feed feral kittens, wild turkeys and the occasional in-law, and they would all keep coming back for more.

In 2001, Mom would join me on my KHVH radio program for “Mondays with Mom.” Our 30-minute segment was wildly popular and it showcased Mom at her very best. She had a forum to share her wonderful life experiences and deliver her insightful commentary on issues ranging from immigration policy to pop stars’ latest hits. Her intelligence, rapier wit and common sense approach to life endeared her to so many.

In late May, Mom was rushed to the hospital with acute liver failure. She struggled with a deep coma, then emerged and then succumbed again. Ultimately, this once lively, exuberant and vivacious woman was relegated to a hospital bed and machinery. It all proved to be too overwhelming.

Dorothy Jane Carino, 68, of Caledonia, Mich., passed away in the early hours of July 4. It is not lost on me that she left on Independence Day.

I can’t express in words just how much Mom meant to me, nor can I adequately describe just how many lives she touched. She personified grace, selflessness, resolve, loyalty and, ultimately, humanity at its very best. I’ll miss her immensely, but I will always know that she will be right here, inspiring me to be the absolute best husband, father and man I can be.

If not, I’m sure she’ll have a bone to pick with me.

Aloha, Mom. I love you.

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