Kathleen Helms

Thoughts on Life and Hurricanes

In loving memory of Mike

My husband and I have attended seven memorials in the past two years. The most recent was yesterday, August 20, 2023.

The event was scheduled several weeks ago, long before anyone had ever heard of Hurricane Hilary or weather forecasters had predicted her landfall in Southern California as a powerful tropical storm.

What are the odds that the celebration of life for our good friend Mike Hoffman and Hilary’s predicted landfall would be at the exact same time?

Mike was a wonderful person. Outgoing and friendly, unbelievably kind and generous. I never heard him say a negative word about anything… ever. People like that are few and far between. We spent the last two weekends of Mike’s life with him.

The first weekend, we all attended the Meyers Manx Big Bear Buggy event. The following weekend was “Moosestock”, an annual event held at the local Moose Lodge and featuring ten bands over a two-day period. Mike was there, dressed in a bright red T-shirt, having squirt gun battles with the kids and dancing with the ladies. He was as full of life as I’ve ever seen him. The following Thursday, he was gone.

So Brett and I drove to the Moose Lodge as light rain fell from the sky and forecasters issued dire warnings.

We hoped others would show up as well, but we were far from certain. As a testament to the great love so many people have for Mike, the Lodge was filled to capacity. It was a beautiful evening of laughter, tears, stories, memories, food, and drink.

I found myself thinking that Mike would have had a great time.

Hurricane Hilary was not as destructive as predicted. Our local area saw three inches of rain in a twenty-four-hour period and wind gusts of 30-40 mph. The only damage we personally saw was four 6-foot sunflowers that tipped over. Their roots stayed intact, and I stood them back up and propped them with large rocks. My daughter lost an old tree. At least 100 people braved the possibility of torrential rains to honor a dear friend.

Hurricane Hilary arrived. Hurricane Hilary departed.

Life, for most of us, goes on.

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