Aloha Oe’, Millie!


I was introduced to Millicent through another massage therapist. She knew Millicent & her family but did not feel comfortable providing bodywork to her because she had late stage ovarian cancer. I visited Millie at her home & offered to massage her feet, to which she responded with tears saying her feet hurt so badly. She apologized for the condition of her feet & toenails but I just said that everyone here in Maui has nasty feet! She chuckled with me but seemed embarrassed so instead I suggested we get a pan of warm sudsy water & just let them soak. She loved this idea & said she hadn’t been able to get in the bathtub for so long & missed just lying in warm water. As her feet soaked, I massaged her hands & then her neck & scalp. Millie purred like a kitten! This started a 2 year ritual between Millie & I, where our monthly visits were a combination of soaking (yes, gradually getting her into a bathtub again), chatting, massaging, giggling, & singing old songs. Millie said that everyone was so afraid to touch her as she became sicker but all she wanted was others to hold her. She was afraid to ask. Millie’s granddaughter, Lokelani, was the first to ask if she could sit with us… & so she learned how to massage her Tutu’s neck just the way she liked it. Next came Sam, Millie’s son & Lokelani’s father. He joined us after I massaged his shoulders one day after work & asked if he could do the same for his mother. Soon our visits transitioned to many of us around Millie’s bed which was now center-stage in the family’s living room…. all singing, laughing, & massaging one another.

The last day I saw Millie was at a nearby beach. Millie had been saying for some time that she needed to get to the ocean & so her family made it happen.   Her “boys” carried her into the ocean, cradling her in their arms, while many others joined in as always singing her songs & massaging her & one another. And, as always, Millie beamed & purred.

I was told that Millie passed one evening not long afterwards, while Sam was massaging her feet.