Multigenerational Getaway to Huntington Beach

By KÜHL Editor on July 18, 2023
4 min read

When our children matured into adults, our ability to take family trips became increasingly difficult. Potential trips had to be geared to the diverse needs of our growing family. Each family member’s situation needed to be considered. Their participation was dependent on work conflicts, school schedules, third trimester pregnancies, or the arrival of newborn babies. Covid added another layer of conflict since not everyone in our family felt comfortable traveling during the pandemic.

Traveling with Glioblastoma & Sharing with KÜHL Audience

Ira’s glioblastoma (terminal and incurable brain cancer) diagnosis in July 2020 did not stop Ira and me from traveling in the United States or abroad. For approximately two years, we participated in memorable active adventures. Many of these trips were featured on KÜHL’s Born in the Mountain site— an intensive Iceland cruise, morning hikes in St George, Utah, trekking in Israel’s diverse terrain, discovering seven coastal cities on a Spanish immersion cruise, skiing in Colorado, cruising in the Caribbean, as well as getaways to Arizona, Hawaii, and Florida. Ira was able to fully enjoy these trips since he was not saddled with any cognitive or motor skill deficits often associated with glioblastoma.

Setback—New Inoperable Tumor Detected

After a new inoperable tumor was detected in Ira’s brain in early January, Ira’s mobility was adversely affected. Left sided weaknesses created significant issues with his gait and he simultaneously lost the daily use of his left arm and hand. Just a few weeks earlier, we had skied black runs at Keystone Resort in the beginning of December and at the end of the month snorkeled and kayaked in the Caribbean. We joyfully celebrated New Year’s Eve aboard the Celebrity Edge cruise ship. The dramatic changes Ira experienced within just a couple of weeks was surreal.

Planning a Family Trip

Shortly after receiving the diagnosis of the inoperable tumor, a new round of radiation and chemotherapy commenced. Our four sons worked together to find a mutually agreeable time to celebrate life during a multigenerational getaway. Our search focused on family friendly resorts that were near mid-size airports within a two-hour flight of Denver.

I located a reasonably priced online package that bundled airfare, rental cars, ocean view accommodations, and daily breakfast. Each family unit decided on the duration of their stay. Luckily, our two youngest sons booked the same flights as us so that we could have assistance in the airports and did not need to rent a car. I also reserved a wheelchair for airport transfers and a handicap accessible room to accommodate Ira’s new mobility issues.

Huntington Beach, California

The conveniently located Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa was an excellent choice for this family getaway. The immaculate and spacious grounds included a large lagoon style heated swimming pool, a Water Playground with a couple of kid friendly waterslides, and a bridge that connected pedestrians to the adjacent public beach.

Our six grandchildren ranging in age from one to seven years old divided their time between frolicking in the heated swimming pools, building sand sculptures on the beach, collecting seashells at low tide, and scampering in the Pacific Ocean. Everyone took advantage of the hotel’s beach chairs, towels and umbrellas. The younger generation also participated in the resort’s fish feeding and s’more roasting activities. Ira was able to navigate the relatively flat terrain without any issues.

We gathered at the onsite Watertable Restaurant each morning for breakfast. The weekend buffet, along with the daily menu offered delicious and healthy food options. The buffet was free for children four and under, while the resort breakfast credit covered a bountiful selection of entrees, sides, and beverages. Each night, we sampled Southern California cuisine at nearby restaurants.

The key emphasis was on spending time together as a family. Our customary long treks and active excursions were replaced by shorter walks and sedentary outdoor options. Since walking on the beach was no longer possible for Ira, we strolled on the paved walkway running parallel to the shoreline. Countless hours were spent at either the beach or poolside. Supportive water shoes made it possible for Ira to take a dip into the swimming pool.

After driving a short distance, we found our way to the Huntington Beach Pier to watch surfers of varying abilities ride the waves. On another day, we took advantage of a handicap accessible walkway near The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel, to walk to the shoreline. This is a wonderful perk for people who walk with a cane or walker or require a wheelchair.

Ira’s inability to participate in his usual activities did not stop us from celebrating life. Our precious time together offered an abundance of opportunities to snap images of our family enjoying simple activities.

The Importance of Embracing Life

Ira’s incurable brain cancer diagnosis has made us reevaluate the optimal way to spend our days at home and on the road. Since we agree with Og Mandino who stated, “The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories,” we hosted many gatherings in our Colorado home.

Our spring multigenerational getaway was the first time in decades that the whole family celebrated at an out-of-state destination. The extended time together provided numerous back-to-back opportunities for our grandchildren to play and eat together in a sunny, beach location. Ira and I loved our respite from our day-to-day life and recommend that others facing a terminal diagnosis find ways to remain active for as long as possible.

When Sandy Bornstein isn’t trekking in Colorado or writing, she's traveling with her husband Ira. After living as an international teacher in Bangalore, India, Sandy published an award-winning book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, as a resource for people contemplating an expat lifestyle and living outside their comfort zone. Among other things, Sandy writes about family, intergenerational, and active midlife adventures highlighting land and water experiences.

KÜHL Editor
KÜHL Editor


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