Aloha 'Oe, Kami

It wasn't a sad gathering, although the occasion of it brought more sorrow to all attending than could be spoken... The music that played as the wind rustled the palms and scattered the delicate scent of plumeria was Hawaiian - gentle tunes of slack-key guitar sounding like tradewinds, singing of beauty and life and love... A Hawaiian funeral is a long affair, and though there are tears, there is also laughter... It is the essence of Aloha 'Oe, "Farewell to Thee", a celebration of a life and a sweet, lingering goodbye - as all goodbyes on these islands are... And remember, that aloha has more than one meaning - it is not only farewell, but welcome and deepest love... And though I was incredibly sad to lose this man I admired so well, I couldn't help but smile, because it was exactly what he would have wanted - a gathering of relatives and friends coming together as ohana (family) to bid him goodbye with music, and food, and laughter... I did cry, though... Out under the plumeria trees I sat and wept bitter tears alone, tears shared only with him...

The funeral began with the viewing and the mass, with all the usual things one might expect, and some distinctly Hawaiian additions... All were encouraged to eat and drink and "talk story" throughout the proceedings, and various relatives came up to sing and play their music for him... The prayers were in Hawaiian and the dress code was as well - bright and colourful muumuu's for the women and stylish "aloha" shirts for the men... All wore leis, some of pikake and ginger, some of maile and kukui nut... It was beautiful, and while solemn, it was also the most casual funerary mass I've every experienced... And it made it easier to say goodbye, because it was *not* treated like an occasion of sorrow...

It continued the next day with a luau in his honour, with much feasting and laughter and stories we remembered about him... This lasted well into the night, and the young cousins held an impromptu surfing contest, showing off all the skills and tricks "Uncle" had taught them... The next day after there was the scattering of half the ashes, taken out on a Hawaiian "catamaran" style craft... Again, songs were sung and flowers scattered on the waves, including the yellow-green dendrobium orchids he loved so well... The children and the younger adults also took a swim, their last one with him, who taught them all how to live in the waves... The day after that, the remaining ashes were urned and interred in a lovely mausoleum and the last goodbyes were said...

I, too, have said my last goodbyes... But my heart still lingers there, the sweetness of orchids in each breath I take, the sound of the waves against a wooden twin hull, and Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u singing in my heart...

Ku'u Home o Kahalu'u
(My Home of Kahalu'u)
Written by Jerry Santos ©1976

I remember days when we were younger
We used to catch o'opu in the mountain streams
Round the Ko'olau hills we'd ride on horseback
So long ago it seems it was a dream

Last night I dreamt I was returning
And my heart called out to you
But I fear you won't be like I left you
Me ke aloha ku'u home o Kahalu'u

I remember days when we were wiser
When our world was small enough for dreams
And you have lingered there my sister
And I no longer can it seems

Last night I dreamt I was returning
And my heart called out to you
But I fear I am not as I left you
Me ke aloha ku'u home o Kahalu'u

Change is a strange thing
It cannot be denied
It can help you find yourself
Or make you lose your pride
Move with it slowly
As on the road we go
Please do not hold on to me
We all must go alone

I remember days when we were smiling
When we laughed and sang the whole night long
And I will greet you as I find you
With the sharing of a brand new song

Last night I dreamt I was returning
And my heart called out to you
To please accept me as you'll find me
Me ke aloha ku'u home o Kahalu'u
Me ke aloha ku'u home o Kahalu'u
Me ke aloha ku'u home o Kahalu'u

3 Responses
  1. Heather Says:

    (((((((((((('Lia)))))))))) I'm thinking of you. Welcome back, you were missed.
    oxox. ♥

  2. Charley Says:

    Welcome back. As heather said, you have been missed, and i am glad to see some closure from your trip. However much an ending for him, you found the right ending for the two of you - a good thing.
    Be well,

  3. Charles Says:

    Glad your back. I think that all funerals should be like that one. Positive, reflecting on the postives rather, the impact a love one made in there family members lives, rather than the fact that the person is gone.

    Keep him in your heart.