[From time to time] I have the tendency to fall off the grid.
For example? My last post was Thursday.. and itʻs Monday..
shame. on. me.
Hereʻs the thing.. Thursday night was no ordinary Thursday night for me... a full explanation and photo journey of that debacle to follow--just realize this resulted in a temporary coma until 4PM the following afternoon. ...Recouped until the next morning which commenced extra early for paddling practice and then one of my best friends Baby Shower was right after. We BBQʻd and played hilarious games, which I of course filmed and spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying each others company.
Yesterday (Sunday) I was part of a traditional Hawaiian memorial for a friend of a friend of a friend...
Have you ever seen a Hawaiian Memorial before?
Instead of dressing in black, everyone is in Aloha attire, and there is a prayer service (usually) held on the beach with family and friends, with a Kahuna leading the ceremony. The ceremony continues in the ocean as Hawaiian culture believes in giving back to nature, the ocean; our ʻaina. Much like wanting your Mom when youʻre sick, we give our bodies or ashes to her and become nā ʻaumākua. It is believed nā ʻaumākua is everywhere and is to be treated with respect as our ancestry; ie: manō (shark), honu (turtle), or moʻo (gecko/lizard/dragon) etc. who watch over and protect us--ohana.
Yesterday, we took the family out in our canoes and I was on the boat with our Kahuna, the Wife of the deceased, and their Son. We paddled out into the very alive Hawaiian Pacific Ocean and the Wind picked up. We all gathered together in our canoes and our Kahuna began Chanting another prayer... and after, everyone started releasing hundreds of flowers into the Ocean.
lauhala basket, which contained her ke aloha--her mea aloha (beloved, or loved one) ashes beautifully wrapped in a Ti Leaf Bundle (as shown). Weeping, she placed her haku lei, which decorated the bundle and placed it on her head.. she untied the Ti Leaf Bundle and said a few words. I was unexpectedly very emotional as I have experienced a lot of death in my life, and felt so much empathy for this woman, her family, and their loss. I could tell that she is a strong woman as she fought back the tears to say what she needed to say before completely breaking down and losing it.
After saying a few words, she hovered the offering over the ocean... and then: she let go.
I watched the precious package plunge into the ocean and kept my eyes on it as it quickly sank deeper and deeper into the deep blue ocean until I could see it no more. We paddled in unison, surrounded by all the flowers, and made our way back to the beach. There were times while in the boat the Wife had said some things to me, and because I canʻt remember my exact responses, I am
Here is a video of Andy Irons Hawaiian Memorial at Hanalei Bay on Kauaʻi about 4 months ago for you to see what Iʻm trying to explain.
...Back to the beach we temporarily brought our boats up so we could pay further respect to the family and friends, and say Aloha. After, we designated our crews for each boat and went back into the ocean. I immediately noticed the Daughter of the deceased in the other boat... and as we began our +/-8-9 mile paddle, one stroke at a time, it made me realize the ocean--and paddling--is therapeutic for others as well; not just me.
I am so blessed to be home... back to my ʻaina.. back to my ʻohana.. I have been a fish out of water for far too long, and I find myself recovering what Iʻve lost over the last six years one stroke at a time...