As you know, I live in Hawaii. But the things that I love about this place that I call home are not what you may expect. Yes, the weather is great almost every day. And who doesn't love the beach? Those may be elements that GET people to Hawaii....but most of them leave. Today I had a reminder of what has kept me calling this rock home for over 14 years. It is the people and the culture.
If you read my blog yesterday, you know that one of my former coworkers/customers was killed last week in a car wreck. I was told that she was only 24. She had red hair and pure white flawless skin. Her name was Janelle Morse and she has a little girl named Lucy who is 4 years old. When I was contacting her regarding what kind of purse she wanted me to make for her she told me that she didn't really have any hobbies but she loved cooking and organic food. She said she was often mistaken for a tourist because she was so "white"! I didn't know her well, but was deeply saddened by her death.
Today at her workplace they held a small memorial for her coworkers who wouldn't be able to attend the services in Kohala this afternoon. We all arrived at the beach and formed a tight circle so we could hear the Kahu (minister) above the lapping waves. We all just stood there on the beach and listened to the ocean as time passed. Peace...The waves coming and receding. He reminded us that with each wave there is new water that comes in and touches the shore. Every wave changes the earth that it touches if only in a small way. Oh sure there are days that big powerful waves can change the whole landscape...and we have perhaps met people like that....but Janelle was like that gentle carressing wave that came on shore but for a moment and was gone....but what she touched will forever be different because of her. I hold onto that thought.
Then we all joined hands and became one with each other...giving our own strength to the circle and letting go of our own sorrow. Following a prayer, everyone took an orchid or two from a basket and walked down to the water, said our own private words and tossed the flower into the waves. While we were doing that Nattie Whitlock sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"...the slow Bradduh IZ version. Then the Kahu lead us all in singing Aloha Oe....which the only words of that song I actually know are "Aloha Oe....Aloha Oe....until we meet again".
There are times like this that those simple rituals offer comfort and I feel blessed to have met her and to live here where we shared so much today on a small sandy beach...in Hawaii.