A Hawaiian Hui Hou

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I left the Big Island to travel to the mainland to see my sister who just had a baby. I am an auntie for the first time! It’s a boy: Thorston Sanderson Kozak Grosse, 9 lbs, 5 oz., given life the au natural way.

I had to say goodbye to the Big Island and the jungle for many reasons. The biggest of them all was money. While traveling full-time this year, I had to keep a keen eye on my budget and plan for when it would be time to get back to work and make more money. That time is rapidly approaching, but like I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been given the INCREDIBLE opportunity to travel the world and pick somewhere to make my home.

Another reason I left the jungle is because it was time for me to re-integrate myself into society. Though I loved my kooky little jungle family, it was becoming a drag to hitch-hike to the nearest store (while my perfectly good VW Beetle lay dormant in my parents’ driveway some 4,000 miles away) that was five miles away. The mosquitoes became ALMOST too much to bare, and I was in desperate need of my belongings de-molding.

A bamboo hut I called home for a few months

In any case, Hawaii is my home and I will be returning in a month when I’ve settle my affairs back on the mainland.

I dream of a life in Hawaii: learning more about organic farming, sustainability, getting into my body and becoming more acquainted with mother ocean.

My last day on Big Island was emotional. I spent my last afternoon basking in the Hawaiian sun at my local beach, Isaac Hale State Park, affectionately dubbed “Pohoiki” by locals because it’s right at the end of Pohoiki Road. It was almost like any other Saturday down at the beach: families having picnics together, surfers catching waves, dogs and keiki (children) running about. But then something special caught my eye.

I saw the most beautiful bamboo canoe. I was so enthralled by its size. Never had I seen such a gigantic canoe that stunned me where I stood. Usually I only see battered fishing boats and some kayaks going into the boat ramp at the beach, but this day was different.

Traditional Hawaiian canoe

I noticed there was a sea burial ceremony going on in the midst of the burrito guy selling his fish tacos and the families enjoying some fun in the sun. The services were taking place under a small tent in the middle of all the action, and after the Hawaiian priest said his blessings, it was time for the canoe to set sail and release the ashes into the mighty Pacific.

If there’s one thing I learned about Hawaiians, it’s their celebration of life. A burial service, instead of being a solemn event, its na ho‘ohiwahiwa o ho‘öla, which means celebrating life. As the canoe glided into the ocean, I watched the family members gather around the shore to say goodbye to their loved ones. They were dressed in casual but tasteful island ware and looked serene and happy.

A woman from shore says goodbye

I sat on the shore and watched 8 Hawaiian men row the canoe with the ashes out to sea. Those at the beach that day swimming and surfing took a moment to respect the life of the departed. As the canoe rowed further into the distance, people from the party let loose red roses into the water, carefully placing them down, watching the canoe row further on still.

I sat there floored. It was the most beautiful ceremony I’ve ever witnessed. Not only was it traditional with the canoe and ashes being scattered into the ocean, but the deceased was being honored amongst the living, the Hawaiians, locals and visitors all enjoying life and their Saturday together. It was such a proper last afternoon in the Big Island.

A red rose memory

I struggled leaving that day, but was an appropriate goodbye filled with much aloha. Aloha is technically a word to mean hello, goodbye and express sentiments of love, but I felt that it wasn’t goodbye, just see you later. I know many of the family members had to have felt the same way as they celebrated their loved one’s life. In Hawaiian Hui Hou means see you later. I know I will call Hawaii my home in the near future, and I hope that one day those at Pohoiki will be reunited with their beloved family member. We will all come together again later.

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2 comments on “A Hawaiian Hui Hou”

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