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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kaholo...


I first met Aunty Alice Ululani Kaholo Greenwood almost 20 years ago.  There was a landslide at Waimea Valley and rocks came down onto the main road that passes famous Waimea Bay. There were road closures and burials were impacted up on the cliffs above the road. Alice helped, along with other 'ohana from the area, with protecting the ancestral remains. We became good friends. She started working on genealogies for her, and other 'ohana, when suddenly her significant other passed away. 

I remember early on, being at a contentious meeting at night in Wai'anae regarding burials. When it was over, it was late, almost 11:00 p.m. and we were all exhausted. I had a long drive back home and was exhausted and emotionally spent. Aunty Alice came up to me in the parking lot and I hugged her. She then asked if she could pray for me. I gladly said yes. She then put her hands on top of my bald head and began praying, and ran her hands down the sides of my face, then back up again, and over and over. I was all sweaty from the heat and slightly embarrassed that she was covering her hands with my sweat as she prayed for me. When she finished, we embraced and I squeezed her hard in humble appreciation for the Love she had just shown me. I never forgot that night and moment. 

She was appointed to the O'ahu Island Burial Council to help decide treatment of the ancestral human remains which are encountered every year through development projects or natural erosion. She also had adopted her partners nephew, young Makali'i. She and other elders in Wai'anae began to fight an industrial park which was close to a stream that could disperse contaminants to not only the environment, but to nearby school children. 

She also was fighting to protect the demi-god Maui at 'Ulehawa, where his mother, Hina, had her cave, where Maui sought to snare the sun with the legendary fishook, Mānaiakalani. Early in the morning, when the Sun was rising, three mountain ranges at 'Ulehawa lined up and the prone profile of Maui could be seen, head, chest, torso and legs. Shortly thereafter, in the midst of fighting these battles, the rent in her house went up and she couldn't afford it, nor a new place. She ended up houseless and moved to Ma'ili Beach Park. 

She was concerned about all of her boxes of historical and genealogical documents and where they would end up. I remember visiting her at Ma'ili and bringing her and Makali'i supplies when I could. She became a fierce advocate for the houseless at the park, and all the while trying to survive there, still fighting to protect Maui and his mother's cave. She lamented about an older woman with cancer who was too weak to get out of her tent to get food and take care of herself. She had so many stories, but overall, the tent village was a place where people looked out for, and helped each other. 

Alice attended her O'ahu Island Burial Council meetings when she could, despite being houseless and so far away from the meeting venue, and constantly battling severe spinal and back problems that debilitated her at times. Here she was, a Governor appointed Council member volunteering her services while struggling immensely just to survive.

She used to tell me sometimes her car was on the verge of breaking down, making all kinds of noises, and steam emptying the radiator, so little gas, but somehow, by the Grace of God, she would make it to where she needed to go. She prayed and her prayers were answered she always said. 

She eventually moved into a homeless shelter project where she stayed with Makali'i. She continued her advocacy for years eventually working her way back to a rental unit. When we would run into each other, it was always a Beautiful reunion. We hugged and squeezed each other. I always made sure I told her how much I Loved her.

She also showed me a place in Wai'anae where she said she saw a little Menehune. She showed me the exact spot, in a grassy area at the foot of a mountain, describing the whole encounter of this tiny person in detail. I never doubted her. She was gifted the Blessing of seeing the Divine, a Spiritual Being that momentarily crossed over from their Dimension to ours, to let Aunty Alice bear witness.

I was so saddened to hear that she just passed away after a battle with cancer. I hadn't heard anything about her illness, and would have so wanted to spend precious time with her in hospice, lifting her Spirits as she so often did mine. Bringing her Love and Comfort, whatever I could have contributed to those fleeting moments at the end of Life.

 I am grateful, however, that every opportunity we had together, was Beautiful, with Love, Laughter, Tears, and Hugs. Aunty Alice had a hard upbringing, and a hard life. I never heard her complain however. She tried hard to make a difference for others, especially our kanaka and Lāhui.  She earned her Eternal Rest, in Love, Peace and Light. 

I so look forward to seeing her again. Love you Aunty Alice. I can't imagine how many thousands of lives you touched in your Life. I know you Touched Mine. Thank You...

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