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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ka Hali'a Aloha...


I had to visit Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa with my son Elliott several weeks ago.

I showed him the burial platform placed in the piko, or center, of the compound. It was the mid-1990's when the center was being constructed and Haunani Kay-Trask facilitated the ability for several dozen sets of iwi kūpuna, or ancestral remains, to be interred at the Center and a pōhaku platform built. 

Professor Trask eventually served on the O'ahu Island Burial Council years later and we held several important Council meetings there at the Center where the ancestors slept.

I shared with him about the night of the reinterment. It was one of my first large ceremonies to kanu the ancestors that I had participated in and memorable. I remember as we stood silent in the darkness, passing the pū'olu, the bundles, the 'eke lauhala, the hala leaf woven baskets and kapa wrapped bones of our ancestors, one-by-one, halihali kūpuna, to be placed in the crypt. 

Hawaiian Studies Professor Kanalu Young was their, in his wheelchair. The rains of Mānoa poured that night. In sorrowful expressions of undying Love. We were all soaked. As the rain fell, Kanalu chanted into the night. A guttural sorrowful lamenting chant. 

I let the tears cascade, intermixing with the cleansing Healing rains. Hidden in the shadows and folds of my soaked kīhei, my shoulder cloak, in the wet blackness of that night. It is my most Powerful memory of Kanalu who passed away a little over ten-years after that night and joined these Ancestors. I vividly remember bending down to embrace him, the warmth of our bodies amidst the cold raid soaked clothes, and just crying together while we hugged. 

I let Elliott know that he can pay his respects to the ancestors whenever there. Talk with them. Let them know that they are not forgotten. Nor their many hardships and sacrifices. 

Last week, Elliott wasn't feeling well and asked me to come see him at night at his UH Dorm to pray for him. When I parked the car and he entered, he was really in pain. Weak. Feverish. Hurting all over. In tears. He had a hula hō'ike, or show, two-days later, an important exam the next day, and Merrie Monarch was quickly approaching. To be seriously sick now would be devastating. I was so worried about him. He was worried it was the flu.

As we sat in the car, I massaged his arms and hands, which hurt from the tightened muscles and added stress, worry and fear. He cringed in pain with each squeeze. I reassured him that we would get him Healed.

I grasped his hand in mine, and as college students passed us by in the dark, coming and going from their dorms, we Prayed together hard, unbeknownst to the World around us. 

I prayed hard, genuinely, clearly, humbly, and passionately, summoning all the Faith I could muster. Right when I finished the prayer, and we said "Amen", the wind came from the valley and shook the car heavily for a few tense moments. 

We looked at each other, and I smiled, and said, "Did you feel that?"

Elliott said "Yes..."

I said, "What a Beautiful ho'ailona, a Divine Sign of affirmation that our Prayer was heard. I reminded him that his ancestor was named George Kahale'awapuhioKa'ahumanuiukaoMānoa Huddy, or "The Ginger House of Ka'ahumanu in the uplands of Mānoa." 

I then shared a short mo'olelo, or story with him, about some friends that were visiting Kawaiaha'o Church one night to pay respects to the hundreds of iwi kūpuna that were displaced during excavations for a new church center and which are still awaiting disposition. 

I shared about how King William Charles Lunalilo appeared by his Royal Crypt that night, and how a warm wind came down Nu'uanu Valley and enveloped the small group standing outside his burial fence, and how King Lunalilo, in addition to speaking about care of the iwi, also shared that the wind was his Hā, or Breath, giving the group the strength to do what was right in taking care of the displaced iwi kūpuna.

I let Elliott know that the wind gust that shook our car from Mānoa was the same Divine Breath. He left still weak and in pain, but feeling better about his chances for recovery.

Elliott recovered really quickly. He took his exam. He performed at his hō'ike. He did the many things he needed to do and was grateful to Heal. I was extremely grateful as well and humbled to no end.

I have to share these stories with him, while I can. I am not sure how many students walk past those Beloved ancestors laying at rest right outside of their classrooms. To connect with the Divine is not just a matter of Spirituality and Soul Growth. They help me each and every day, often each and every moment as well, to get through the hardships in this Life. For that, I am Forever Indebted...

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