March 2018, a year and a few months have gone by since the death of my dad. He would have been 78 this month. I was hurting emotionally and desperately needed some time off. Spring break was coming up for the kids, and I thought a relaxing vacation would be the perfect getaway.
Every year Ron and I take the kids somewhere, but after the death of dad last year, we didn’t get a chance to do anything. I wanted this year to be extraordinary. Unfortunately, Ron had to work with a client in Idaho and asked me if the kids and I wanted to join him. Ha! That would be a clear “No.” It’s not that I have anything the Gem State. It’s just not what I had in mind for a getaway. So, I reached out to my brother and sister-in-law and they invited the boys and me to join them in Kauai for a week. Yes! Now that’s what you call a vacation. We packed our bags, kissed my husband goodbye, and headed to “Fantasy Island.”
Kauai is truly a magical island, and if you’ve never been, you must go. The best word to describe this place is nirvana. This is one of the most lush islands of all Hawaiian Islands. Our escape, for the week, was in a breathtaking ohana cottage that overlooks the ocean in Kilauea. In the distance, lush mountains and a waterfall were outside my bedroom door. And once in a while, a wild chicken or boar would pay a visit on the street. Every morning I’d wake around 6 a.m. and tip-toed to a beach that was a 5-min walk away. I used this opportunity to meditate, and to talk with my dad.
April 4, 2018, around 5 a.m., still sleepy, I decided to get up anyway. It was my last day on this sacred island, and the only time I had to myself before my family woke. This was my time to just be. I put on my bathing suit, grabbed my towel, and my journal. As I walked down a narrow bamboo path, I picked a hibiscus and put it in my hair. I wanted to look special as I embraced this final day. I took in a deep breath and exhaled. The wet air smelled of Earth and papaya–so sweet.
As I got closer, I heard the ocean waves calling my name like sirens in the sea. Excited, I walked swiftly towards the shore and looked for the perfect spot to talk, sing, meditate, and when found it, away from all of the little crabs, I sank my toes into the gritty sand and opened my ears. I was so ready to hear what the ocean had to say. I was also here to meet my dad. I’ve felt his presence ever since I landed. I don’t know if he’s ever been in Kauai before, but I know he’s been with me on this trip, and he was definitely present today. I could feel him.
“Hi Dad, I’m here to meet with you!” the ocean’s waves roared with each word I spoke, and I became unsettled. Listening to them reminded me that something more significant than all of us was out there. I felt so blessed… The sun began to rise, the air was wet and warm, and I was one with Earth.
“Dad?” I said boldly. “Dad? I know that you are here with me.” I kept peering out at the roaring waves looking for him like he was going to rise from the ocean like Poseidon… “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” I yelled, and then I became terrified. But why? My mom and dad raised us on the water. Every summer, we would spend time on our family boat, “the Jimanjay”, at the Seafarers Yacht club in Annapolis, Maryland. Dad taught us to always respect the ocean and listen to her songs. However, this time something was different like she was trying to tell me something big, something frightening. I yelled to the heavens and ask my dad to tell me why did he leave us? Why now? I needed to know because I couldn’t move forward if I didn’t have the answers.
I sat in silence, staring at the ocean as tears streamed down my face. I began to sing the chorus of a Leonard Cohen’s song, Hallelujah :
The waves roared, and I could feel that a message was trying to get through. I just couldn’t hear it! Completely frustrated I sang louder. A little crab popped out of a hole and stared at me. I’m not sure if it was telling me to keep singing or to shut up. Then the crab raised its claw. I think it was the latter. Nonetheless, I wiped my face, stood up, threw the flower from my hair out into the ocean, and walked back to the cottage. It was time to say farewell to the Hawaiian spirits.
- Have you ever had a firm conviction about something? Were your convictions correct?
- Have you ever been to any of the Hawaiian islands? If so, what was your experience?
- What song moves you through tough times?