November 29, 2020

Grateful to be in Hawaii

I am writing from Hawaii again. It was an experience of miracles and kindness from so many that we were able to get here. 

We have had a busy few weeks. We had originally planned to be in Hawaii for Thanksgiving so we could see Lady Hiva's dad. He was not doing well. But then he made a turn for the worse, so we changed our tickets up two weeks to go on a Saturday. However, Thursday the hospice nurse told the family her dad only had a few days to live. So we did a mad dash to make it over to Hawaii. We were within 3 days of our flight so I could not change my tickets myself. I had to call and talk with a Delta representative. She quoted me the high price to change tickets and I knew we were not going to make it. But once I explained why we were changing the tickets again, the representative asked me to hold. She went off for about 10 minutes and when she came back she had booked our flights out for 0600h the next day! As I was thanking her I got a bit emotional because she went above and beyond for us. It may have just been a job for her, but it made an eternal difference for Lady Hiva and her family. 

We packed our things, I had to tell my classes that I was going to miss class--they were so kind. Again, I was struggling to keep my emotions in check. People are so good and kind. I am thankful for kind people. They truly make a difference in our lives. 

We drove to Beaver and picked up Madre and Kell. They made the midnight drive to Vegas with us. We were thankful for that too. The flights went well. Both Muggles slept fine. 

We had some friends come pick us up from the airport. They happen to be over here on a holiday and were willing to stop what they were doing to come give us a ride so nobody in the family had to leave the house where we were counting the minutes Lady Hiva's dad had left. We drove back to Kahuku and when we arrived, Lady Hiva and the kids were able to say goodbye. It was the last time her dad consciously knew she was there and opened his eyes. That would not have happened if we had waited for our original flight--again, made us thankful for the Delta agent doing what she did. 

We had 2 days of visits from family and singing together. It was a beautiful way to say goodbye. Then Liufau took his last breath while he was surrounded by his daughters, one of his sons, and all the grandkids that were here. They all got a chance to tell him that they loved him and that it was OK for him to go home. 

There was a sacred quietness in the house for the next 24 hours as people came by to give their respect. It was good to see them all. As a family we went into funeral preparation mode. If you are familiar with Tongan funerals it is a week long event. Plenty of hymns, hugs, and love for everyone around. There was so much to do to get ready. COVID rules in Hawaii changes the way that funerals can be handled. But we did our best to make it traditional while keeping to those rules. 

Harvesting our own sugar cane.

In fact, COVID rules are so strict in Hawaii that we had to be on 14 day quarantine. We did not have time to take a COVID test because we left so fast. That was OK because we were here in the house anyway. I have never been in Hawaii for 2 week and have not gone to the beach before!! We had to check in daily and twice the police came to the house to check on us! It was great to finally go to the beach after we our 14 days were up! That coincided with end of the funeral too.

This is the only "beach" time we had for two weeks...the drive by. 

I was outside every morning at 0400h in meetings. Everyone had to laugh when they would hear the chickens and roosters crowing in the background! HAHA. Made for some very interesting meetings for sure! 

The day before the funeral Lady Hiva and I did the casket flowers and I made 38 boutonnieres! YIKES I was so tired by the time I went to bed. Only 10 people could be in the funeral, so Lady  Hiva and I had Zoom set up so people can watch from all over the world. It was a special funeral service and graveside. 

These two no work...just show up for pictures! HAHA