The other night I got a text at 2:30 am.
"Jeff just passed away."
I couldn't believe it. I still can't. My friend Bridget -- the one who carried me through the worst work of dismantling our lives in Kauai, who has been there for me for nearly a decade of raising babies, nursing, potty training, parenting, homeschooling, working-- her husband Jeff died suddenly of the flu. He was a beautiful man. A hard and lean Portuguese Hawaiian Paniolo-- soft spoken, bright eyes, long white ponytail. Thick pidgin, soft voice, gentle with all the babies, gathering the children into his lap. How can he be gone? He wouldn't show up to a party, but he'd show up to build you a fence or move your house or brand your cattle. He'd work harder and longer than anybody. Life is a little surreal-- the last time I saw him was when he and Bridget had packed up my container with our whole battered dusty lives inside after my own crusty Hawaiian cowboy died, leaving his stunned and br…
If I ever have the chance, I want to have a community education class for recent transplants to the island, whether they're from Oahu or Oakland or Oklahoma. It would introduce them to basics about the island, culture, daily life, and history-- and hopefully make them better able to integrate themselves into the community with as little friction as possible. I'd get long-time locals and successfully-integrated malihini to come and teach each session, and have lots of discussion. And food. Plenny food.
How about this for some topics:
History of the island: pre-contact, Hawaiian Kingdom, plantation, annexation, ww2, statehood, Hawaiian Renaissance and the presentLocal ghost stories (Obake stories!) State of the island: an overview of local politics-- introducing politicians and major issues and summarizing all (hah) points of view. Language: Intro to pidgin (what it's okay for Malihini to say, like pau, piko, howzit, and what it's not okay: cuz! Brah! Imua!!! When in doubt, …
The year is kareening around, we're hurtling through space on our tiny blue rocket ship called earth, and the one year mark to Matt's suicide is coming at my face.
We're doing amazing. I love my kids, they love me, I take care of grandma, she takes care of me, I've started a garden, we've got new little chicks, I've written half a novel, made new friends, the girls have learned to read and write English, and I'm learning to crochet.
And it's been bloody brutal. Since the middle of the night when I got the call from the police, my heart has had an ice-metal stake through it. It was a nuclear detonation and although we survived there are hugely echoing after-affects, radiation poisoning that will poison us for years and generations.
But there have been things that have helped. And I think they would help anyone, in any kind of trauma or pain. And I'm going to make a note of them in case I'm floudering, for me to come back to, and add to. And if th…