Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 14, 2022

Uncertain 2022

 She was the strongest person we knew; she held the ʻohana together after our father passed away.

He was the pillar of strength for many years, but once mom assumed his mantle, she took it to the next level. She was the scion of everything cultural, from language to spirituality, to practical things like fishing, planting, and preparing particular foods and medicinal plants. We were all at our father's bedside when he clearly said his late words to our mother. 

"Hun, I'll be waiting on the shores of Kānehūnāmotu," he closed his eye and went to sleep after that, and he never woke up.

Now, here she is, our mother Wahinepoʻaimoku, lying on her bed, which we moved out into the living room. These are her last few moments when her ancestor will come to receive her, and she will be able to join our father, who is waiting for her on the shores of the land of our ancestors. However, at the eleventh hour, she doubts whether all of it exists or if she had spent her entire lifetime convincing herself it did when it really did not. She is asking for a Hawaiian bible, but a bible has not been seen in this house for the duration of our parent's marriage, much less the lifetime we have spent growing up here.

"Ma, what do you need a Hawaiian bible for?" I ask her.

"What if I'm wrong?" She whispered. "What if your father isn't waiting at Kānehūnāmoku, and he is somewhere else? I can't take that chance," she wept. 

"You're afraid, mom, because the long sleep is coming, and no one knows what's on the other side," I told her. "You have taught us how to deal with what is here, what cannot pass on. Others who have never understood our culture, who have never bothered to learn about us as human beings, consider it evil only because of their ignorance. You taught us that, mom. YOU did," I took her hand in mine and gently caressed to my cheek, and kissed it. "I can tell you that wherever you are going, Dad will be there. I think it cannot be any other place than Kānehūnāmoku," the tears stained both of our faces as I pressed my nose against hers. "In fact, I'll be looking for you and dad when I get there,"

On her face was a look of renewed confidence and determination and the warmest smile in the history of smiles. "We'll be waiting,"

Our mother passed while we were all in the kitchen, preparing a late-night meal to gather around mom while she slept. Someone brought up the subject of who got into the most trouble and who got disciplined the most. Uproarious laughter filled the kitchen and the entire home, and perhaps those were the last sounds our mother heard as she slowly closed her eyes and passed away. A moment later, she awoke to see her two eldest sisters urging her to rise from her bed and hurry because ʻEkau, her husband, was waiting just on the other side. There, just at the edge of the living room, lay the pristine shores of Kānehūnāmoku, where at the water's edge, her beloved ʻEkau awaited her arrival.

ʻEleu!" He urged her while holding his hand out. " Me ka wiki wiki!"

"Ugh!" She blustered. "Always so impatient!"

Thus, our mother went to join our father in the land of the ancestors, where time would pass as if it were mere seconds, eagerly awaiting our arrival, many, many, many years from now.

Credit: OHA

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