There are moments in life where it's wise to sit in ones feelings and reflect on life, and one's place in it. This was initiated by a funeral, and before you say "my condolences" its seriously okay, Grandpa Van Brocklin was a wizened and spry creature who spent the last 4 years of his life bedridden. I'm really glad he got Body 2.0 and gets to be with Grandma Jocelyn now.
And for those of you checking this date in history, yes, I know. Delta Variant is exploding right now, hospitals in Hilo are full and mask mandates are returning to the mainland. Here is my current response: I'm fully vaccinated, I refused to meet with family who wasn't (which believe me was a huge deal to me, cause it's not like I'm nearby much anymore). I double masked in most places, took some extra vitamins for immune system boost and socially distanced whenever possible because I refuse to be a plague rat. Even now I'm locked in the Master bedroom/bath quarantined away awaiting my Covid test from this morning (which my sinuses did NOT LIKE) in order to verify that flying in 3 very full sardine tubes known as planes didn't expose me to anything. We live with a 75yr old, and I don't just love her, I like her too. I want her to live a long time.
To that end I'm really very thankful, there were various expressions of love throughout the trip. To my dojo 'ohana and husband who tracked down some medical grade masks for me to wear fresh each day- mahalo nui loa. To the family who was totally cool if I wore a mask and stayed back, thank you for understanding. To the Peak-Coronas offering me their car for the week- you guys are AWESOME! To Mr. Peak who gave me a room for a week and saved me a solid $1,100 cause hotel thought I was made of gold, you're outstanding! I look forward to repaying the favors in the future in whatever form they come be they visits or whatever!
There's a saying that "There's 2 things in life you should always show up for if you can; weddings and funerals." As an adult (also watching my 13yr old siblings reaction), I see it as a regathering of people from around the country and even the world to reconnect with the communities that built us. The Ogdens comling from their ministry in Africa to lead the surface, mom's old High School friend coming out of the woodwork to rekindle their friendship. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and the complicated ones where you know you're related and there's a word but ya might wanna ask Google on that one.
Hawaiians have this term "talk story" its used in place of "hang out" or "sit and talk" and I think it's really accurate and important because while us cousins sat around and compared our adult lives/jobs it's the STORIES that were exchanged that are going to leave an emotional mark. Listening to Whitney as her autistic son was prepared for and then denied regular schooling due to Covid, Kat and me in the car talking about communication and her friends at school, the Ogdens telling me about the items on Grandpa's memorial table that came from Africa. There was a comment pre-funeral about talking of his characteristics rather than a "bunch of silly stories" yet the service was full of pictures and stories and especially over the meal it was the tales, the legends, the memories which were actively sought out and shared. There were so many elements of his life that I hardly knew, like how he could fix ANYTHING and while he had a gruff exterior he went WAY out of his way to help the people he cared about. Even at the 60mile Susan G Komen event that mom did in honor of Grandma. I learned that while he cheered her on at several stations he was allowed out of the audience to do the last mile with her, and he was NOT young at the time! Meanwhile surrounded with thousands of other participants who were survivors and their families.
During the setup the day prior mom asked me to set up a table with a bunch of pictures and memorabilia of his past. His dog tags, his military jacket from Vietnam, his pictures as a helicopter Captain at the San Francisco airport. Books which showed his children, some of the places he traveled and the adventures he had. I was doing really good until I pulled one out of him and grandma and it just hit me like a truck. Good LORD I miss that woman. I proceeded to quietly utilize the facilities to attempt to recompose myself. While I stumbled across Gene's second wife Carol she was very kind and understanding and agreed Jocelyn was a wonderful woman. I still needed a moment to process so I stepped out to the gym where my 13yr old twin siblings were attempting to alleviate their boredom with a soccer ball. Kat was enjoying a break on the side and could beyond the mask asking if I was okay. I choked out that I was processing, and she gave me a hug. Now that she's 5'8" it was a much taller hug than last time we hung out. We sat down and I shared how I wish she could've met Grandma cause you'd open the door and she'd literally be pulling fresh cookies out of the oven to add to the other 4 desserts she had on the counter. I proceeded to recall several other stories and Kat patiently listened and comforted her older sister. As my sister made it clear though out the trip she's the 'mom' to her friends group. I saw a lot of the same things I do as 'dojo mom' exhibited in her behavior. She's very mature for 13 and I look forward to seeing where life takes her. That stated she has also unintentionally taken after her older sister and has picked up some basic photography skills. (As you can see by the flowers posted throughout the post here).
It was also funny to see my siblings watch me retell several base facts and stories to other family members, they were like "you've already said that" to which my answer was, "Yeah, but they don't know that, and for better or worse it's not common knowledge." To that end my little brother loves leading and being in charge, and over the trip
he ran into the fact that I'm an adult and he's 13. While he wanted to tease me and goad me into playing, attempting to do so by saying 'Bang you're dead' when I have gun and knife defense training does not activate a... safe set of muscle reactions for someone of his size/experience level. I'm sure he'll pass me in height soon enough as well, but I do hope someday he'll realize that martial artist poke each other for fun to get thrown and go to the tap-out; however, taunting one when you've never been on a mat before is... unwise. Don't get me wrong, kids got INCREDIBLE intelligence, but I think in the character sheet rolling Kat got ALL the wisdom.
I do hope he'll come to see the benefit of having such an older sister as he soaked his shorts by running through the water on Cannon Beach to chase the pelicans and seagulls. I was happy to pitch in and get him some swimming trunks to remedy the situation as we enjoyed Mo's for lunch.
And we got to play for a couple hours the day before and while my volleyball/martial arts/goalie strategies fumbled him up at first he was quickly adapting. I'm sure if we played consistently his soccer skills would quickly surpass my hodge-podge defense. I'd actually like to see him get into martial arts so we can go toe-to-toe and I don't have to worry about breaking something, in addition to I could see him enjoying it and benefitting from being surrounded by people of strong character and self-control.
Wanna know what else I discovered? If ya wanna socially distance and still get good family shots... SELFIES! Great way to go! ^_^
As I got on the plane yesterday I felt my gut sink and my emotions were in mourning. This trip isn't like others, normally these days its Jujitsu traveling where I know I'm going to see the person in 6 months to a year, or destination traveling where it's not the people but the places that lead the adventure. I know this is the last time I'm
probably gonna see some of these people, especially at the Salem Free Methodist church. Aunt Cynthia "The Sweetheart Lady" as I used to call her, and others where I see their recognition fading and their preparations for the next big upload into body 2.0 coming. Cousins and Aunts and Uncles with silver in their locks and hopes of coming out, but no promises for a while, especially with Covid. Even upon arrival home I intend to hunker down and return to the previous habits where caution rules and travel is a nervous undertaking at best. With Delta variant I look all they way to next spring with nervous eyes, I was hoping the Covid chapter was coming to a close with vaccinations, but it seems like -for now- I should expect to be in it for the long haul, even if my family and I do everything we're asked to do. That said, with my faith, I do expect to see all these people in heaven. I acknowledge what a privilege it was to see them here and now at Grandpa's funeral, so thank you Grandpa, I appreciate the opportunity to gather with those we held dear while you celebrate a new beginning.
There were lots of little moments along the trip as well which brought me joy. On one of the incoming layovers I almost DIED as this little girl MAYBE 6 was sitting with her dad saying, "People have gotten so weird these days!" "Oh?" "Yeah, I heard some people say that foxes aren't even real! But I've seen one! They're so cute!" Omg I almost died trying to stuff down the laughter as she thought they meant the creature and not the news station. And on the way out as we were taxing out of LAX this kid behind me was like "WOW I bet this plane will get even higher than our house!" And within seconds of rumbling off the runway he goes, "SEE we're even higher than the houses!!!!" There was this one park that went through a neighborhood with Lord of the Rings themed streets. It made me wanna live there SO BAD!!! 😂 And little things like Burgerville/food I can't get in the islands and the Blackberries in season (so oddly excited about that!) and hearing crickets instead of coquis, and cool dry summer weather with the occasional overcast or drizzle. And signs which may require a double take before knowing why the bike is stacked on the car.... or being reminded of a friends gift painting by the one at Mo's. All little moments of appreciation.
On the Art of the Prose front- Keep your eye out for a couple murals in the coming months and my custom displays to show up on the website!
As I return to Hilo refreshed and using the test result waiting period to recoop,
reorganize and prepare for 'normal' life to resume I am encouraged by individuals, discouraged by society, and appreciative of my husband getting me a poke bowl. I think I'll just continue working with individuals as I always have and see how it ripples from there.
Learning and Serving,