I thought doing the dishes would help. I really did try to focus my attention on my hands, the warm water running over them and the squish of soap as I swirled the washrag inside the large drinking glasses that had lined themselves up along the kitchen sink. I really did try to keep my mind centered on just this one task, one dish at a time, one moment and then the next - and when my thoughts wandered, I gently brought them back to just doing the dishes.
And then I heard a sound. As I turned my head towards where it came from, I saw one of those large drinking glasses had fallen from its upright position onto its side and was rolling towards the edge of the counter. I reached out trying to stop it from falling and it slipped from my hands. It happened so quickly and yet I saw the entire thing in slow motion. I watched as the glass fell and shattered into dozens of pieces. I just stood there observing what just happened, observing myself looking at what just happened.
A friend who had been working on our lanai and was within range of hearing the noise came to the kitchen window where I stood and asked, "Are you okay?"
"Yes," I said. The next moment I said, "No." The tears began to fall just as fast as the glass did.
As my husband came into the kitchen and said, "I'll take care of this," I looked to escape somewhere where I could wail and thrash and scream and not disturb anyone in my house. I briefly thought about getting in the car and driving to the beach, but there was some part of me that knew that wasn't a good idea and made me sit down in the chair in my bedroom and begin to write through my tears.
And so here I sit...and will continue to sit now and every day for at least an hour until I've written everything I need to say. That is a commitment I'm making for myself. That's a promise I'm making to my dead friend.
I will wail and thrash and scream and not apologize for disturbing anyone who might be present in my house when the wailing, thrashing and screaming needs to take place. I also promise to always be here to provide a safe place for anyone who needs to wail and thrash and scream and need not worry about apologizing for any feelings they have or how they want to be expressed. I am here to hold, honor and be witness to this for you. I am a stand for complete expression of fear and love, shadow and light, soul and spirit.
For the past week I've been mourning. And when I say mourn, I mean shattered. Shattered like that large drinking glass I couldn't save from falling off the kitchen counter. For the last seven days, I have broken into a thousand pieces. I have cried so hard I felt I would vomit. I have knelt in the sand, floated in the Pacific Ocean, sat near a waterfall and stood in a room full of people dancing without being able to barely move. I have watched a community of people who deeply loved a man exchange their perspectives on Facebook about love and fear, anger and compassion, life and death, spiritual by-pass and passing into the greater realm of spirit.
I've been waiting. Observing. Comforting. Questioning. Listening. Grieving. I know all of these things are not over yet. Far from over. I will ride this roller coaster of emotions, this undulating spiral of sorrow as long as need be. And...I will step and dance and leap into LIFE with more heart, more compassion, more forgiveness, more patience and more spirit than I ever have because of what has happened. For the love of all that's ALIVE and HOLY and HERE in this body and being of mine, I will make more time for love of family, love of friends, love of strangers, love of animals and the earth, love of dance and music and words and LOVE OF SELF!
On Monday, December 21, on the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, along the cliffs of Honolua Bay in Maui, Hawaii, my dear friend, Home Kalani Pa'ahana Le'ahmohala committed suicide. He has a wife whom he dearly loved and told her he would never do this. He has a six year old son whom he adored and would do anything for. He has many family, many friends and many strangers who have met him but once who have been impacted and inspired by his tremendous smile, generous heart and beautiful spirit. His decision to leave this world in the way he did has left me and hundreds of people on this island and around this planet bereft and asking ourselves questions that not only begin with why, but how. So many questions and yet these are the two that keep waking me up in the night.
Why couldn't/didn't you ask us for help?
How do we help someone we know who's alive now and we have no idea, no clue that they're contemplating suicide stop them from killing themselves?
Are the answers to these questions impossible to know? Possibly. Are there better questions we should be asking ourselves? Absolutely the fuck yes. For starters, why are we so angry? Why are we more inclined to share our most intimate stories and selves online rather than in person with each other? Why have we become so divided and disconnected from each other? Why do we hide our negative feelings, our pain and suffering, our shadow from one another? These are just some of the questions I have been asking of myself and will continue to ask of others.
How can we find "home" within ourselves and in each other?
We share ALL of ourselves. Not just the beautiful bits when we're feeling happy and content, but the shittiest of shit when we're feeling sad and alone, lost and afraid, angry and misunderstood. We do not hide. We show up. Every day. Raw and real. Shadow and light. We ask for help. We ask what's needed. We extend a hand. We hand over our hearts willingly and gladly instead of holding them back and holding onto the illusion they'll never be broken if we only keep them shut tight and safe. It's time to embrace and feel ALL that we feel and allow ourselves to see and be seen without fear and shame, without judgment or expectation, but through the lens of "Oh yeah. You're just like me and I...I'm just like you."
My dear friend, Home. Oh, how I wish you would have made a different choice. Oh, how I wish you had let us in to those deep, dark places of your soul and let us surround you with a love so strong you would find a deep, ever-flowing love of self. Oh, how I wish the last words you shared with me in a text the morning you died would have been "Help me" instead of "I'm sorry." Oh, how I wish for so many things. For you. For your family. For your friends. For everyone whose life has been forever touched by yours. Oh, how I loved you, Home.
Tomorrow, on the last day of this year, I will attend your celebration of life. I will stand possibly in the very place where you stood and took your last breath before you jumped and I will say the prayer of Ho'oponopono over and over again:
I love you.
Please forgive me.
I thank you.
And then my life, our lives, life in general - no longer the same and forever changed...will continue on without you present, but with your presence being closer to me than ever before.