saying goodbye


Maybe it's too early for me to be blogging again. This past week has been extremely busy with moving Grandma's furniture into her new house and moving our stuff to Hilo, and things are still kinda raw, BUT, the events of last week need to be blogged. So I'm blogging. Pardon the timeline format. It was the easiest way to get it all out.
Monday 11/5: I can't remember that far back...
Tuesday 11/6: We need to waste a bunch of gas so we could ship our car (yeah! we bought a car), so breakfast at Komoda bakery in Makawao was in order. We take the highway up, but we come down through Pāʻia. My favorite drive...and why not? We won't be seeing Maui for a while.
A sweet friend from church helps us move a couple of dressers to Grandma's house AND brings us dinner. Awesome.
We load up our car and get it ready to ship.
That night we ALSO drive around for another 1.5 hours all over the stinkin' valley. Sheesh. Good mileage is great until you need to ship your car and have to waste a quarter tank of gas. We should've gone to Lahaina.
Wednesday 11/7: Car gets dropped off at the dealership. The car's still on its' way, but you cannot imagine how happy I will be when ALL of our things are on the same island as us. It hasn't been that way since early 2011...
Move more stuff goes to the new house.
Grandma makes a turkey since we won't be here for Thanksgiving.
Wednesday is the last night we spend at Grandma's old house. We only let ourselves think about it at night. We can't be blubbering fools during the day with so much to do.
Thursday 11/8: We move the beds and couch to Grandma's cottage. We also move as much food as we can and throw away lots of stuff like 10 year old bottles of spices.
My brother in law Kawika comes in from Hana with his family.
Grandma makes her last batch of famous beef stew in the house. It's the best. We take a shower and say goodbye to our nieces since they'll be in school when we leave. The older one cries while I hug her and in a shaky voice I tell her it's going to be ok.
We get in the car and drive away while the girls wave from the kitchen window the way they have so many times before.
We go to Grandma's new house. Kawika and family  join us as well. Our first night there and last night on Maui. I spend the night tossing and turning. It's just different.
Friday 11/9
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We go back to the old house to get our suitcases ready and say goodbye. Over the past few weeks we had been filming Keola talking about each room of the house and what he remembers. In our last moments there we film the backyard.
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We take another walk through the house and it finally happens.
I walk into the middle bedroom to find Keola looking around one last time.
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His body slumps when he sees me, and he puts his hand on the wall for support while he sobs. I run over and hold him as his frame shudders. It only lasts a minute and we collect ourselves and walk out of the room hand in hand. While selling the house was the best thing for Grandma, it certainly was not the easiest. Even now at this late hour Keola tortures himself wondering if there might have been some way the house could be saved.
It's time to go.
We get Noweo, put her in the car, and back out the driveway for the last time. We never thought this day would ever exist, that there would ever be a "last time" that we'd leave this house. But it's here, and now it's gone.
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We head back to Grandma's cottage and meet up with the rest of our family. Keola's sister and Mom join us there and we spend the rest of our time on Maui talking story and eating stew and Halloween candy. The mood is light and while it was hard to squeeze 7 adults and 3 kids into a tiny living room, it managed to feel a bit like home, because it was full of family.
It's 12:00pm and it's time to head to the airport. Goodbyes to my sisters and mother in law are easy. I'll see them again and they can take care of themselves. My little niece and nephew (the youngest grandchildren) are a little harder since I know I'll they'll be so different the next time I see them.
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Our luggage goes into Kawika's truck, and we get into Grandma's car. Grandma drives us to the airport and pulls up along Hawaiian Airlines. We unload everything and get it ready on the curb. The moment I've been dreading is finally here. I give Kawika a hug and then hug Grandma. I'm trying SO HARD to keep it together because I love this lady. Since coming to Maui, I have been her confidant, her companion, her ears, her voice. She may not be blood, but she's definitely my third grandma, and she has relied on me for many things. It's the people you care for that you grow to love the most. We clutch each other with watery eyes and then it's time to let go. I already miss her. She gets back into the car, and drives away. I know I'll see her again, but I desperately want her to be ok in the time between then and now. I get to leave with my family. She will eventually be left alone in a foreign house. It just seems so unfair.
I quickly make myself busy talking to the porter, writing down our confirmation code on an old receipt and collecting our IDs. Keola asks if I'm ok and I vigorously shake my head, eyes lowered, refusing to look at him. The emotion is too close to the surface. It's just the three of us once again.
Airports are notorious spaces of liminality, neither here nor there. We can't turn back now, nor do we want to, but leaving almost makes it feel like the last year and a half never existed, like it was a dream and now we're waking up. But it was real. The drama, the frustration, the laughter, the long conversations, new friends, new babies, cousins that are now more like sisters, great food, beautiful views... It was all real and unchangeable and an important part of who we are. We're taking it all with us to our new life in Hilo.