The passing of a mother at any time in life is always difficult. For my family, the passing of my mom was a blessing in many ways. Too many families know the process of dying from Cancer begins long before the suffering ends. Ours is no exception. On January 7, 2006 the difficult time ended and the time of healing began. It was still dark when we got the call that Mom left this earth. It was very early in the morning when we drove from my cousin’s house to Waimea Hospital. Karen Mitsue Honjiyo Schmidt, was on the Big Island for my wedding. The day after her arrival on island, she had to be admitted for phenomena. Mom never made it to the wedding, so after the reception we brought the flowers from the ceremony to her room. Mom passed a week later.
Shortly after saying our peace, my brother, my new bride and I hopped in the convertible yellow Mustang and headed down the hill to get the flowers into the ocean at sunrise. It is believed by the Hawaiians that the most powerful time of day is at sunrise. So we sped down the hill racing against the rising sun, not knowing where we were going other than towards the ocean. The warm glow of the day, began lighting the landscape as we descended on the highway. We saw the sign for Hapuna State Beach, perfect, made the turn and came upon a police man at the gate. Park closed… Schmidt, so we ventured further south on this lava/dirt bumpy road til we finally get to the shoreline. We had parked upon a bluff overlooking this amazing bay as the sun was nearly about to crest Mauna Kea. We scurried down a small path towards a lava rock cliff right at the waters edge. We threw the flowers in just as this most magnificent bay was illuminated by the days dawn. I remember standing there overlooking the beauty and this sense of peace came upon me. As it turned out, the peace came upon our family. As we made the trek back towards the car, I caught these images so I would be able to remember this place. The rest of the day was a celebration of life that was the essence of ALOHA. From the toasts on Hapuna Beach later that morning, to the snaps and lunch in Hawi, to the sunset overlooking the Kohala Coast and the bay we began the day, to the family time at the end of the day. It was one of the best days of my life. Mom was at peace in heaven and I had just shared an amazing day with the two most important people in my life at that moment.
I share this day with you because it was the genesis of Pakalana. For those that follow my photography, you may recognize the background in the pictures below. It is the very same beach that was in “If The Beach Is Your Thing”. It was not until several years later when we celebrated Makamae’s Baby Luau that I realized that my cousins Bed & Breakfast was next to the beach where we tossed the flowers the morning mom died. After the party we finally got some beach time so as my dad was playing with “Tita” by the waters edge I was looking out at the rocks and suddenly realized where we were. When we got home, I checked the pics that you see below. Sure enough, nearly two and a half years later, we brought Mom’s grandchild to the very same place her mother, uncle and I tossed her flowers. It was on that same trip that the lot next door to Puna’s B&B, the lot that that now is Pakalana came for sale. Even though it was way out of our price range then, we still dreamed about buying it and running a B&B with a couple of our friends. We spent many an hour planting the seeds that is now Pakalana.
Seven years later, on January 7, 2012, Pakalana will be hosting a housewarming party in celebration of my mom’s life. Never in a million years could I have imagined that seven years after that blessed morning I would have a lil slice of that paradise to call my home and to be able to share it with a child of my own. If you never believed in angels, maybe this lil story will change your mind. Available 2.11.12, Heaven on Earth brought to you by an Angel.