Remembering my Kouka in Hawaii

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As Raz and I embark on our last wedding of the summer - the wedding of my beautiful BFF from high school - this post is appropriately-timed.

Brittanie and I are as close to the same person as two high school buds can be. We have rhyming first names, the same middle name and [now maiden!] last names starting with the same two letters. This put our lockers right next to each other all four years of high school and nurtured a 14-years-and-counting bond. 

We also lost our dads within a month of each other two years ago.

It was awful.

The ironic silver lining, though, was it all became one more thing that bonded us. 

So, Raz and I are now on our way to celebrate my amazing friend who has endured so much and who - like me - dreamed of her dad walking her down the aisle on her wedding day. She wrote so poignantly about that on her blog, Three Bracelets. I'm honored to be invited to see how her dad will present himself and glad we're able to make the trip to Florida for her day. Stay tuned for more. 

You'll see in the following images something really cool that happened when we were in Hawaii for our other friends' wedding last month. Hawaii has always been special to my family because it's the place I gave my dad his nickname Kouka (Doug in Hawaiian) when I was 13. He always seems to find me there.

And on this last trip, we walked by a sign in our hotel lobby the day before our last night on the big island advertising a lantern ceremony honoring lost loved ones. If that wasn't my dad saying aloha, I don't know what is. 

And to share that honor with what felt like several hundred others on the same spot our friends had gotten married two days prior was extra special indeed. 

Sharpies waiting for me to get my art on.
Some of what I wrote to him.
More of what I wrote to him. I loved honoring him in Hawaii. 
Just getting interviewed for the local news, nbd. Also, check out my beautiful fish drawing. (Disregard my extra chin)
Some of the other lanterns. I did not stalk them at all. 
Charlotte's message to my dad <3

Sunset + sail boat. Some of my dad's favorite things. 
Off to release! Major social anxiety setting in. Working through it. 
Watching it float away. 
Beautiful lanterns all around us.

If you'd like more information about the hospice center that sponsored this event, you can read more about them here. If you'd like to know more about our resort, check out their website. And, trust me, if you truly believe your lost loved ones are out there, you will see them. Again and again.  

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