Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Oahu: TuTu's Burial
My TuTu is buried at Puowaina Punchbowl Crater National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, a cemetery in the crater of an extinct volcano on the Hawaiin Island of Oahu that was used first for the victims of Pearl Harbor, which my TuTu witnessed. She is buried with my grandfather, near the front entrance, the red circle you see in the lower left area of the photo above. In the background are the buildings of Waikiki and the extinct volcano Diamond Head.
The cermony was brief and a balmy breeze blew like a caress on my skin. I swear I could feel my TuTu in that breeze. Directly after, the lightest mist of a rain you can imagine fell, something that is considered very good to a Hawaiian. It was very hard to feel sad when surrounded by such beauty. Pictures do not even come close to doing it justice.
TuTu and Pa's (what we called our grandfather) grave has a plumeria tree above it so it always smells absolutely heavenly. Below is a picture of what they look like on the tree. It's a sort of bare tree at this time of year, like magnolias when they are bare. The scent of these flowers is my favorite scent in the whole wide world, followed the the smell of fresh basil.
I wore the muumuu my TuTu bought for me, years ago, on the day of her funeral.
This cemetery doesn't allow anyone near the grave when the casket is placed in it and buried so we came back the next day to place flowers and visit the graves of other family members.
This is the next day, me, sitting in the plumeria tree, where TuTu often sat to talk to her husband on their anniversary. She never missed a year in 18 years.
Also in this cemetery is an area showing the names of all the unknown soldiers lost in Pacific campaigns. There are 71 steps, for the 71 Pacific military campaigns fought, leading up to the statue of the mother, who represents the weeping mothers who lost their sons. Beneath is a quote from a letter from President Lincoln to a mother who lost four sons in the Civil War. The letter is on display at Cambridge University, I believe, as an example of the finest use of the English language. I've left this image rather large so that when you click on it, you can read it easily.
My plane was delayed four hours, but we weren't told until we got to the actual GATE! Fortunately, my cousins were at Waikiki, or just at the Diamond Head end of it, and came back to the airport when my Aunty called them to tell them. We stopped at Walmart and I bought a bathing suit and was able to swim. I was so glad. It didn't feel right leaving the island without cleansing myself in the Pacific Ocean.
This beach was right up against the War Memorial Natatorium, a memorial pool that filled with ocean water that my TuTu spent years compaigning to save and restore because it is a memorial and she was a lifeguard there. The goverment let it fall into ruin. Even last Memorial Day 2007, TuTu gave a speech there at the annual ceremony. One of my cousins will be taking over giving the speech this year and swore to take up the cause in TuTu's place. This view is from the outer wall looking in. Yes, I did take my digital camera into the water for this shot and the following one.
Last, this shot of my cousin's children, who are absolutely aloha children. It didn't take me long to realize that my little daughter will fit right in with her cousins, looking more like them than me. My cousin's wife said that they are probably not done having children which made me super happy since that means Apple might have a cousin around her age.