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Thursday, October 20, 2016


Recently I sat with one of my closest friends as we attended the funeral of another dear and wonderful friend. A woman we both love.....the loss is painful, sobering and yet poignant.

I honestly cannot believe that Keahi is gone. She was a force of nature, she lit up every room and taught us all how to laugh in any situation, how to have fun and how to love. The line, "too soon gone" has never been more true, but "never, ever forgotten" is more to the point.

I simply loved her, and I miss her so much.

She was without guile. Have you ever met anyone without guile? No deception just total honesty in all her actions with never a mean word out of her mouth, ever. She always reminded me of what I was doing well, I never left her without feeling better. Often she would text or call and say, "I need some Donna time, lets go to lunch!" And she would always make sure it happened, not those vague, empty invitations of "we should get together"but then never do. I cherished those times together, we talked about politics, family, callings and what we had just read. Each conversation was uplifting because she never spoke ill of anyone, being positive was simply who she was.. We would go on for hours with never ending diet coke from very patient waitresses as we just kept laughing and talking.

You may think I am stretching the truth because no one is really like this, but she really was that amazing.  A rarity in all of our lives...a happy, joyful, vibrant woman grateful for every good thing in her life. The best example of hope there could ever be.

She said to me one time, "When I wake up in the morning I think, What fun thing can I do today?" She must have said it to everyone because it was in the program on the day we celebrated her life.

When I went to her home right after she was diagnosed with cancer she said to me, "I don't think I am going to beat this." I would not listen, I would not accept that. I fought it with every fiber of my body. Miracles occur, right? Going through the rest of life without this woman that I counted on to always be there was inconceivable. Then she said, "I am completely at peace." Not once did she complain or ask, "Why me?" She told me what an incredible life she had led, that not only did she have the best family in the world, but the best friends. That is easy to understand because she was the best mother, daughter, wife, aunt, sister, cousin there could be and the best friend anyone could have.

We taught seminary at 6am for years which is an exhausting and stimulating experience. We would get together afterwards with all the other teachers every day at 7am to talk about teaching, points of doctrine and anything else that came along. She was always the best example, the best friend anyone could ever have.

I went through a terrible time in my life and Keahi never let me do it by myself. She took me to the spa, we went to bookstores, we went to lunch, we ate ice cream, we went shopping, we drove in the car and listened to tapes....she prayed with me, and reminded me we had one more lunch to go to and I couldn't ever give up.

And we talked about Rome. Quite a while ago our church announced a temple being built in Rome and we made plans to go when it opened. I felt it was out of my reach, but she convinced me we could do it. We talked about it all the time. I don't know when it will be finished, but when it is, I am going to go...for Keahi. Not because I don't think she can see it from where she is, I am sure right now she is helping Peter and Paul pick out the tile. I want to finish the journey we talked about so often.

I will do everything I can to be a better friend to people, to be kinder, to enjoy life bring joy to others every chance I get.

I had a hard time understanding why she was in so much pain. Why did a woman who loved so much, who was so good, so kind, have to suffer so much? And then I realized through her courage she showed us how to withstand the tumults of life. If she could withstand the horrific effects of cancer without ever giving up, then we cannot give up either. If she could withstand all of that pain then I can go through whatever life has in store. I will never forget her example, her courage, and her incredible love for God. She was at matter what she never questioned why, she simply felt her incredible blessings and her biggest blessing was her family.

Families are Forever
Her celebration of life was just as she wanted it....nothing sad...2 of her daughters and 2 of her sons gave beautiful tributes to her, all filled with laughter. Her beloved sister sang a song she had written herself and the Hawaiian music, well it was simply beautiful.  And then her husband he did I have no idea. No one loved a husband more than Keahi loved her husband. And then he mentioned that written in Hawaiian on her tombstone will be, "Don't tell me what to do." Don't you love that? After the closing prayer everyone stood up and sang the song she had picked out years ago as her family was filing out with her casket. 

Spirit in the sky...Everyone sang it with pure joy for a life so well lived.

Aloha Keahi, thank you for being my friend, and for showing me the way....