Just talking story” about how we connect with people, and why. About how Ka lā hiki ola helps.
That time in my life has arrived where the invitations coming in the mail are for more graduations, less baby lÅ«‘aus (first-birthday parties), and I’ve caught my husband religiously reading the obituaries in the paper to reconnect with old friends when we discover their parents had died.
Yuck, but also a good example of how reflecting on a value of the month can help me (and how I write MWA Coaching hoping to help others). My values help me get rid of a lot of yuck so I can have that half-fuller’s perspective, and not a half-empty one.
This particular yuck-ness has lasted for a while now: My husband lost both his parents last year (that’s when he started reading the obits) and news of more lives transitioning has come to us steadily since (or we’ve paid better attention). We do associate reading the obituaries with our advancing age: When I had first mentioned noticing his new reading obsession, my husband responded, “Well, my mom had been the one reading them before, now it’s my turn I guess” and reached for his reading glasses, the ones he never needed before either.
Then as I prepared for Ka lā hiki ola in the past few weeks I had conversations with three different friends whose parents are ill and actually welcoming the end to this life, shifting their thinking from possibility to probability about a new one. I again thought about those sentences we will hear a bit too often from those who grieve; “I wish I had told them”” Truth is, sometimes the people they are referring to would want to know; most other times it’s been a gift that they didn’t. Indeed, ignorance can be bliss when knowing everything serves no purpose.
You see Ka lā hiki ola is very purposeful for me. Ka lā hiki ola: The dawning of a new day. A “new day” for what?
And what about everyone else? What do we wish we could tell them? More importantly, why wait? Waiting means wish we could has deteriorated to wish we had. “Wish I could” means I can still work on me. “Wish I had” means I’m beating myself up for a chance I’ve already lost.
What I admire about my husband is that he doesn’t read the obituaries just to know about when his friends lose their parents; he reads them to reconnect with friends that he feels he needs to reconnect with. He’s turned a sad time into one in which he can tell people how much he values them.
He teaches me quite a bit when he drags me to a funeral service: If you could watch him “work the room” in the before and after of the service itself, you’d think he was doing research for a book of short stories about the lives of the living now left behind. He engages his friends there in conversation, respectfully and gently, but very effectively in getting them talking, and with a genuine interest in them and whatever they feel is important about their now. He honestly is not that interested in the person we are there to honor; he is interested in the people there doing the honoring. He respects that they need to grieve, and he’s willing to be there for them if that’s how the conversation will end up going, but most of the time it doesn’t. Most of the time he and his friends are talking about something completely different than that funeral.
His “new day for what” is for his friendships with those people. That’s his Ka lā hiki ola.
In the days afterwards, things are slightly different. My husband has a brand of Ka lā hiki ola that is very contagious, affecting me in terrific ways. Out of sorts as the thought can be, I am fully aware that the funeral was the trigger.
We haven’t had to go to a funeral service for a while now, but I thought about all of this earlier today because Ker was reading the morning paper before he left for work and as he had a cup of coffee with me. Downing the last of his coffee, he looked up at me and said, “I haven’t talked to Brian E. for a while, I think I’ll go look him up at work today.” He put the paper down and got up to grab his keys, gave me a quick kiss and headed out the door.
I looked over at the paper he’d left on the table. It was neatly folded to the obituaries, and I breathed a sigh of relief. No surnames starting with E. Just a lot that looked like Ka lā hiki ola to me.
So, “a new day” for what? What is it your new day for?
If you had a brand of Ka lā hiki ola, what would your brand be?
Talk story with me,