Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy 98th Birthday Tutu.

Today is my Tutu's ("Grandmother" in Hawaiian) birthday.  Keala Kaaihue Aikau would have been 98 today.  She passed away 10 years ago, this August.  I miss her so very much.
She lived in Mililani, Hawaii and Orem, Utah, during most of my life.  She came with Kuku ("Grandfather" in Hawaiian) to visit about once a year, but it was always so hard to say good-bye.  I would cry uncontrollably every time they had to leave.  I loved having her come visit because she was so nice to me.  Out of her 17 grandchildren, I felt like I knew her the least.  At one point or another, 16 of her grandchildren either lived with her or vice versa (in her later years).  She taught me how to play the card game, "Speed".  When I started to improve, I started to feel bad that I would beat her, so I'd try to ease off. She could tell and would get mad when she caught me not playing to my full potential.  
I miss the feel of her soft, wrinkled skin.  She had this certain scent, but I can vaguely remember now.  I don't know how to describe it, but it was just her. She was small, maybe about 5 feet tall and thin.  She use to have long hair, that she would pin up in a bun.  I marveled at how she was able to pin all that hair up.  She liked to laugh, but she was a rather quiet woman.  It wasn't really Tutu's nature to be loud or the center of attention.  Kuku was more of the disciplinarian between the two of them.  I remember once talking back and I think that was the only time I heard her voice get loud.  After that, I never wanted to hear her raise her voice or have her get mad, because I felt 10x worse!
She was the only grandmother I knew, because my Tongan grandmother/Dad's mom lived in Tonga.  A couple days before Mothers Day 2003, I wanted to call her for the holiday.  I didn't want to call home and suffer the consequences of getting homesick, so I thought calling my Tutu would have been a better idea.  As the holiday approached, I decided it would mean more to call my Mom, since the only other time I'd get to call home was Christmas.  About two months before  I left for my mission, my Kuku passed away.  After his funeral, Tutu came down to San Diego to stay until it was time to take me to the MTC {missionary training center} in Provo, Utah.  It was such a wonderful time having her in our home.  At night, before bed, she would always read.  I still have the Ensign magazine she read during our last week together.  When it was time to go to the MTC, she came along.  The last thing I told her was that I looked forward to coming home so we could go to the temple together and do many Endowment sessions together.  Sadly, half way through my mission and exactly 15 months after Kuku passed, Tutu passed away.  I was grieved that I wouldn't be able to go to the temple with her again, but the experience of her passing gave me something much more.....a testimony of the healing comfort of the Atonement.   That was the best gift that I could have been given.
I miss her so much.  I wish I could have had one last chance to tell her how much I loved her.  I wish I could hear her voice again.  I wish I would have talked to her about Hawaiian names for my future babies, like I wanted to do before my mission but thought it was weird to even be thinking of such a thing. {She was fluent in the Hawaiian language.}  But in the end, it doesn't matter what I didn't get to do before her passing, because I have such sweet memories of her.  I think about her often, most especially when I wear her Turquoise ring that she left for me.  I cherish it.  I know I'll see her again.  I look forward to our sweet reunion, but for now, I'll treasure her memory in my heart.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...