As one life leaves this world another one enters, and so the circle of life continues… It’s interesting how timing works on occasion, a week that became a sudden heartache, a shock I honestly thought I had heard wrong at first, was followed up the very next day with the complete and polar opposite.
Our good friend Wayne, who adopted mum as his island mother and became a big brother to me, passed away two weeks ago at age 45. As much as I’ve gotten use to people passing in my life, after years of making friends in the hospital, I must admit I was completely unprepared for this in every way. One minute I would be stunned silent in a way, the next in tears of grief, so sad to realize that all of our spirited conversations about swimming in the ocean together as soon as I was well, would never actually happen…then I’d be fine again, then back to shock and then tears once more. I loved him, like a brother, no matter what demons he carried from his past what he shared with me was a sweet heart and a friendship that I will miss always.
As mum and I processed things the next couple of days, communicating back home to Hawai’i and working on a statement to read at the memorial service that weekend, I got
behind on other social networking news, only to find out a few days later that my friend Sandy had a beautiful baby boy on Thursday January 24th, Elliot Philip Chapman. Congratulations to the happy growing family!
It’s such a sweet example of how special life is, how quickly it can come and go and what a gift it is to enjoy the time shared with those you love. Although there was grief with Wayne’s passing, it was such a nice balance to see this picture of a precious new born, and I realized that most of the emotion with Wayne was memories and joy of his life as well. We laughed and cried and brought his spirit into the house… the energy of his passing truly indecipherable from the birth that came in. It was all celebration of life!
Below is the piece Mum wrote, me helping at her side, both of us wanting to be there but grateful Wayne’s best friend would read it at his service on our behalf ~ R.I.P Wayne… We love you 🙂 ~ Service “27 January 2013, Hawai’i”
“A death is not the extinguishing of a light, but the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come.”
The dawn has come for Wayne and with it an opportunity to reflect on all that he was and meant to us. In just over 10 years of knowing Wayne, he started as a neighbor and quickly grew to “ohana”. He redefined “neighbor” to Maria and me. Yes, he lived next door, but became so much more than that! I remember the day we met. I was in need of help moving a dresser up to our unit at Diamond Head Ambassador. Upon hearing a welcoming voice in the hallway, I popped out my door to introduce myself with a dual purpose of meeting him and seeking some assistance. He, or course, said “Yes”…and that began a series of fortunate events of helping one another time and time again. I will always be lifted by Wayne’s incredible gift of kind generosity. His joy was infectious. It was difficult to be “down” around him because he just didn’t “go there”…. maybe there is something to learn from that. That was just how Wayne was.
We had to leave Hawai’i in 2005 when Maria was listed and received a multi organ transplant. Wayne helped me with everything to shift out of my unit, and then continued to extend his loving kindness each summer that I came home to teach at Chaminade. The past 7 summers I have been back and stayed at least part of the time at his condo, used his car whenever necessary, and had a friend to walk the beach with and just sit and watch the sunset. I will miss him deeply. Maria had a “brother” at heart that encouraged her to “hurry up and get back home”. Although distance separated them, and it was just a phone call to chat, they never stopped talking about being able to knock on each other’s door and all the good things that lay ahead.
There are so many moments, which we have revisited this week since experiencing the grief of loosing our dear, dear friend. A candle has been burning since we learned of Wayne’s passing, and with it the opportunity to share, “remember when” stories.
An old proverb states: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” I hope we can all continue to focus on the incredible loving memories, which Wayne has left us with.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Kona and to his mom, Mary, whom he loved and talked about so much. He will always be remembered in our hearts, and we will stay in touch with both of you for sure! Kia Kaha as they say in New Zealand that means, “Be strong”.
Wayne would want all of us to carry on, laugh, have fun, and celebrate all that he was! Let us continue to love him by doing just that. God bless you, Wayne. May your soul soar. We will miss you!