Today I went to a memorial service and it was such a beautiful celebration of life, that I want to share it with you Dear Readers. For those of you not from Hawaii, this is what the ending of the ceremony looked like. 

As the canoes prepared to sail out to the reef to scatter the ashes.

It was a glorious Hawaiian day. The water was a perfect shade of blue, there was hardly a cloud in the sky and trade winds kept the temperature cool and balmy.

The memorial service was for a man who was greatly loved and admired by all who knew him. What made his death especially sad was the fact that he was only 54 years old, had not been ill and his passing was so sudden that nobody was at all prepared.

His widow is my daughter’s best friend. They have been best friends since kindergarten and both girls are now 50 years old. There are also two daughters ages 13 and 15, and they were very close to their father.

The ceremony was held at the world famous Outrigger Canoe Club at 8 a.m. on a Friday morning. There were over 500 people there, although there was never any written notice about this.

The mix of people was a true melting pot. There were people of every race and age group. There were teenagers, who were friends of the family and people in their seventies. All these people had happy memories of knowing Brad.

If you saw the movie The Decendants, that is pretty much how everyone looked. The men were all wearing aloha shirts and either slacks or shorts, and the women were in various sundresses and muu’muus. Very few people were dressed in black.

Most of the guests had on footwear ranging from shoes, to sandals, to Japanese slippers. However there was a point when everyone walked out to the sand and then it was mostly barefoot, and shoes were in a pile by the edge of the terrace.

The terrace was set up with chairs and yet the crowd overflowed into the ajoining dining rooms. First there was a lovely spread of fruits and muffins, coffee and coffee cakes. People helped themselves and then were seated.

Hawaiian music was played by a group of seven, and all the songs were uplifting and happy. Two of Brad’s best friends gave eulogies and then several people from the audience got up to say a few words.

The chaplain was wonderful and he thanked everyone for coming and made the family feel as comfortable as possible.

More music, more food, and then, as in almost every Hawaiian memorial service, the canoes paddle out to the reef. The widow and her children, plus the grandparents chose not to ride in the canoes. There was a Boston Whaler, that came almost to shore, to ferry them out alongside the canoes.

Again, if you saw the movie The Decendants, you know that when the canoes get to a certain point off of Diamond Head, the ashes are scattered.

Then the boats returned and people stayed and ‘talked story’ about their friend, while the Hawaiian music played all his favorite songs.