My mom has been married 4 times. Her second husband did a little of the raising me part when I was a kid, but he’s gone to ride motorcycles in the sky too, many years ago. And I haven’t seen him since I was 17. He never met my kids and he never got to see me as a grown woman. But Ron did. He’s been in my life for over 18 years. He was my kid’s Grandpa. He danced with me at my wedding. And he taught me to be brave and patient when they thought I might have Lymphoma when I was 20. He was the only one that could get my son to stop screaming when he was 3 months old and had colic.
The part of me that goes outside and walks around in the grass with bare feet when I’m stressed is his. The part of me that loves watching the wind in the trees and listening to the sound of the rain and finds all of those things to be what de-stresses me is his. When things get hard, I still look around and find joy in the simple stuff and that’s because of him.
When I was 20 I had a growing mass on my the side of my neck. It was a really scary time and one of the things on the table was Lymphoma. Ron had survived his first bout with Cancer then and he gave me the ability to be brave and strong and patient. He was the calmest, most serene, peaceful person I had ever met and that came from him finding his way through his cancer. What he gave me then still lives in me and has gotten me through 5 more surgeries and some really scary tests. He gave me the ability to just breathe and let go of the little things.
The Father-Daughter dance at my wedding was with him to Louie Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” because he taught me so much about seeing the beauty of creation and the ability to immerse yourself in the everyday miracles when the rest of the world is kicking your butt. It wasn’t your typical ‘I love my Dad’ wedding song, but it was perfect for our relationship.
He taught me to drive a stick. He carried me into the ocean (against my will) when I cut my foot and taught me that Hawaiian ocean salt water can cure almost anything. He took my kids to fly kites when they were little. He taught me how to make really good huli-huli chicken and an amazing Ginger Stir Fry. Those recipes will live on and get passed down to my kids.
And his favorite meal in the whole world was poi with sardines and dried shrimp (it’s a Hawaiian thing). When there was a poi shortage in Hawaii, I figured out where to get him poi when he wanted some. That was one of our things.
He was my Dad and I will miss him so much.
Rest in peace, Kumu. I hope you’re surfing in Heaven now.
*post note: Ron’s funeral will be the 11th and he will be buried in Temple Valley that afternoon.