A Memorial Post For Those We Miss The Most

We’ve all lost someone we loved.  It’s devastating.

Cruising and perusing through Facebook, it seems like a lot of us have lost someone recently.  My heart goes out to you man.  I hope you’re hanging in there.  Having lost a few peeps myself, I know words can only do so much to comfort.  But what the hell, it’s worth a shot.  And it’s also worth trying something a little different.

So Kalai and I wanted to share something with you.  Over Memorial Day, we got to experience one of the coolest things we’ve ever been a part of – Lantern Floating Hawaii 2014, a ceremony to honor and remember the ones we’ve lost, and perhaps find some closure.

Lantern Floating Hawaii 2014

It wasn’t just us who hit the Bay to send our loved ones on their Way.  There were 50,000 other people.  Being side-by-side with a sea of people going through a similar struggle in life was the most intense version of “caring for your community” that I’ve ever experienced.

They say being connected with, and sharing and caring for your community, is one of the keys to happiness in life.  Who’s “they”?  I don’t frickin’ know man.  I’ve gotten that advice a few times in my life from some very smart, self-aware people.  I also saw it in a really good documentary called “Happy”.  It’s good to know people got your back I guess?

Up to this point in my life, that really just sounded like a bunch of hippie bullshit to me.  And that’s coming from a dude who has kind of been a hippie since he left the halls of Berkeley, C-A in Y2K (more in the sense of da long hair, free love, and don’t worry be happy attitude vs. the petrolia oil smell, protests, and gyspy dancing).

I can only imagine what that connected and caring attitude sounds like to a normal person living in Y2K + change, and whose best friend is an app.  But I gotta tell you, being a part of this event sealed my belief in that principle.

Perhaps that’s why it seems like the baseline level of happiness in Hawaii is just a little bit higher than everywhere else.  It could also be the sun, beaches, Mai Tai’s, life balance, and hot women (or dudes, whatever you prefer) walking around in bikinis (or dong thongs).  I’m definitely willing to admit that.  Definitely.  In fact, I saw this one girl…ah, my distractions cause me to digress as always…

Here’s what the official website says about da ceremony:

The aim of Lantern Floating Hawaii is to give people a personal moment to remember, reflect, and offer gratitude to those who came before us. It is a chance to be surrounded by the love, understanding, and support of others – even strangers who are experiencing many of the same feelings and emotions. We are strengthened as a community as we reach out to support others and build understanding of our common values and experiences.    

Yeah. That’s a little more of an accurate and eloquent description.  Don’t let my immaturity and lack of focus pollute the beauty and power of this event.


Here’s how this thing goes down:

1. You gotta get up at the ass crack of dawn to make sure you actually get a lantern.  They only give out like 8000.  But you get to meet some cool people and make some new friends while you wait.  Everyone’s got their story of why they are at the event.  The only downside for me was that (a) it was hot as hell and (b) I had to deal with my ol’ nemesis The Port-o-Pottie.  That’s a terrifying tale for another time…

2. The foundation of the lantern is a mini-boat with a candle in the center.  The outside frame is some type of wax paper.  On each of the 4 sides, you can write a note, quote, message, or wish to the person or people you’ve lost.

Hawaii Lantern Floating notes

3. Towards the end of the day, you gather at the Ala Moana beach park.  There’s a festival with Taiko drumming, Hula dancing, some people getting on stage and sharing what this event means to them, and of course a few of those bikinis and dong thongs I mentioned above.

Hawaii Lantern Floating Taiko

4. After sunset, the lanterns are lit.  You take turns walking into the water and setting them out to sea.

5. At least for my family, we spent the rest of the night (and entire trip) sharing some good stories and memories of our loved ones.

Here’s a video I put together so you can see what I’m talking about.


Maybe the video will make you think of someone you’ve lost.  Maybe it will spark a good memory. I don’t know man.  For me, this event was more about a celebration then sadness.  If it triggers some other feeling for you, I’m sorry I even mentioned it.

But here’s what my family was talking about that night.  We can miss the ones we love, but we also should appreciate the fact that they were even a part of our lives in the first place.  How lucky were we to be able to spend some time with such great people?  Yes it was too short, but life is short.  Its here and gone in a flash, so appreciate da moment.

And if we can keep the ones we love always in our hearts and memories, and try to remember and live by the lessons they taught us, then they are never truly gone.  They’re just a part of our lives in a different, deeper way.

Is that just your hippie bullshit again Miyaki?  Maybe.  But its helping me get by.  Perhaps it will give you just a little peace of mind too.

If you ever happen to be in Hawaii over Memorial Day, I highly recommend you check out the event.  Words, and even videos, can’t truly describe the feeling you get when you write something meaningful to your loved ones, walk out into the water, and let go.