The Echo of Love: 'Ōhi‘a Lehua


A favorite mo'olelo of mine is that of 'Ōhi‘a and Lehua.  I thought of the story a lot when I heard the news.  You can read it in full here at Ke Ola Magazine.
But I'll give you guys the abridged version:
Pele, in a fit of rage, had killed this couple because she was incredibly jealous and if she could not have 'Ōhi‘a then fuck him, Lehua, and the horse they rode in on.  However, Lehua's 'aumakua, an 'apapane, and the spirits of the forest they were able to survive the two by turning them into the 'Ōhi‘a Lehua tree.  'Ōhi‘a now and forever holds the beautiful Lehua in his arms.  I find it to be funny how this is also one of the first plants to sprout from a fresh lava flow as if though flipping off Pele, and saying nice try bro.  A sad but lovely tale of how true love transcends time, any obstacle, and death, to me at least.

Love can not be measured systematically through observation or experiments; you can not store in a jar, put it in a box, or keep it in a locket close to your heart.
Recently, one of my patients passed away.  He was in hospice, so it was something everyone was expecting.  It was still hard to watch someone slowly slip away.  I've experienced death in my life many a time, but always in a sideblinding and swift kick to the genitals.  Never like this.  His wife and I became fairly close, and as each day passed I felt her pain a little more.  Love is not something we can see, but we can witness the actions taken as a result of loving someone, an expression of this mythical creature.  Every gingerly lain kiss on his forehead, every tear that rolled down her cheek, every restless night she had.
I thought about love and what it means to me, how I give it life-make it tangible to those around me.  I thought about the ones I love.  It's been a month now, and I've thought about this almost every day.  I have no idea.

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