I just wanted to share a few little stories to show who Philomina Akana was to me
Who here’s a morning person? I used to think I was a morning person, but my grandma would be up at 4:45am sharp everyday without the need for any alarm. She’d immediately hit the ground running; preparing a ham or turkey sandwich for grandpa’s morning golf, making breakfast for my aunt, and ensuring that we were set up to have the most successful day possible. She would prepare papaya, grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe, melons, and my least favorite prunes.
She made sure we had our prunes to prevent… irregularity of the bowels! Our household ate prosperously every morning. I remember vividly that only after she had prepared everyone else’s food, would she have her slices of cheddar cheese, soda crackers, and coffee while reading the daily paper. She did this every morning without fail showing that not only was consistency important but devoted care to her family.
I remember being woken up to the loud cracking of my door knob when it was time to get ready for school. Grandma always lovingly reminded me that it was time to wake up which of course as an adolescent… you don’t. I always hit the snooze button. As a teen you never get up on the first alarm which is why you wait for the second… or fifth in my case.
After realizing that I was not about to get out of bed on my own, grandma would come in five minutes later briskly taking off my blanket and offering logical advice that unfortunately made so much sense, “you know what son… you should’ve slept earlier. You knew you had to wake up early!”
Her dedication to her family’s wellbeing showed me the strength that one loving person can have for not only their whole family but their friends as well. Every Thanksgiving my grandma and grandpa would work tirelessly thru the morning to make the “perfect” Thanksgiving meal. When I say perfect, it was always something I looked forward to throughout the year. Those that got to enjoy their cooking know how delicious that meal was.
Feeding the family an unforgettable meal was so important to her but sharing that work with friends was equally crucial. I can reminisce about going with grandma to the neighbors’ houses as a young boy bringing turkey, stuffing, desserts, and anything that we could share with our neighbors. In her mind that day was a day to share the joys that her family experienced with her friends! As a kid to my late teens, I remember bringing food in those styrofoam to-go boxes from the Chinese restaurants we used to eat at. The food was carefully packed together in the Hawaiian Sun soda half boxes to make sure they got to their destination safely. Grandma sure was resourceful!
I learned generosity and commitment to others through this woman’s love for the world, and maybe I can share one last story to end my little segment. When I had heard my grandma’s passing, my world imploded. It was unrealistic to me even though I had tried to mentally prepare the week before when she told me these last words. She looked me dead in the eye and told me, “this might be our last talk.” She had already known life was nearing its end. The one thing she chose to say to me was the most loving statement ever:
“Son you brought so much joy to papa and I in our old age.”
I will never forget this remark, and I will forever be left in service to this world in spreading the love that she and grandpa showed to me all my life.
The story doesn’t end there though. It was a weird day. My alarm didn’t go off, and I had slept in on accident. That morning, I got the saddening text from my dad reassuring all of us that although grandma was no longer with us, grandma passed away peacefully.
I left to go to the hospice which took a decent amount of time because it was storming all the way from Mililani until i got to the hospice. Heavy rain filled the air, and the roads were flooded. Filled with sadness I eventually got to the hospice, entered the room, and placed one final kiss on grandma’s forehead. I noticed she had a faint but distinguishable smile to let everyone know that although she was no longer here physically, she’d always be with us in our hearts.
In the parking lot, the strangest thing happened. The sun was out with not a single cloud in sight. I almost thought I was hallucinating, but the little droplets of water were still on the cars outside. The sun was out, and I felt a comforting warmth which to me was grandma saying everything is going to be alright! Even to this day, she still looks out for my well being and looks out for yours as well! Anyways that was the stories I wanted to share!