March 18, 2010

Remembering Iz

Thirteen years ago my hero died. However, I did not know because he became my hero three years later. Walking down the sidewalk in the Californian summer, I was crying to the tune of "N Dis Life." It was the song played at his funeral, while the Hawaiian flag was lowered to half-mast, telling a tale of pure love.

"Let the world stop turning,
Let the sun stop burning,
Let them tell me love's not worth going through,
If it all falls apart, I will know deep in my heart,
The only dream that mattered had come true--
In this life I was loved by you..."

In California, I was a misplaced Hawaiian, thrust into the chaotic Mainland worries. Homework seemed pointless, cliques were aggravating, and everyone worried about outside appearances instead of being happy with themselves. They bottled their genuine feelings and hid them from the world. I was sick of it--with Iz I felt free to cry. Some people say he was larger than life, playing off his extreme obesity problems, but to me it was the truth. Even though his songs are criticized for being cliche, Life is cliche. When you love someone, you say "I love you." When you hate someone, you yell "I hate you!" Just because many people have said it before, does not make it less special or meaningful. A single voice whispering "I love you" with intense honestly is worth more than a million people rushing to get married before taking this thing Love seriously.

Iz taught me to love. And the reason a young girl was walking to Karate class, listening to her CD player, and crying in the middle of a school-free summer time is because the one person who taught her the true meaning of love had died. And she had learned three years after.

"I'm sorry!" I sputtered into my pillow, the night before, "I didn't know! Why did you have to die?" I only had one CD of his and I played it through the night, until I fell asleep and accidentally kicked the CD player off the bed.

Since then, I have never really had a hero quite like him. I do not know much about him or his life, but the connection between his voice and my soul has never faded. The sun shines in my life because of him, the snow glistens like white sand. To me, no matter where I am, I can remember his pure voice and the message he left the world, not with a physical voice but a spiritual one. It is embedded in Hawaiian culture--Nature, love, and faith. Love Nature, love thyself, love thy neighbor, and have faith. The only non-politician given a funeral at the Capitol building, Iz was larger than life, and his songs were more than just cliche words. They rung true in a world full of lies, and even a little girl knew to cherish something like that.

It is Spring thirteen years later, and I still remember Iz Kamakawiwo'ole. May you be laughing and singing up in Heaven, Iz.


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