This past month, I was lucky enough to take some time off work and travel throughout the Hawaiian Islands. At Distinctive Life, we pride ourselves in focusing on living your best life, so I figured this trip was a chance to really embrace this company philosophy (Seeing lava and swimming with sea turtles is on my #BucketList, so this counts as work right?). However, I really saw the power of a meaningful life lived, not when checking items off my bucket list, but when I unexpectedly attended a stranger’s funeral.
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano and the highest peak in Hawaii. The summit of Mauna Kea is one of the only places in Hawaii that receives snow, and so it is famous for its spectacular snowy sunrises. So naturally, my travel group could not resist driving up the mountain to see the best sunrise in Kona. The group consisted of myself, my best friend from college, his father, his mother, his aunt, and his younger cousin. Little did I know, there was one more person on our trip than I originally thought.
The night came for the long drive up the volcano. We sleepily woke up for the 3 AM drive, but the sunrise was worth it. You could see the entire island from the summit. Standing in the snow and overlooking the beach was otherworldly. However, the real surprise came when my friend’s mother and aunt took out a small urn.
I had not realized that the family had planned to make the sunrise a memorial to their late mother, who had passed a year earlier. The sisters scattered some of the ashes at sunrise saying that, “She would have loved to come on this family vacation with us.” I could not imagine a better place to honor the memory of a loved one.
So here is what I learned:
1. An underrated benefit of cremation is that memorializing your loved one is not restricted to just the funeral day. Cremation is a great option for those who may want to have several memorials throughout the years.
2. Another benefit of cremation is that you can easily travel with your loved one. With the right urn, your family can have a memorial anywhere.
3. If you have the opportunity to climb a volcano, do it. It’s totally awesome.