Emily Thiroux, author of the upcoming Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief, has written a new blog post about her family, read Emily’s post here.
Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family, and it means so much more. We refer to our Ohana as our chosen family, too. My son is my only blood family member who lives on Maui, but I am surrounded by chosen family members. Our feelings go deep. We truly support each other through life. My Ohana was there for me in Ron’s last weeks and after his transition. I felt so loved.
Shena came to Maui to live in the cottage on our property right after we got here. Cottages like this in Hawaii are also called Ohanas because they are often used for extended family living together in a compound like atmosphere. She has become my Ohana daughter and she calls me her Ohana Mama, a title I am delighted to have. We celebrate holidays together and know we can always depend on each other for anything we need.
I have other neighbors who are Ohana, too. We are always bringing each other food, stopping by to visit, or meditating together. Whatever we grow in our gardens, we share, and we have developed an extended Ohana with people who visit weekly to share the bounty of our gardens and eggs from our chickens as well as yummy foods we make with that bounty like luscious homemade dill pickles.
Before the pandemic, we celebrated Friendsgiving being sure to include anyone we knew who didn’t have someone to share Thanksgiving with. This was especially wonderful since Ron isn’t here to celebrate our favorite holiday with. We are trying to figure out now something creative to do this year since we can’t have a big gathering. We love and support each other in so many ways. I am eternally grateful for these wonderful people.
Do you have an Ohana, even if you call it something different, or maybe you haven’t recognized the group of people who are so special to you as a group? I made a list and discovered I have quite a few! I started with my Ohana, my traditional family, then added my Produce Share Family, my Intentions setting group, my book group, all the employees at the ambulance company I own, my Ventura friends, my faculty member friends at the University where I teach, and friends at Mango, the company who is publishing my book. And I could even list more!
Think of all the groups you belong to, formally or informally. I imagine that once you start our list you will realize you have more support and Ohana than you ever thought you do. If you don’t have a long list, what can you do to form a new Ohana of your own? Share some love and support!
A Comprehensive Guide to Reclaiming and Cultivating Joy and Carrying on in the Face of Loss
Rediscover sustained moments of joy as you seek a new way of being in the world. Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief guides and lightens the journey to positivity for those who feel the pain of loss, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a job, a marriage, a house, a pregnancy, a nest egg―anyone or anything that we loved and that is no longer in our lives. In this book, author and fellow griever Emily Thiroux Threatt provides you with strategies to embrace the process of learning how to start living again.