My good friend Cynthia is dying. (Update: Cynthia passed away at 7:00 p.m., January 24, 2012) (Photo left: Cynthia and her beloved dog Ili) Word this morning from Maile:

“Please join us in the mantel of prayer around her these next few days, weeks as she goes over, and while she is getting her bearings on the other side.   The golden ball of love and light around her is so palpable and growing …….   and she is relaxing into it and allowing.   Masha’allah!”

I have many stories of Cynthia; I met her in 2002 at the same time I was just getting to know the Friends of the Mevlevi Order of America, the Whirling Dervishes. She and Maile, who would grow into a friend of the best kind, have known each other since they were 15 and living in Honolulu.

My first “incident” with Cynthia was the night she and Maile thought they were complimenting me by calling me a Hootin’ Cracker! I raised one eyebrow, turned towards them (all in show of course) and said, “Are you calling me funny white trash?” It is a story that we still giggle about it. To elaborate, Maile said with my southern accent, and the way I used hoot (“That’s a hoot.”) and she had heard the word cracker used in regard to southerners, that she thought she was giving me a compliment.

Not long after meeting Cynthia she said she had so much to do at her place in Kipahulu (on the eastern tip of Maui) to prepare for a tenant to stay at her place while she traveled to Turkey. She was going on a rug buying adventure and was really excited. I volunteered to help her (a wonderful opportunity to get to see Kipahulu through the eyes of a resident as opposed to driving through!) and we spent the day washing windows and eating a nice picnic lunch on her porch.

When I walked into her home I was stunned at the beauty of it. Instead of drywall she had covered her walls with silk. The fire code folks made her take it down later but for a brief time it was like living in a palace with these beautiful soft prints surrounding every room.

That is Cynthia in my mind. Silk walls, beautiful flower arrangements, movies, fun parties, and laughing. And what parties she could pull off! She held a Turkish Bazaar at my home that brought in friends, family, neighbors, folks from the community. Party doesn’t even begin to describe the fun we had that day. The house filled with music, food, rugs, jewelry, and people having such a wonderful time. She also managed to raise quite a good sum to help pay for her medical treatments.

Cynthia arranged all the flowers for Maile’s son Clifton’s wedding. I’m not talking about a few floral arrangements for the tables. I’m talking a massive undertaking. She asked me to bring some ginger from my property but at the time they were all rather scraggly. My neighbor had these gorgeous hanging jade flowers and Cynthia created the gazebo with them for the wedding ceremony.

Cynthia–the epitome of beauty, grace, joy, adventure, and of course, all the other human elements that we all have. She was always surprised that I wanted to spend time with her, that I loved her as much as I did. I know she believes it now.

She came to my house the day after her sixtieth birthday and said she “..just had to come in person and tell you about this dream I had about us last night!”


With her usual elaborate gestures and facial expressions she told me of the dream. “We were in a foreign city, Istanbul maybe. We were standing by this ancient wall. There were pukas [holes] in your body and pain was coming out and love was going in.”

That dream came at a time when that was exactly what was going to occur for the next year for me. I’ve heard that you are every element in a dream you have. In this telling of that dream I realized that she was in fact me and it was all about her, too. That next year she had much to deal with and accept and as she is passing I know that the pain is flowing out of her and love is filling her up.

I love you Cynthia. You will be missed by more folks than this page has room to hold their names. Have a wonderful journey. I am there with you in spirit.


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