Closure at Punchbowl

Dear Bob & Sue, Patrick, Michael & Marcia, Terry & Susan, Barbara & Tom, Brian & Natalie, Dirk & Leah, Bill, David & MIchelle, Dan & Kerri,

On Friday, September 13, 2013, the ashes of our dear Mother (Mother-in-Law, Nana) were laid to final rest in the grave of our Father (Father-in-Law, Grandpa) at Punchbowl Cemetery, Honolulu.

Punchbowl is a beautiful and impressive cemetery.  This is the view when you enter.  Because of the telephoto lens, the huge field between the entry flagpole and the monument appears foreshortened.  It’s quite a long ways away when you are there looking at it in person.
View at entry of Punchbowl National Cemetery

View at entry of Punchbowl: aka  National Cemetery of the Pacific

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

The granite marker of Dad’s grave had been cleaned and polished for the occasion.  A new one has been ordered, which will add “Myra R, Barthelow” and the dates of her life.
They told us that it should be installed in a couple of months.  David said to tell all the family that if they visit Hawaii, he will be happy to take them to Punchbowl to see the grave.
Dad's grave with Mom's ashes in wood "casket".

Dad’s grave with Mom’s ashes in wood “casket”.

An opening had been dug to receive Mom’s ashes.  After the box was placed in it, the groundskeeper filled the remaining space with dirt and sand, and then replaced the sod and tamped it down, adding more sand around the edges.


This is how it looked afterwards.  They will come back soon and water the gray sand into the grass.  The flowers will be left for awhile.
It felt good to know that Mom’s and Dad’s wishes have been fulfilled.  We were lucky to have them as our parents, and now their remains are together in this beautiful place.
Grave of A.J. and Myra Barthelow

Grave of A.J. and Myra Barthelow

Dad used to say that he could afford to vacation in Hawaii, but not live there.  So he planned to be buried at Punchbowl.  His Hawai’i residence came all too soon, at age 57.  I always thought he did well with this plot in Paradise — a favored location in the heights, with excellent views.


This is the closest tree to the grave, on an access road.  Our longtime friend Suzanne is standing there.  She remembers Mom fondly.  David and I were there to represent the family, and I like to think that Suzanne stood in for all the others who knew Mom and what a very special person she was.


After we said goodbye to Mom and Dad, we went to pay our respects to Uncle Boyd.  He also has a good location, just up the hill from Dad.

Uncle Boyd’s grave.

We left a plumeria lei on his grave.  Back in the 1960s and ’70s, Auntie Fern used to live on Punchbowl street.  Whenever they needed to make a lei for someone, she and Boyd would go up to the cemetery and sneak some plumeria blossoms.  There are lots of plumeria trees at the cemetery, along with magnificent monkeypod, banyan, jacaranda and many other varieties of trees.  The Hawaiians call the fragrant plumerias “graveyard flowers”, probably because they were planted in profusion in the cemetery surrounding the old coral-block Kawaiahao Church, where Christian missionaries in the 1800s introduced a new religion and culture to the indigenous people of the Hawaiian islands.
You can see some plumerias in the photo below.  A stately jacaranda has carpeted the ground with a lavender haze.  Beyond it are the much smaller plumeria trees with deep pink blossoms.  i wonder if the lady in red is there to sneak some blossoms to make a lei?


Aloha, Iz


This entry was posted in Hawaii on by .

About iz

I am retired and enjoying life. My love of travel, especially in Europe, is rooted in my upbringing as an "Army Brat". Interests include family, reading, walking, hiking, writing, art, speaking French and helping others.

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