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Hawaii Life. Hawaii Death. Maui’s Got You Covered

Generally when someone’s Facebook status boasts “Kickin’ it in Maui…,” we picture them hanging out in Wailea, perhaps beside an infinity pool overlooking the ocean with an over priced cocktail, a stringy bit of pineapple caught in their teeth, the scent of thick sunscreen dancing in the breeze, amid the sound of giddy conversations between bickering happy couples planning their day trip to Hana or their dinner at Mama’s.

Yeah, we don’t generally think they are talking about kicking it as in “kicking the bucket.” But sometimes (and hopefully after they’ve checked off most of the items on their “bucket list”), it could mean that someone is facing the end of their life.

Oh no, get ready for it – here it is – the “D” word. Death! – A topic that’s not generally found in Real Estate blogs, a topic that brings to mind visions of Harold and Maude speeding around in that crazy Jaguar hearse, or conjures the cackling reverberated laughter of Vincent Price’s segue into Michael Jackson’s Thriller Video. Thanks to Bodhi Be of Haiku Maui’s own “Death Store” that’s about to change.

Dying to Move to Maui?

Yes, I am proud to say that I live in a neighborhood that has one of the world’s only Death Stores. It’s one of the reasons I’m so proud of Maui. (Stay tuned for a new Death Store opening on the mainland.)

Maui attracts such a diverse range of characters, and one of the endearing traits of many of us is that we all came here to make a better life. And any better life that’s worth living also deserves a better death and that brings me to the mission of The Death Store. In the words of The Death Store’s Founder Bodhi Be, “Our general mission is to transform a culture…a culture that’s death phobic.”

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Urns, Cards, Candles

Hawaiian Burial at Sea

Bodhi greeted me at the store, and his calm manner and caring eyes put me at ease as he relayed the story of his earlier day’s task – taking a grieving family and their loved one’s body out into the deep blue Hawaiian waters for a beautiful burial at sea.

Complete with a ceremony on the boat, and a spreading of flowers on the water, a circling of the place where their family member was lovingly placed in the water – it sounded to me like a truly Hawaiian farewell.

It moved me and gave me permission to ponder the greatest of life’s mysteries. It was the perfect mental preparation for my attending the opening film of the Maui Film Festival: “Dying to Know.”

Cute, right?

Cute Coffin, Right?

Fun Facts About Death & Dying in Hawaii:

  • Burial at Sea is a legal option, but requires adhering to some guidelines, such as being outside the Humpback Whale Sanctuary and in water of at least 600 feet in depth
  • Locally made coffins are available at the Death Store (Buy Local!)
  • You are legally allowed to be buried on your own property (certain restrictions apply)
  • There are no restrictions for scattering ashes in the ocean
  • Some people choose a Cardboard Coffin and have friends and family decorate and bedazzle the coffin with art, loving notes, paint, and flowers

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Gotta Have a Hearse

Haiku, Maui’s One Stop Death Shop

Here’s the list of hats that Bodhi wears, taken right from his business card (I love this!):

  • Ordained Interfaith Minister
  • Independent Funeral Director
  • Notary Public
  • Hospice Volunteer
  • Coffin Maker
  • Crematory Apprentice
  • Death Midwife
  • End of Life Bereavement Counselor
  • Ceremonial Guide

Some Useful Information & Links

  1. Info on End of Life Care and Hospice can be obtained from The Death Store’s comprehensive website.
  2. Here’s a link for information on Sacred Burial Practices of the early Hawaiians.
  3. Another Maui “Death Midwife” and friend of mine Heather Neeraja Parsons can be contacted at neeraja@earthlink.net

How Would You Like to be Buried?

Personally, I’ve always thought I’d like to be dumped into a pit in my garden and composted. (Maggot Lu’au, anyone?) Let me know in the comments how you’d like to wrap up your journey on the planet!

And lastly, I can’t let you get away without my big Real Estate schmooze: If you’re dying to move to Maui, literally or otherwise, I would be happy to find you the perfect spot. If you need to be close to the Death Store and the million other cool things on Maui’s north shore, here’s a link to some North Shore and Haiku, Maui Real Estate.

Enjoy the pictures of our community’s very own Death Store below.

Liam S. Ball R(S)
Call or Text: 808.280.7809
liam@hawaiilife.com

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Molli

June 6, 2014

I hope i never have to go the”maggot lu’au!”
I held a dear wish for many years to have my body roasted and my loved ones could come feast on my flesh. But people were soooo not open to that…
I didnt know the laes re burial at sea. How interesting!!!
I have been to The Death Store once. Just doing a 10 minute walk thru was very altering.
You cant go there without trying your own death on for size… A very worthwhile thing to do on a regular basis!
Love you for writing this, and think well of Hawaii Life for including it on the site!

Molli

June 6, 2014

I hope i never have to go the”maggot lu’au!”
I held a dear wish for many years to have my body roasted and my loved ones could come feast on my flesh. But people were soooo not open to that…
I didnt know the laes re burial at sea. How interesting!!!
I have been to The Death Store once. Just doing a 10 minute walk thru was very altering.
You cant go there without trying your own death on for size… A very worthwhile thing to do on a regular basis!
Love you for writing this, and think well of Hawaii Life for including it on the site!

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