Ulani’s discovery of ancestry she did not know she had began a short time before her grandmother’s death. During Ulani’s grandmother’s final days, Ulani returned to Hawaii and, with other members of the family and friends, took turns sitting with the old woman in the hospital. She was in and out of consciousness, and in some pain, but there was nothing more the doctors could do for her.
One afternoon, when Ulani was with her, the old woman abruptly sat up in her bed. Her eyes were wide open, urgently searching about the room. When they landed on Ulani, the old woman smiled.
“Tutu? You OK? You need the nurse?” Ulani asked.
Ulani’s grandmother held out her hand and Ulani took it in hers. “No, my girl. No. Please. Come sit next to me,” Her grandmother said, patting the bed. “I’m so glad it’s you,” the old woman continued. “I have something to tell you. Something secret.”
Ulani raised her eyebrows and giggled. “Oh, Tutu, please don’t worry. Everything will be OK. We’ll all be fine. You just rest, now.” she teased.
“This is important, and, well, you, I can trust. Now come here,” she indicated once again to the side of the bed and Ulani sat beside her as instructed.
“I meant to keep our family’s secret, if only for your father’s sake. Take it to the grave with me. But, just now, I remembered the letters.” Ulani’s grandmother paused, and took both Ulani’s hands in hers. “He can’t find them. Your father. I’ll tell you where they are, and I want you to promise me, before I’m gone, you’ll get them out of the house. What you decide to do with them is up to you, but I wouldn’t share anything you learn from them with your father.”
Ulani mind jumped to a what she thought an obvious conclusion. “Tutu…are you trying to tell me, that…are you trying to tell me the letters are love letters? Are you trying to tell me Papa Gregson wasn’t daddy’s father?!”
“No, good Lord, no, girl,” Ulani’s grandmother shook her head with great exaggeration. “Nothing like that, at all. Your grandfather was my whole world.”
Ulani was relieved to hear it. “So, what’s the big secret? Why can’t daddy know?”
“You know your father. A very proud Hawaiian. It was bad enough, where he’s concerned, you marrying a haole. At least Arturo is Filipino, I told him. Anyway, you’ll understand. You are the one who will understand. I trust you, my girl. But some things are not for everyone to ever know. Promise?”
Next part sometime this week…