Dennis Pavao: Singing with the Angels

Saturday, January 19, 2002

Aue no ho`i e...

"The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

To lose one's wealth is sad indeed
To lose one's health is more
To lose one's soul is such a loss
As no man can restore.

The present only is our own,
Live, laugh and toil with a will,
Place no faith in tomorrow,
For the clock may then be still."

~ Author Unknown, Life's Clock

Previous entry: Dennis Pavao: Reminiscences: F, 01/18/02

Last night, before I went to bed, I checked in on the Hawaiian music newsgroup to read the following:

Aloha to all:

Well, it looks like I get the unfortunate task of passing this along.

According to KPOA and KNUI radio stations here on Maui, Dennis Pavao has passed away today. They have been doing musical tributes off and on all day.
Their choice of words during the morning hours certainly let us know this was immanent. Now it has been confirmed. 

The angelic voice of Dennis Pavao now sings with the angels.

Rich Shipley
Maui, HI

With age comes the increased familiarity with death and loss, and the knowledge that sudden loss is always more painful. Dennis' coma has  tempered the shock of his passing. That coma served as a gradient that helps me to now deal with the reality that he has moved on. 

I was braced. 

As the shock of Dennis Pavao's passing reverberates in the Hawaiian music community and among his countless fans, I join childhood friends who knew Dennis before he became a famous musician -- who were his earliest and most ardent fans -- in grieving over the loss of one of our own.  

One of "us" has moved on -- the second in our small class --  and we will not meet again on this good Earth. In the meantime, we are left with cherished memories of Dennis.  I will remember him as an unassuming young boy -- on the quiet side --  from Kalapana, who miraculously created a place for himself among the firmament of Hawaiian music stars.

The briefness of our time here is impressed upon me once more. Those precious souls we love will not forever be there to visit, write, call, email, or simply exist comfortably out of our sight, yet still within reach. 

There will not be another Dennis Pavao concert.  Another Dennis Pavao CD.  No next class reunion with Dennis. But Dennis will never be gone from us, as a part of him -- his soul -- lives on in each of us and in his music. So I speak to you, Dennis, not in the third person, but directly:  

Dennis, you gave us your all in your music and we are the beneficiaries. For it is your music and the memory of your smile that will continue to enrich our lives. Whatever sadness we might feel over your passing, it is tempered by your insistence in your music and life  -- and your joking -- that we turn ourselves to joy. I am reminded of George Harrison's exhortation on his "All Things Must Pass" CD:

Beware of sadness
It can hit you
It can hurt you
Make you sore and what is more
That is not what you are here for.

Knowing you, your joyful spirit, and your joy for life, I'd like to think that you'd agree with me:  That's good advice. But the news of your passing is still fresh, and sadness hits me hard.  I hurt.  I am sore.  But it is sage advice.  I will remember it and take it to heart another day.  

Not just yet.  

Dennis, as Rich Shipley put it so beautifully, you now sing with the angels.  I will listen for your sweet falsetto and the rustle of your wings... 



"Life is a Gift."

"The present only is our own,
Live, laugh and toil with a will."

Your classmate and friend, me ke Aloha, 
Author Unknown
AKA: Leilani 

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


September Morn  2002