Home / / Kawehi


Age | 11

Photographer| Laurie Breeden Callies

My sister Leilani was nineteen years old when she passed in 2009. She had leukemia. Leilani made me feel happy and safe and when I was with her it felt like it was just us talking and playing. We used to play video games on the DS and battle it out. I helped by giving her a big hug if she was having a hard time. I would also visit her at the hospital and make her laugh. I was so proud of her because she would never give up. Like if there was a bone marrow test and it was the only way to get some of the cancer out, she would say, “Ok, let’s give it a try.” She kept fighting the cancer and she never stopped. “ Thank you Leilani for always believing in me. Like when I thought I failed the test for the HSA. Always know that I love you and when I have a hard time doing something, I will think about what you would do and it will give me confidence.”

I am a friendly person and smart at math.
I can be athletic.
I will be the best homicide detective

Kawehi is a very caring child. She took this photograph at her sister’s favorite beach. Kawehi misses Leilani very much but she is filled with a special childlike faith that helps her cope with the situation. She shares a lot about how she envisions Leilani’s days in heaven. Kawehi and Leilani used to read, watch TV, movies and play Wii together. I’m proud that Kawehi is taking on this challenging project since her “subject” is absent. Kawehi had to think extra hard to figure out how to “capture” her sister on film. I am hopeful that Kawehi will thrive in school. She has not fully grasped her lifelong dreams yet so we hope her decisions are educated ones. “Kawehi, I have told you this before but I want you to believe and remember with all of your being that you are the most important thing in my life. I love you more than words.”

Valeri | Mother

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