Hundreds celebrate the life of teen killed in Pali Highway crash

Kamalani Kalama
Kamalani Kalama

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Rain fell and so did the tears, as friends, family and classmates celebrated the life of Kamalani Kalama.

“We lost a very, very special young lady that touched many people in the 13 years of her lifetime,” family friend Angie Rice said.

It was a life taken too soon on May 5 when the car Kalama was riding in crashed on the Pali Highway. The driver of the car, 33-year-old Mark Garcia, also died. The Medical Examiner says he was driving drunk.

“It’s a sad day, but it’s a blessing because we’re sharing our aloha with Kamalani like she would want us to do and we’re gonna keep her alive through this,” Rice said.

On Friday, hundreds gathered to celebrate Kamalani’s smile, wit, and the impact she had on so many.

“Kama changed our lives and how she taught us life lessons, and what she taught us is that we don’t have time for negativity and we just have to be positive all the time,” Kalama’s best friend Shayla Rice said.

“All around, she was just a good person. Everybody loved her,” Kalama’s best friend Cammie Baldwin said.

Kalama’s best friends formed a pact to never part. Now, they wear necklaces to remind them that she’s always with them.

“A lot of people have gotten these sunrise shells so that they can remember Kamalani and say that she’s shining down on us even though she’s not here with us,” Shayla Rice said.

Others wore blue to mark Kalama’s favorite color. Best friend, Hailey Hunt, honored what she says was a “typical Kamalani request.”

“We made a promise to each other that at each other’s funeral would wear something and dress up, so Kamalani asked me to be a butterfly, so I’m gonna keep that promise to her,” Hunt said.

As the showers rained down, so did Kalama’s spirit.

“Definitely blessings. Yes, she’s with us right now. I can see it,” Angie Rice said. “The rain is just an added blessing. That’s Kamalani crying with us. That’s Kamalani’s tears.”

There were tears of pain, but also of tears of joy.

“She’s always gonna watch over us, she’s our guardian angel,” Baldwin said.

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