MPW.71 / 2019 Ho’o Maka Hou (To See Life with New Eyes) by DaShaunae Jackson-Lewis
Photographer
DaShaunae Jackson-Lewis Cleveland, Ohio
Team Cliff & Vi

Story Summary

For the last 25 years, John Kumia and Ken Critchfield have gardened, played piano, discussed politics, and laughed together in the house on 3rd Street in Booneville, Missouri. They met in 1982 in Honolulu when Ken, who was a nurse, cared for John. It took a couple of years for them to fall in love, but in 1994, they packed up their belongings and moved 3,971 miles to Ken’s hometown in central Missouri.

In recent years, John, 63, has cared for Ken, 77, who has battled several illnesses and recently decided to stop medical care. He wants to enjoy his time at home with John, their dog Aubrey and their cat Stretch. He said he feels at peace with his life, though he worries about John’s life without him.

John says “Ho’o Maka Hou,” a Hawaiian phrase meaning “to see life with new eyes.” He now finds himself preparing emotionally and mentally for the next phase.