A woman's quest to find her homeless grandma on Oahu

A woman's quest to find her homeless grandma on Oahu

KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tara Lyman-Dobson, 23, hopped on a plane to Hawaii on Monday and traveled nearly 5,000 miles after hearing her grandmother, whom she had never met, was homeless, sick and living on the streets of Oahu.

On Wednesday, her mission was accomplished.

Just moments before that, she wiped the tears from her eyes after talking about it.

"I don't know what I'm going to say...I know I'm gonna say, 'Hi, I think you're my grandma,'" said Tara.

Tara, who lives in North Carolina, had never met her grandmother.  In fact, before Monday, Tara had never even seen a picture of her.  She got it when she arrived from the Honolulu Police Department.

"It was shocking to see it for the first time and it was sad to see her like that," Tara said.

"But it's hard for me to know how to feel about her because I never met her."

Tara's mother left her when she was just a baby.  After meeting her for the first time in December, Tara found her mother was homeless and ill too.  Her mother told her about her grandma in Hawaii.  Tara fears that her mother and grandmother's mental illness could run in her family and she is afraid that it could impact her and her brothers.

"It's clear that it runs in my family and I don't want them to end up like this," she said.

That's when Tara made the decision to travel to Honolulu.

"I'm looking for this woman, have you seen her," she asked a stranger.

Her search led her to Kamehameha Shopping Center.

"She's very familiar but I don't remember," said a woman.

Then, a number of leads took her to an address in Kalihi.

"You know sometimes in these situations they're not looking to be found and they don't know how to handle it," said Tara.

"So as nervous as I am, she would probably be more nervous," she said.

Regardless of her fear of the unfamiliar, Tara says even though it may not feel good, hopefully it will feel right.

Tara leaves to go back to school and work in North Carolina on Friday.  In the meantime, she is looking for safe housing for her grandmother.

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