Mahalo For All The Kind Words
Wednesday - February 24, 2010
Two weeks ago I sat on my living room floor in front of my laptop with a heavy heart. I’m not sure what flowed more freely that evening, my words or my tears, as I shared our family’s tremendous loss with all of you.
Frankly, I hesitated to write a column about the death of my black Labrador Zeus. I questioned if I was overstepping my role as an ocean-related columnist. I was exposing a very raw and emotional chapter of my personal life for all to read, and it had nothing to do with the Pacific blue. In a bizarre way, I felt vulnerable not knowing how my sadness would be received.
My worries were quickly put to rest first by MidWeek editors Don Chapman and Terri Hefner, then by publisher Ron Nagasawa and finally by many of you.
Simply stated, my family and I were blown away by the heartfelt e-mails, greeting cards, phone calls and letters we received and continue to receive. I truly had no idea so many island residents have endured the roller coaster of emotions that one experiences following the loss of their best friend.
I won’t share details from the letters we received for I am sure the responses were made to us on a personal level. But I will say this: Your thoughtful words and wonderful stories are helping us heal.
At first, the e-mails poured in from dog owners who had experienced long relationships with their four-legged family members. Many of you shared how your “Zeus” watched the children grow up just like ours did. Others thanked me for reminding them of how lucky we are and how precious but short our time is with our pets.
The words “unconditional love” were expressed over and over again. I am grateful for those of you, at least 40 at last count, who sent me a copy of the poem Rainbow Bridge. Someone special in your life recognized the need for you to receive these powerful words and you passed it along. I will do the same for others in my life. That’s what relationships are all about.
Then I started receiving similar words of comfort from cat owners and those who lost the family bunny. There were parakeet, cock-atoo and parrot owners and even someone who lost the family fish.
I thank all of you who attached a photo with your e-mail. I have saved every one of them and I promise each one made me laugh ... a few made me cry.
One family even sent me a book called For Every Dog an Angel, the “perfect way to remember that timeless connection to your special four-legged friend.” My daughter Haven quietly picked it up tonight and started reading it. I know it comforted her. Thank you.
The names of your loved ones were wacky and fun. There was Pom, Spotty, Toby, Bodacious, Buddy, Pono, Koa, Dobie, Smokey, Maka’i, Pumpkin, Shadow, Timmy, Chase, Maggie, Miracle, Hoku and, yes, even a Zeus. I wish I could list them all, but it would take an entire column to do so. Please know, I loved every story and read each one with gratitude, and again a few made me cry.
For those who encouraged us to consider opening our hearts and home to another friend, we most certainly will, but for now we will embrace memories of our dear old boy. We’ll know when we’re ready. Heck, someone even said the next Zeus may find us.
So as I reflect back and recall my original apprehension, I know now that I made the right choice opening up to all of you. I hope those who were in need found comfort in our story. I know this: Your kind words, gentle thoughts and warm wishes have comforted us.
Mahalo nui loa from the bottoms of our hearts,
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