We had the great good fortune of being able to spend quite a bit of time with Honey Girl (pictured above), the gorgeous denizen of Lanikea Beach, just hours before poachers decided to end her life.
This touched us all greatly: my parents have taken our whole family (my sister's & mine, 13 of us, total) to Hawaii quite often in the past ten years, and Lanikea is one of our favorite destinations and fondest memories.
Our wonderful trips to Oahu have been a magnificent exercise in continuing to build family (something my parents have, for 50 years, been very good at), and there are not enough words in the OED for me to tell you how much this means to all of us, how much effort and planning and love (and extreme funding) have gone into this on my parents part, how much the cousins have maintained good contact and great friendships because of it...
It's impossible, basically, to explain the gift my parents have given their children and grandchildren. But I can say this: as the Hawaiians collectively mourned Honey Girl...just days after our family saw her, and her pack, and marveled at their beauty and presence...I understood Kuhina, and what happened next, completely. As the media reported in Hawaii, Kuhina--a turtle from Honey Girl's pack--"emerged from the North Shore surf and settled in front of Honey Girl's memorial," as if to say "goodbye."
Kuhina knew from family, as they say. Kuhina knew Honey Girl was gone, and he knew that his presence honored her.
How better can we honor family than to be present, whether with or without them?
Mom and Dad, thanks for the presence. Love, loyalty and faith are not speedy accoutrements: they find their provenance in hearts with wisdom and fortitude, like yours. The turtle wins the race every time. Just like you always told us. Aloha nui loa.