Sunday, November 29, 2009

10 Years Ago

On Thanksgiving Day 10 years ago our son John set off on a great adventure. On November 19, 1999 he wrote this in his journal.
Next week is Thanksgiving week; there will be another big party on Thursday. I won't be there, just as I haven't been to any of their parties. I feel like a kill-joy, and I don't know how to tell people that I really do enjoy having a good time, just without alcohol, pot, sex, and gossip. For one of the two holidays that might actually have some meaning for me, I will be isolated again out of a need for self-preservation.

Instead of sticking around for the "party," John decided to hike across the valleys of the Kohala on the northern end of the Big Island. He meticulously studied the route and knew that he would not have a clear trail across the whole area. He was prepared to bushwack across the portion that had no trail. He had actually visited the area a few weeks before with some of his colleagues and he found it intriguing. I'm sure it reminded him of his beloved jungles of Brazil where he grew up. There were guava in abundance and he had eaten his fill and reveled in the beauty of the place.

So it was a good choice for a "get-away" and he anticipated he could do the arduous hike in the long 4 day Thanksgiving holiday. He packed his backpack with the essentials. As far as we know he took food for the 4 days, sleeping gear, a machete, miscellaneous camping and cooking gear, his Bible and perhaps some other reading material. He also carried a bamboo pole in which he carried maps. He did not anticipate the heavy rains he was to encounter. He was simply looking for a profitable and enjoyable way to spend the long weekend - an option to preserve his integrity by removing himself from the party scene.

He had written us an e-mail telling of his plans - an e-mail we didn't have access to until after his boss called us Monday evening to tell us John had not returned from his hike.

We often wonder what life would be like if John had not disappeared. I'm sure everyone who has had a loved one go missing can identify. But every Thanksgiving we thank our heavenly Father for the incredible gift that was John and for the 22 wonderful years he was with us.

You can read more of John's story in our e-book Aloha is Forever.


  1. A sad memory of Thanksgiving, but glad you can appreciate the time you enjoyed with your son.

  2. What a horrifying situation -- especially that you have apparently never had the resolution of knowing the full story of what happened to him. My heart goes out to you even now, ten years later, and I salute your ability to remain thankful for what you did have. Blessings on your book. I look forward to reading "the rest of the story."


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.