Just a few of us attended the chapel service on Sunday morning. Though its the official end of Alumni week, its not easy to sit through the reading of hundreds of names of alumni that have passed on. We heard the names of our grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, even our children. As Laureen Kim and Sam Tong read the names of our 34 classmates that have passed on, we stood bravely together and quietly shed our tears.
Lin Oi Laeha
Scott St. Clair
Aileen Cox Araujo did a an awesome job of creating a poster of pictures of these classmates for our Class Night celebration. (You can see the poster in the picture posted above). The stark reality is that poster will have another 10-12 pictures on it by the time we gather again for our 45th reunion in 2017. Since 2000, we're losing classmates at a rate of about two every year. That's one of the reasons why these reunions are so important. It gives us the opportunity to interact with people who mean something to us and keeps us connected between reunions. Another reminder that life is fragile and brief.
As we start moving through the coming reunions, we're going to start seeing people that have never been to a reunion before. Whatever the reasons they didn't attend in the past are not important now, what's important is they showed up now. One person who showed up this time that's never attended before is Barry Yamada. Several of us had a chance to talk to him and we all got the same response.
"It was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. I didn't think people cared much about whether or not I came, but I couldn't believe how people responded to me. I'll never miss another one," he said.
Our class is unique in that way. As a group we're engaging, inclusive and welcoming and we get better as we get older because start to understand that very few things about our lives are as important as our relationships. As Pastor Elwin Ahu said at Class Night, "it's all about gratitude" and we're all grateful to be part of a loving and close-knit group of people.
Several of our classmates who didn't make the luau have been emailing their thoughts so I'm going to be posting those on this site in the coming days. I'll do the best I can to keep us updated if you'll send me updates. I've decided to go back to posting on the blog because not everyone is on Facebook, so these blogs will appear as a link on Facebook, but anyone can access it regardless of your Facebook status.
It's my pleasure and honor to serve my classmates in this way. And I'll keep doing it until my name is finally read on Sunday.
Mahalo and Aloha to you all