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Sunday, September 09, 2007

kuulei writes

This was written by my lovely friend Kuulei. I thought it to be a beautiful tribute, resounding with purity and love, and wanted to share it. It is with her permission that it is published here on my blog.

Goodbye Travis

There are times when you feel inspired to do something - you know, you get an idea or an inner nudge to do something. I think we all get these inspirations all of the time, but sometimes we just don't listen or follow through. This is a short example of why you should follow through when you can.

If there is ever anything I can offer you my family and friends, I will. You have my dedication to be there for you when you call and for each of you to always know with firm surety that I really, really love you and will never forget you - never ever because it's just not possible to disconnect once you are in my heart.

And now, the good bye…

I've been friends with Travis Cantrell for years now. He was Mark's old roommate, but more importantly definitely a soul mate type for me. We used to joke around about how he must have been my husband in a former life because of the way we came together so seamlessly on pretty much everything. He was my Phoebus, my Sun God and I was his saving angel goddess he'd said. But we got on with our lives, our summer talks soon ended, and our ways parted. Over the years, I often thought of him and where he'd gone - he left on an adventure to make movies, write beautiful scripts, and find love. I hoped that one day I'd see him again.

My life settled in the winter of 2006. I felt I needed Travis back in my life, so I looked for him. I found him again around Christmastime on MySpace of all places. We spent Christmas night together, talking about everything that had changed in the past decade that we had been absent from one another. It finally made sense why no matter how much we loved each other that we'd never come together - he had chosen a different path, one that as a woman, I could not be involved in.

We talked about our dreams and how we would leave this life and what would come after. He had so many questions and we never had enough time to talk. We promised not to lose each other again and then our happy season began.

Then we had a great 3 month run together. I'd go up to see him at work to keep him company and he'd scoop me up in his strong arms. We'd laugh because people actually thought we were together. He secretly enjoyed pretending to be interested in me for the sake of putting on a good show. He loved to see me happy, spinning around him while he tried to look like a mean Bouncer, and me laughing at him because I knew better.

Our favorite thing to do was walking together through the club. I'd take his arm and we'd find our place at the head of the room and look at everyone like they were simple subjects that we were rulers over. We'd stand there statuesque, noble, and beautiful in our little bubble, and then break down laughing because we knew that we were acting like idiots. He'd send me off to play and dance, ever keeping me under his vigilant eye. I was definitely his girl - as much as I could have been.

He was the best Valentine's "date" I ever had. We walked around talking about the couples who passed us and he would mimic their postures. He held me close and tight to his side - but when he was whispering to me it was not about us, it was about what a good game this was. I enjoyed our secrets, and yet often wondered how this strong yet delicate man would find his way.

We'd talk about so many things, but mostly how his sensitive soul was deeply troubled at his outcast status in this world. He suffered from a heart too big and no one to love him back the same. That idea was always at the core of what we spoke about.

He would plead with me to help make sense of it all. All I could do was love him and offer him my arms as comfort. He often cried out to me for what he called "my light" as we talked about life after this and how all things may happen. I didn't ever know what to say to him except that of course our Lord loved him and that all things would be well because he knew Travis' heart. When I would hold him close to me when we'd part, I'd often pray that he'd be kept safe until we'd meet again.

Then we had silence again. He had stuff to get figured out and so did I. We kept in touch with the occasional email, mostly me saying "Hey Sun God, I miss your shiny face!!!" And then last week, I emailed him because I felt him calling to me strong and deep. I needed to see him and have him in my arms. He replied that we needed to talk, that he had so many things to tell me, and that I should come up and visit him over the weekend at work. He left me his number and asked me to call.

Friday night came and went. In the pit of my stomach, I knew I should drive up and see him. But sadly, I let it go and took the invitation for granted, thinking that there will always be next weekend.

Monday night, I felt sad and thought of Travis. I wanted to see him; it was again like I could hear him calling to me. I walked a couple of miles and found a quiet place on the lawn on the temple hill. I sat down looking over the city we once ran around in and called him. There was no answer. I left him a message, apologizing for not coming up this weekend, but letting him know that I wanted to see him.

I sat on the there and thought of Travis. I wondered how his life was faring in Salt Lake, and if he had found a way to bind up that wounded heart of his. Mostly, I longed to be with him, to have his eyes fall on me and our smiles meet in our reunion.

It got late, and I called again and left another message, telling him that I was sorry I missed him but that I'd try again tomorrow. Then I took a moment and stood staring up at the moon, contemplating the lunar eclipse, knowing that it was something Travis would love. It was a quiet walk home, mulling over old memories.

I went to the gym this morning, somehow fully expecting to see him there in the corner lifting. I got my bag when I was leaving and I had one message. It was Kristen; she told me that Travis had died. I know I should have been more surprised, but I think my heart knew it Monday night, that he was gone and that the calling I heard from him in my mind was his way of saying goodbye. I still cannot believe it is true, and now I sit here wondering how I will feel on Thursday, seeing him lying still, so very beautiful, but empty, not my Travis anymore.

The things that we need to remember about Travis are that he was not made for this world or this harsh life. Regardless of the turns that his life took, regardless of the choices that others would frown on or not agree with, regardless of the golden promise of his many talents and abilities that will not have full expression here and now, he was a tender son of God, a man who would not find peace in this life, but who will most assuredly find peace in the next.

I hope that one day when I pass from this life, that he will be there waiting for me, to welcome me in, to finally share that hug we missed this weekend, and to let our smiles and souls intertwine because we will have found each other again. I hope that he will keep his watch over all of those he loved and that he will finally feel the love and peace that was meant for him.

Kuulei Hanamaikai
August 28, 2007


La Yen said...

I heart that Red Kuulei.

LuckyRedHen said...

Oof. LOVE this tribute! [hug] for Kuulei.

Carina said...

I empathized with this post so much; it made me remember the sensitive souls that I've also had the privilege of knowing. They have blessed my life. I'm sorry that you've lost someone so close to you. The worst part is missing them from your day to day life.

(You're an amazing writer.)

sue-donym said...

Beautiful tribute.

Geo said...

Dear Kuulei,

Neither your beautiful friend nor beautiful you nor I nor any one of us are "made for this world or this harsh life." Gratefully, we are all intended for somewhere better, someplace purer, an existence where we will ultimately satisfy the longing questions of our souls, a home where we will unmistakably find the power to finally comprehend love. There is nothing but compassion and hope ahead of us. I believe you are so right to look expect good, good things. It must be a comfort to our heart to remember the love you shared.

Thank you for sharing your experience. It's very human and very sacred together.

Geo said...

A comfort to YOUR heart, that is.

(But your telling your story is also comforting to me.)

QueenScarlett said...

Kuulei - you have touched me. What a rich friendship. What a good man to have in your life.

My Ku'ulei said...

Thank you for the kindness and insight in your comments. I appreciate Jenny for posting this.

This tribute was a very personal thing that I had actually only written for his family, but it did make sense to read it at his funeral once his Mom heard it.

I think that there are times when we all need to be seen as vulnerable and human - to be put out in the open so that others can exercise their own love and compassion. I believe those feelings inspire us to make better choices, to forgive, to smile and look up and onward, generally, to allow the best of our souls to be manifested in our daily thoughts, deeds, and actions.

I wanted to share the abundance of a form of unconditional love that we experienced in our friendship, even if it was only a glimpse.

Most of all, I wanted Trav to know that he was known and well loved. It was like we wrote it together - my dear Trav - its not so heart breaking when I think of him smiling and laughing remembering that we did have some good times together. He is definitely in a better place :)

Again I appreciate all of your comments and thanks again.


b. said...

Absolutely a deep and powerful way. I'm so sorry for your loss, but so grateful he had and held you, what a gift for you both. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Travis was the best man at my Wedding. I loved him deeply.

Bob Bell