I wear it every day. It hangs around my neck and I must admit, most of the time, I don't even feel it. It's become a part of me.
I've opened the clasp just a few times. I've cleaned it and I've added to it....every year since 2008.
A friend noticed it recently and asked me about it, so I guess it's on my mind now. My delicate little gold chain with four Puka shells; one for each year I've gone to Maui, remembering Leroy.
At his request, I scattered his ashes in his ocean at Kaanapali Beach in Maui after colon cancer took his life. Every year since, I've returned there to honor his memory, reconnect to that strong, soaring spirit and felt a connection that I can't get anywhere else.
I've added one Puka shell to my necklace each year.
Puka is the Hawaiian word for round. These tiny shells have a natural hole in them, each one a different shape, always imperfect and fragile. Much like life itself.
The Puka shells carry with them a strong bond to Leroy's final request, our love of Maui and the ocean. Wearing these shells was traditionally thought to ensure a peaceful and safe voyage for sailors on a long journey.
Ironic that Puka shell necklaces were especially worn by those who had to travel by sea.
This Fall, I hope to add another of these magical shells to the chain. It's almost hard to imagine it will be five years.
Safe voyage Leroy.