Kia Kaha

This note from Jon was found in a shed in our backyard, a year after he passed away.  Its ironic that such an important message could be wedged between such unimportant objects like spray paint and WD40 but there it was; in a clear sheet protector, attached to an 8x10 photo of Jon surfing at Pipeline.


I’ve read and reread this note hundreds of times.  I visualize Jon and the emotions he must have been feeling which led him to write these words.  I wonder how long it took to write it, and how he chose his words, especially his final words, “Kia Kaha”.  Words very familiar to me, and most Maori people.

After hearing about this final letter, our friend (a Maori culture expert) explained, “The phrase (Kia Kaha) is saying to be strong, to be courageous, to be powerful.  I know that Jon had a respect for the culture. He would have heard many times in our performing arts the leaders calling out to the ranks, “Kia Kaha” to be strong, to lift, to be courageous.  And what I can appreciate about this phrase in this letter (as his last words to say) is that he’s not saying to develop it, he’s not saying to be strong-er, but just to continue to be what you are. Powerful.  Strong. Courageous as a family.  To continue being it”.  –Seamus Fitzgerald

For the last 8 years we have been adjusting and learning and crying and growing, but mostly laughing and loving. This process has taught us that as you search diligently for beauty and peace in your life, you can find it.    This blog is evidence that we are trying to be true to Jon’s last words, “Kia Kaha”.  We hope you will visit the blog and find strength in the images and words found here.

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