( December 30, 2004)
Here we sit, waiting, waiting, waiting . . . We and thousands of others who are missing loved ones traveling in Thailand, Indonesia, India . . .
It was easier before we pinpointed Luke and Angie’s presence at a specific hotel on the beach at Khao Lak in Thailand. We could invent lots of reasons why he hadn’t called. No cell phone. Communications out. Too busy helping others.
Luke Scully and Angie Foust. The best of the best . . . Young, joyful lovers taking in the holidays in paradise. Where are they now? Luke, phone home!!
I go back and forth. I hear the optimism of moms, sisters, and friends. The “naysayer” in me rebels, seeing the fear held in check beneath the thinning veneer of perfectly good reason—It’s okay, mom, they’re probably off on adventure in the highlands and just haven’t seen or heard the news. Any minute he will call and say, “What, you were worried? How silly . . .”
Grief and fear seem to come in waves, kind of like tsunamis. You hold it off laboriously, like stacking sand bags against a raging torrent, but then the wall either collapses, or the water simply overwhelms your best efforts, and then it passes and you go on.
Then there is the knot that takes hold in the pit of a place deep within. Each passing day it grows.
My friend MG said to me, this morning when I was at a falling apart point, “We are all worthy of hope.” Those words set a new vector for me, a reason to find hope in the smallest glimmer of possibility. Luke and Angie are certainly worthy of hope. And so am I.
Please keep us, and all of those engulfed by this terrible tragedy, in your thoughts and prayers. Hopefully I will be writing with good news soon.
With hope in my heart,
(January 4, 2005)
I apologize for not keeping you in the loop about Luke and Angie.
Waiting has been filled with a zillion phone calls, visitors, pipe ceremonies and a sweat lodge, constant communication with our investigator and many friends, friends of friends, and absolute strangers who have become on-the-spot angels scouring hospitals and morgues and peppering the region with flyers with Luke and Angie's pictures. Amid incessant pacing, often with a phone in each ear, friends and family have spoken with Embassies, the State Dept., the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hospitals, rescue centers, hotels, dive companies, airlines, survivors, and well wishers from all over the world. We have checked web lists, missing lists, dead and injured lists, and lists of lists. We've searched Luke and Angie’s computers, calendars, itineraries, and credit card records, all of which point to their arrival at the Khao Lak Orchid Resort hotel on December 24 . . . Although the hotel’s records were mostly destroyed, we believe them to have been there, spending quality time on the beach during what may have been their last days and hours. We are clinging to the slim hope that they might have taken an excursion by boat or gone backpacking in the mountains.
Sage (my daughter, Luke’s sister) and Tina Mahaffey (Angie’s best friend) have been on CNN international and Good Morning America, representing the families and seeking any word from anyone who might have seen Luke and Angie before or since the tsunami hit now more than a week ago.
We continue to take heart in the stories of miracles trickling in, and hope and pray that Luke and Angie will be the next miracle story.
Meanwhile, Luke’s mom Tangerine, and sisters Ruby and Pearl, are coming to Eugene today, a move that does signify a shift in our focus. You can support us by continuing to keep candles lit, make prayers, and hold hope that they and others who are still missing from this horrific disaster are still safe, somewhere where they just can’t get to a phone.
With deep gratitude for all your thoughts and prayers,
(January 8, 2005)
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
The outpouring of love generated by all of you from my latest postings on the plight of Luke and Angie and our family has uplifted our spirits and helped to keep us hopeful during this trying and uncertain time. We have heard miracle stories and horror stories, and have received detailed and horrific descriptions of the grim realities that faced those who went in to search for Angie and Luke, and those who survived the terrible destruction on Khao Lak Beach. Our investigator was finally able to definitively state that they were there, checked into room 316, and had spoken with the hotel owner on Dec. 25.
Although no one is as yet ready to admit this terrible loss, we are moving forward to create an event that will celebrate Luke and Angie’s lives. We are having a "Welcome Home, or Welcome Home" party at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR, at 7 PM January 15. We will have an honoring ceremony, lots of good music, and a beautiful space to come together. It’s going to be a gathering of friends and family, meant to celebrate the joy of living and to keep a strong connection with everyone who knows and loves each of them, separately and in their relatively new relationship as a couple. Please spread the word, bring stories and pictures, and help us create a festive atmosphere.
Additionally, we have created the Luke and Angie Fund under an existing not-for-profit corporation in order to find or create a project for assistance and rehabilitation in Thailand. Our investigator has offered to help search for those worthy causes left behind in the massive world effort to bring relief to the devastated region. We appreciate hearing from any of you that have ideas or knowledge of particularly deserving efforts or needy situations there.
Again, thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers. We hope to see you in Portland next weekend, and we know that Luke and Angie are always with us.
Nicki Scully and the families of Luke Scully and Angie Foust
Dear Friends, (January 19, 2005)
I woke up this morning and for the first time in three agonizing weeks, felt as though my life is returning to some semblance of normalcy, whatever that is. . .
The pervasive, unfathomable sorrow over the loss of my stepson Luke Scully and his partner Angie Foust comes in waves, however I have moved toward a kind of acceptance that allows me to move forward. If you missed the three short posts that describe our journey since the tsunami struck December 26, they are now combined into one.
In spite of the ice storm that paralyzed Portland, more than 300 people turned out to celebrate Luke and Angie's lives, and together we created a magnificent tribute to their love and passion for life with our altar, a ceremony for connection and dedication, exquisite videos to share rich moments in their lives, and great music and dancing.
Our ceremony offered an opportuntiy for our circle to connect with Luke and Angie, and contemplate what each of us can do to make something meaningful from our personal pain. Our loss was part of a huge catastrophe that brought the entire world to it knees. If we can see this as a wake up call— as a reminder that not only are we all in this together— each of us can make a difference if we dedicate our personal grief to do something to make positive change for our world.
Following is my most recent tribute to Luke and Angie:
Hope, Faith, Strength, and Courage— In Honor of Luke and Angie
I wish to pay tribute to these four vital attributes that must be cultivated on our planet during these turbulent times. The cataclysm that devastated much of Southeast Asia has given us a stark reminder of the true power of nature. For many it was a distant, although riveting, event, and it was easy to call on Hope, Faith, Strength and Courage for others in need. But when I feared the loss of my stepson Luke Scully and his adored partner Angie Foust while they vacationed in Thailand, I was shaken to the core.
For me and my family, Hope, Faith, Strength, and Courage became absolutely essential. When we could not find them in ourselves, we found them in one another as we bolstered and supported each other through agony, fear, and uncertainty. It was unthinkable, life without Luke. Yet there is solace in the bitter taste of not knowing—that slim beam of hope shining just enough light in the darkness of the mystery to keep us from accepting that which is absolutely unacceptable.
So where is hope when reality hits? And where do we point our faith? And if it is so hard for us who sit in comfort in our homes surrounded by friends and family, how is it for the frightened orphans, or the mothers who lost entire families along with homes, belongings and livelihoods? Where does the strength and courage come from for those people?
There may never be a full resolution regarding the fate of Luke and Angie—we can only, ultimately, celebrate their lives, their many great accomplishments, and their passion for life and all things beautiful. I choose to believe that they faced the wave with fearless wonder, which is how they embraced all of life, and how I will remember them.
Please, let this horrendous event create something good in our lives and for our planet. Please help us use this as an opportunity to create peace and cooperation amongst the great diversity of cultures in our amazing jewel of a world. Please help us keep Hope, Faith, Strength, and Courage alive—for All our Relations.
May your lives be filled with blessings, and may you appreciate all the blessings that are in your life.
Dear Friends, (March 11, 2005)
One week ago today the State Department informed us that Luke’s body had been positively identified through his fingerprints. As we, friends and family, try to grasp this reality and prepare for the moment of his cremation, I feel the need to bring you, my e-list, up to date, and to share with you some of the details and magic that has transpired since that numbing phone call. Last Friday had already been slated as a Big Day. Luke’s sisters and I were to gather in Portland to sort and move Luke’s belongings from the house where he and Angie lived before their unfortunate vacation. Then we got the call. How perfect the timing.
For most of us, our response was a mix of sorrow and anger; we had grown somewhat comfortable with our fantasy that somehow the sea had romantically swallowed Luke and Angie in her loving, if violent embrace. Having been suddenly thrust back into reality, the week since has been a time for coming to terms with what is . . . There are a few things you might find interesting:
Luke's mom, Tangerine, was given the option of having Luke's body returned or having him cremated in Thailand and the ashes returned to us. We chose cremation, and the Red Cross is graciously covering all costs. The State Department and the Red Cross are doing their best to make this as smooth and easy for us as possible. The Red Cross offered Tangerine a ticket if she wanted to be there, and grief therapy for any of the immediate family who is in that kind of need.
Just yesterday our contact at the State Department connected us with a member of the Consular Team in Phuket who is being over-the-top helpful and cooperative in giving us confidence that all will be handled as we wish, including providing a blessing ceremony for Luke by a Buddhist monk from the Wat, the Buddhist temple where the cremation will occur. The Consular has also offered to call us from the temple and describe the scene and witness for us directly what is happening regarding the pre-cremation ceremony. Amazing . . .
Luke will be cremated at 5:30PM (Thai time) Saturday, March 12, which is 2:30AM PST. Needless to say we are scrambling to prepare our own ceremony to coincide with the event in Thailand. Please, if anyone wants to participate, tune in and support this transition for our beloved Luke. Our close family and friends will be connecting by phone bridge at that time. If you feel you should be on that call, please contact me directly so that I can give you the numbers you will need.
My own feelings have gone through considerable changes throughout this week. My anger has given way to a bit of awe at the competence of the folks in Thailand that have undertaken to make sure that no one lost will be left unfound. Of the several thousand foreigners pulled from the once turbulent waters and debris following the tsunami in Thailand, 13 out of 24 actually missing Americans have been identified, including Luke. We are still awaiting word on Angie, who is one of only eleven Americans known to be there, yet still unaccounted for. I wish to honor and send deep gratitude to the dedicated folks who are continuing the tedious work of matching the information as it comes in, and keeping it all together.
I hope to communicate on a lighter subject soon. Meanwhile,
Many blessings of love,
Dear Friends, (March 17, 2005)
WOW . . .
The phone bridge ceremony for Luke’s Cremation was awe-inspiring—That 30 of Luke’s close friends and family could come together by phone and achieve intimacy while focusing on Luke during the fiery transition of cremation was amazing. Funerals are difficult under the best of circumstances. Our hastily called together and scattered circle by phone bridge was the only way we could think of to “show up” for Luke. I had been leery of virtual ceremony, although I had been holding the idea for some time to offer Alchemical Healing and other support and teachings via phone bridge, and eventually on line. I was astonished to feel the intimacy that was created for a situation such as our circle demanded. As everyone gathered, I was on a different line speaking to Larry, the Consular from the State Dept. who was the official representative for our family in Thailand. Initially he called from his cell phone as he was driving to the Wat, the Tibetan temple where the cremation ceremony was happening. His engaging manner and desire to convey the details of his experience and what he thought was going to happen suggested a man not only doing his job, but appreciating the nuances of the moment. It occurred to me that his rich story needed to be shared directly with the circle, so we agreed that he would call back from the monastery and give a full report until such time as the ceremonies began.
Candle light on my Altar
Dance of shadow and light.
Old stone of Earth meets
not so old forms of human imagination
brought to life
through ancient practices and
Sage burns and fire crackles to life.
Long dead sentry's of the San Jacinto Mountains
transformed into powerful force.
Whirlwind of activity
A feverish dance tells
the oldest story
Life, Energy, Transformation.
I sit alone.
An electric Beep into an indefinable
techno space where
the oldest and most sacred of ceremonies will
soon take place.
Voices in the dark
Voices in the light
Voices from all over the World
I sit alone with others
Guided in ritual
we honor our fallen one.
Seeking safe journey
his successful Trip.
Comfort for our souls.
Joyous return to loved
His passage as eventful as his life.
The Earth Moved and
Luke Moved on.
I will miss you Luke
I entered the conference call and found about 30 friends and family gathered— no small feat for the middle of the night when we’d determined to create this circle only a few hours earlier. My daughter Sage read out the names of those who had joined so far.
Then Larry joined us. His vivid descriptions of the beauty of the temple surroundings and the reverencing of the ceremony brought all of us into a connection with the event as though we were there, and each of us in our various places could see the white flowers and smell the incense as he described details of events and the scene leading up to the pre-cremation ceremonies there in Phuket.
While maintaining both the solemnity of the moment and a subtle sense of humor, Larry described the scene. He explained that all the people in attendance were wearing white, except for the saffron robed monks. Larry described the beauty of the surroundings, the woods and the light. He then brought his attention to the coffin, ringed with white flowers and the last rays of the afternoon sun shining upon it and, what? An unexpected surprise . . . On the top of the coffin was a watch. He looked closer and saw that it was a Timex and assured us that we would receive it, the only belonging of Luke’s retrieved from the tragic event. Wouldn’t you know it would be about time? We were entering timelessness, and at the same time remembering to value each moment and each cherished relationship built on time spent together . . .
Incense was given to each person in attendance It was to be lit and placed into a white porcelain vase. It was time for Larry to enter into the pre-cremation ceremony that was beginning there, and time for us to focus on our own.
In phone bridge space, Charla, Lisa, and Roland sang the traditional Pipe Filling Song as the sacred Cannunpa was filled and the first prayer offered by me. Our grief was palpable as each person who felt so moved offered their prayer or thoughts about Luke. When that part of the ceremony was complete, the pipe was smoked by Mark, Ben, Elizabeth, and me, and by the others vicariously, while Charla sang the Lakota funeral song, “Passing Through the Fire” for Luke’s transformation. Our deeply held sorrow mingled with the smoke as our prayers were carried to the six directions. And in the vast space between us, the presence of all of you who have stayed connected with your thoughts, your prayers, your candles, and your love were keenly felt. The ceremony was complete. We showed up, and Luke was honored.
The sorrow continues, yet stirrings of renewal have entered the quickening. For some it was yesterday, and for some it was tomorrow, but for all of us it was Right Now.
Deepest gratitude to all who participated in whatever space/time warp you were in during those sacred moments.