Recently, I learned about the ancient Japanese art of kintsugi – literally, “golden joinery.” It reminded me a lot of post-Dorian Abaco.

Kintsugi is the practice of repairing broken pottery by gluing the pieces back together and adorning the seams with gold, silver or platinum. Rather than hiding damage, kintsugi honours an item’s history by embracing its flaws, creating a unique work of art that’s stronger and more precious than before.

Heaven knows that since Hurricane Dorian, Abaco has no shortage of broken pieces – literal and emotional. For two years, Abaconians have struggled to pull together their shattered homes and lives.  

As with kintsugi, these pieces could not have been reassembled without glue – in this case, the generous support from other Bahamians, and from friends from around the world.

From the NGOs that were on the ground within days, to those individuals who showed up to lend a hand, and the many folks who’ve sent donations big and small, I’m not sure there will ever be adequate words to thank you.

You reinforced the strength of our Abaco family and friends when they were most in need. You are forever part of their story.  

And more precious than gold or platinum is the perseverance of Abaconians. Refusing to be defined by some of the most scarring days in their history, they continue fighting to make their lives and communities whole and beautiful again.

No doubt Abaco will be stronger for their efforts.

Of course, the kintsugi metaphor isn’t perfect.

In the case of Hurricane Dorian, not every broken piece could be saved. Hundreds of souls were lost, leaving gaps in the lives of their loved ones that no gold or glue could ever fill. Many families were unable to say a proper goodbye or lay their relatives to rest.

Today, we remember all who were lost — named and unnamed — and those who loved them.

Since I’m not aware of any official list of Abaco residents and visitors known to have perished during Dorian, I’ve compiled one, based on first-hand knowledge, information from family members, news reports and more. If you know anyone who should be added to this list, please get in touch.

And though I have no doubt that Abaconians will ultimately recover and thrive, they still need support in the form of donations and tourist dollars. Here’s how you can help.

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