View Point

By Glenn Sexton

Saturday, November 27, 1999

Aloha helps heal at Xerox

SOME things simply don't make any sense. They can't be explained, reasoned away and they might never be understood. But they are, nonetheless, real.

Such is the case when on Nov. 2, seven of our Xerox Hawaii colleagues -- men in the prime of their lives -- were cut down by gunfire in a senseless and bizarre act.

One by one, we laid to rest our colleagues. Struggle as we might, and with pain too deep for words, we have endured and will carry on.

This tragedy is the consequence of inhumane human action. Reference points vanish. We feel caught up in a world that twirls out of control.

We can no longer keep our balance. Our fury cannot change the cold, hard facts. Instead, it leaves us with a deep aching sense of all that was left unfinished. What we must learn now is to accept what is.

There is no good that can come from this unspeakable evil. However, we have learned that at the heart of all tragedy is the knowledge that there is comfort in the kindness that reveals itself and embraces us in our darkest moments.

On behalf of all of us at Xerox Hawaii, we wish to say mahalo to each of you, who, by your presence, your thought-filled cards, phone calls and flowers, have given us the most treasured gift of all.

The gift: that when it was time to say farewell, we had all of you to help. Nowhere else but in Hawaii would we have been wrapped in such aloha.

We especially thank the American Red Cross and the Honolulu Police Department's crisis teams for their special acts of kindness. From those very first moments, they have been there for us.

If it is true that tragedy and grief bring with them the grace of unexpected guides, we believe that organizations such as these help begin the healing process. Their presence is lasting and life-sustaining, and we ask, that as a community, you support their every effort.

We would also like to say mahalo to the media. They were challenged with the delicate art of balancing their responsibility to our community with a deep respect and compassion for those who have suffered the excruciating loss of someone they so dearly love. Nowhere else but in Hawaii would we have seen such aloha.

Sorrow comes in waves. It rolls over us. And though it seems all-consuming, eventually it retreats. It is like diving into a raging sea, where if we are brave enough to travel to its depths, we find an ocean of calm, where life continues in a gentler, healthier way.

In a world that sometimes seems lost in sorrow, it is Hawaii's willingness to share this grief that holds the possibilities for each of us to heal.

LIFE will not go on in the same way, now that each of these men is gone. But if it were the same, it would mean that their lives had made no difference on Earth.

We know that this is not so. The fact that each of them left behind a place that cannot be filled is their greatest legacy. At Xerox, our highest tribute to them and their families is to maintain the professional standards and humanity that they represented. We need to begin to celebrate what their lives meant.

In the dark days ahead, we will use their lives as the light and remember the joys. It is those moments each of us would have copied, if only we had known.

Thanks to every one of you who have come to us, who have cared, cried, called and sent your prayers to support us.

You have shown generosity in donating to the Victims of Violent Crimes in Hawaii and the Xerox Hawaii Victims funds. We hope that they will, when needed, make a difference in the future of so many lives and will transcend all sorrow.

Glenn Sexton is vice president and general manager of Xerox Hawaii.

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