Story last updated at 2:06 p.m. Thursday, May 30, 2002

A mother's gratitude
Dear Editor,

To the residents, businesses and organizations of Homer:

For the last four months I have been asking myself how I will ever be able to express the depth of my thankfulness for the immense gift the community of Homer gave to my son Gabriel and myself. The words "thank you" feel completely inadequate. Somehow, I must get across how powerfully you all have affected me. Somehow, I must get across that your love, compassion and support made the difference between being able to endure a nightmare, or being crushed by it.

I have lived in many communities, some of them wonderful, but Homer outshines them all. For those of you who came from somewhere else to be here, I'm not telling you anything new. What I want to convey is that throughout these last four months -- which were the most difficult time of my son's life -- we felt like we were being held up in an unseen embrace of unconditional love that would not let us fall. To all of you who were a part of that embrace, you have my undying devotion and gratitude. The beauty of the loving spirit that each of you has more than equals the stunning natural world that you live in. You literally helped Gabriel's heart have the will to find its way back to life again. You have inspired me deeply. A part of me will be here forever.

My deepest thanks and devotion,

Sylvia Shuravloff, Gabriel Kehn's mother

Editor's note: Gabriel Kehn survived a kayak accident last January which took the life of his companion Bethany Lynn.