Beautiful and Strong, Boon Thong

My tears are falling fast and heavy tonight…

Beautiful, old and oh, so wise, Boon Thong, lay herself down this morning. She knew it was her time to let go…


Boon Thong, after five years of living in sanctuary at BLES, where she was free to be in control of her own life, to make her own decisions, to express herself, to find a friend in her devoted mahout, Phi Gom, to rest her worn out body, to explore the forests of Sukhothai – put very simply – to be an elephant once more, has peacefully passed away.

Boon Thong was in her late sixties. A lady of substance, elegance and strength, she enjoyed her little morning routine. Every day, we would make her vitamin balls. Boon Thong would patiently wait, while Luke, my youngest son, would struggle to manage the sticky rice balls in his little hands and then lift them up to her. She always took her time eating them and I would always watch, smile and wonder, if she was buying Luke time…


Boon Thong was a creature of habit. She had her favourite spots in our release areas that she would always gravitate to during our daily walks. She always scratched on the same tree and she always stopped at the same spot in the stream to throw mud all over herself.


Boon Thong, with a life time of scars tarnishing her petite frame, was a constant surprise and inspiration to us all here at BLES. She looked like a frail and delicate soul, but she had the most vibrant inner strength and determination to make the most of  every day.

Saying Goodbye to Boon Thong was heartbreaking, yet heartwarming at the same time. I was so saddened to see my darling friend slipping away, but I was also so full of gratitude that we got to spend five whole years watching her thrive.


I sat by her side for nine hours today. I massaged her legs and stroked the bristly hair on her head. I whispered words of love in to her ears and wiped the tears from her eyes, and then from mine… Losing someone we love, even when it is their time to go, even when they pass so peacefully, is just so hard.

Boon Thong has been buried beside Sontaya and close to Permpoon, Sao Noi and Naamfon. Five shining stars. Five soaring spirits. Five friends, we will always hold deep in our hearts…

Walk on Boon Thong, with your strong and distinctive stride, through the long grass, filling every field, as far as the eye can see…


Be free forever, my sweet, darling, Boon Thong xx 





  1. SoleCandy · February 6, 2018

    love sent your way sweet Katherine


  2. deirdreellen · February 6, 2018

    Sending love and condolences to you, Katherine and to all the family at BLES. xo


  3. Patricia gulliver whitlock · February 7, 2018

    Sending my condolences and love to you all!! My heart is with you!!!


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