Today my heart no longer aches for Tilikum, as I’ve found solace in knowing his soul now exists elsewhere, among the stars, in a place unfamiliar to us, at peace. Instead, my heart aches for his trainers, all of the caretakers who were constant fixtures in his life. Those people who, for the greater portion of his short life, filled some of the void where his family once was. In spite of the strong opinions regarding captivity, they loved him, and will miss him immensely.
I hope that in moving forward, as we navigate this unfamiliar road, we can come together not only to improve the lives of the remaining orcas in marine parks, but create a progressive form of education that fosters respect for marine mammals and the desire to conserve them, without confining so many to a life in captivity.