I’m so sorry to share that Jody passed away last night (see yesterday’s blog post). Physically, she was surrounded by people – in human and chimpanzee form – who loved her deeply. In an even more profound way, she was surrounded by the love from all of you who were thinking of her.
These circumstances of her passing were in stark contrast to the decades she spent as a biomedical research subject, which we outline on her biography page.
It has been such an honor and privilege to have been able to share the last almost fifteen years of Jody’s life through the lens of hope, love, and home at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. We made this video about Jody six years ago, and I have watched it multiple times since last night.
Jody was an incredible friend and, in many ways, the center of her social group. After she passed, we were able to give her chimpanzee family the opportunity to be with her body. I imagine that we will be sharing more about this later, as it was beautiful to witness them, in their own ways, say goodbye.
A friend, Thyra Rutter (Arte for Elephants), who I became connected to when she reached out a few years ago about donating her drawing of Jody below, recently recommended Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, No Death, No Fear, which I bought immediately after seeing her post about the book. There are so many lessons within his writing to contemplate.
One is the notion, the reality, of impermanence. He writes, “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible. Life itself is possible.” He explains the concept of inter-being: because everything is connected, all things are constantly influencing each other and therefore are not separate.
This idea is what I keep thinking about this morning. We will not see Jody in the chimp house today or any day following today. That is the painfully difficult part of grieving. But Jody is not gone. She is within everyone who has known her. Because of this blog, she is present in people far away who have never met her, and people who perhaps today are just meeting her for the first time by reading this. We will greatly miss her physical presence, and we will continue to work to make Jody and all of the chimpanzees at the sanctuary live on. Their existence and their stories are important. Thank you for being a part of her life.