The Flip Side of Sadness

Going Home

This past weekend, I took my daughter’s ashes to Colorado—her birthplace and where she often mentioned she wanted to return; she liked the cold. Returning there felt like visiting a place so uniquely yours, it is a part of your every breath.  My husband, Peter, and I spent precious few minutes with the family and friends we could fit into that narrow window of opportunity we opened to receive condolences, share memories and laughter, and accept love.

As much as I’d love to return to the Colorado of my life long ago, a life of cycling and hiking and playing in the snow; impromptu trips to Rainbow Falls or Aspen; having babies and nursing and diapers; making my own yogurt and baby food; as much as I loved that life, I can’t get it back.  The world of my past cannot be visited again, even in memory. 

Colorado, now, for me, is the moment I touched my daughter’s ashes in a small space dug out by my husband and sons-in-law, behind a large white stone on which the sun shone, solely, through an opening in the aspens and evergreens near Independence Pass.  My younger daughters held each other, a choir singing a soft hymn of tears.  As I began to cover the ashes with some of the dug-away earth, I felt the hands of my older daughters reach down, ever so gently, and help place the earth over their sister, the touch of their hands softer than a whisper.  My new sons helped Peter collect the stones to cover Annie’s grave; he then created a cross of fallen tree limbs over her. Every move in silence.

A small, white and gray bird landed on a branch just inches from where we stood saying our private goodbyes.  For several minutes, we all watched as Annie flew from branch to branch, from tree to tree, all around us.









To Andreanna with love--Mwah.