We’ve spent the last four days camping at Fires Creek. We set the tent up next to the river, so that the only thing heard from outside it is the water rushing over the rocks. Timelessly, tirelessly rushing down the ridge towards the valley and a larger river, again and again, running finally to the sea. The earth is slowly waking from a long hard winter. Trees are blooming and putting out lime green little leaves and early wildflowers are popping up on roadsides and riverbanks. I walk down fire roads and river bottoms, taking pictures, watching MH fish. Adicus runs back and forth from him to me, unable to accept much distance between us.



Wondering the whole time how to explain this experience, how to put it into perspective. Where to even begin.

To say that there is reason or purpose in Mark’s death seems trite. I believe that we are hear to learn lessons, to touch each other somehow, and I believe that while we choose our own path, those paths are carved for us. In the wake of this tragedy it just seems like a security blanket- the faith of the shaken and weary that some greater purpose overrides our pain and loss.

What I do know for sure is that we, in our own ways, in our own lives give purpose and meaning to death, loss and despair. It is up to us to make beginnings from less than happy endings. To make unspeakable tragedy and life shattering loss into inspiration and growth and healing.

For me, that means a renewed gratitude for my own  marriage. Honoring the gift I’ve been so graciously given in him, and in our love. Remembering how gently my sister held a leather riding glove in her trembling hand that first night as she hoped with every fiber of her being to wake up from this nightmare. All the while knowing that her nightmare is real, and her dreams are the only escape. That she’ll never hold him again in her waking world.

In being spared that loss, by the grace of God, I have an opportunity to let my love, devotion and gratitude for my husband- my life, my love, my forever– be as true and raw and deep as my sister’s sorrow in losing hers. Every chance I have to be affectionate, understanding, grateful, honest, even angry is a chance she will never have again. Last week I took comfort in having a lifetime to learn and grow together, and sometimes allowed myself to miss the forest for the trees. This week, I have an undeniable reminder of how tragically short a lifetime can be.

This was a motorcycle accident, and for some it is reason enough to declare riding too risky. All I will say about the accident is that based on the information from the investigation and personal knowledge of the intersection, I believe that a lack of patience and diligence (on the part of the other driver) killed my sister’s boyfriend. Riding is risky, like a lot of things in life. Far from making me think that people shouldn’t ride, far from making me want to force MH to sell his bike, this tragedy makes me all the more curious to try it myself. To know the feeling that Mark loved so much. To honor his passing by adding to the ranks of responsible riders. I’m favoring the camp that believes we should all chase that feeling of being alive and free, and that maybe we all just need to look out a little better for one another. On and off the road.



6 Responses

  1. I’m glad you managed to find a peaceful spot during this chaotic time. I think that is of vital importance to get a little time with your thoughts.

  2. this whole thing was heart-breakingly beautiful. i can’t imagine how hard it must have been, writing everything down, but there is a grace to the way it flows and certain beauty shining through the sorrow. someday she will read this and will be exceedingly grateful that you wrote it down, and that you are her sister.

    you are so beautiful, and here especially, it shows.

  3. You are an amazing, beautiful woman, writer, sister. I am truly in awe.

  4. truly expressive and something i think you should tatke great solace in. Spending time with your family becomes the most important thing, it’s all about perspective

  5. Thank you so very much for sharing this with us. You and your family have been through hell and I can only wish the best for you but give no answers to all of the questions you have.

    God, this was amazing. I’m sorry you had to go through so much to write it. But it kept me riveted until the very end. You have a way of conveying this tragedy that I’ve never seen before and likely will never see again.

    Take care of yourself.

  6. Oh my God, I just cannot imagine what your sister must be going through. I have withstood the trials of loss time and time again, but I honestly believe that if I were to lose B, my future husband, I wouldn’t be strong enough to stand it. I wish her lots of rest and reflection, and more love than her heart can hold.

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