Monday, January 27, 2014

2007 - Death of April in the Grand Canyon

Austin Graduating 8th grade
8th grade graduation
with Favorite teacher and best friend
In Washington DC
Austin's 8th grade trip to DC

Greg, Austin, Dixie and Emerson


2007 Card

Merry Christmas 2007

Dear Friends,

Those of you who received a card from Lynn Erickson last year have seen this poem but I loved it too much not to borrow it from her letter.

author unknown  (Since I have found this online - one says it was written by Helen Steiner Rice 1949 another says other people and most have the first verse the same but variations in the following)

I have a list of people I know
All Written in a book
And every year at Christmas Time
I go and take a look
And that is when I realize
a Christmas Poem
That those names are a part
Not of the book they're written in
But of my very heart

For each name stands for someone
Who has crossed my path some time
And in that meeting they've become
A treasured friend of mine
And once you've met some people
The years cannot erase
The memory of a pleasant word
Or of a friendly face

So when I send a Christmas Card
That is addressed to you
It's because you're on that list
Of folks I'm indebted to
And you are one of many folk who
In times past I've met
And happen to be one of those
I don't want to forget

And whether I have known you for 
Many years or few
In some way you have a part in
Shaping things I do
This, the spirit of Christmas, that
Forever and ever endures
May it leave its richest blessing
In the hearts of you and yours.

page 2
Aunt April and Uncle Vince
starting the hike that she died on
2007 will go down in the history of our family as a year of change and sorrow as well as joy.  The overwhelming sorrow was, of course, the death of April.  Never again will the world be as safe or filled with certainty.  How can we express the changes that take place with the loss of the one person we knew who was always right?  I miss her.  Greg's sister, the boys' aunt, and I never realized how much she meant to me until she went into the Grand Canyon in May and died of heat exhaustion.  If I never realized, of course I never told her.  Every time I think I'm done crying. Surprise!  I'm not.  Even the sight of a "Grand Canyon State" license plate on a strange car can make me break down in tears.

The Start of the Hike in May 2007
Anyway, Life goes on, but maybe it doesn't have quite as many cookies at Christmas, or goofy cards during the rest of the year.  There have been other, less devastating losses, like my job at the Catholic School.  I am back subbing.  I love subbing more but miss the predictable, regular paycheck.  Greg also lost his extra class period so that was another $7,000 less a year.

Still, the good finds its way into our life with regularity as well.  We got a wonderful visit from Greg's brother Matt and his wife, Andrea and their daughter.  Remi is too magical to define in a few words and it was delightful to have a chance to fall in love with her all over again.  We visited my Mom and Lance and Brett's family.  I am so blessed by my nieces and nephews.  And THERE is the balance point.  For every person our family loses, we have also gained several more.  It never fills the empty places left behind but they create new places of their own and keep the supply of love running high.

Emerson in 8th grade
The boys grow into men.  Austin called for a ride from high school.  I saw two handsome young men in mariachi style tuxedo jackets.  One was my son but I drove past until he rapped on the van window.  All I can say is Wow!  I'm the only one in the family under six feet.

Greg's second year teaching in Brookings, Oregon.  Some days he seems to love it and others he barely makes it out of bed.  He feels so incompetent for all the things the job demands and I know losing his big sister didn't help.  His students love him and so do we.  Going back to Wyoming in August let him get together with the Goode's.  We're hoping they all come here for the 4th of July on the beach.

My mom and Lance are living with change too.  My brother Brett took a job that has him living back east instead of next door and he travels a lot.  We all hope he's happy and yet I know Mom and Lance miss him a lot.  Typical spread out American family I guess.

Emerson loves 8th grade.  He still rides at Fort Dick Stables.  He's playing his fiddle in the preparatory Orchestra.  He's on Math team.  He loves anything Star Wars or electronic.  He started going to dances and had to put up with Mom and Dad Chaperoning.  He did rafting and rock climbing at a middle school adventure camp in Suttle Lake by Sisters, Oregon and is very responsible with his grades.  He's kind of nerdy cool and has good friends.

Austin in 9th grade
     Austin traveled from here to D.C. in June with the graduating 8th graders from Redwood School.  Then football camp in Gold Beach, Then Suttle Lake Camp.  He's slimmed down, grown up, gotten a girlfriend (Help!!)  He made it into Stage Band (Audition Only) and concert band.  This fall Stage Band starts at 7:15 AM but football practice ended at 6:00 PM. He'd come home, fall asleep and I never seemed to see him - hence the recognition problem!

We went to Vince's in Salem for Thanksgiving. Here at home for Christmas.  We may go to the snow on Mt. Shasta around New Year's but that isn't for sure.  What is for sure is life is always taking us by surprise.  Sometimes that is good and sometimes it hurt like hell.  But I'm so grateful that I get to spend my life with Greg and my boys and I'm grateful that you continue to be a part of our lives.

Double visit to Spencer's Barbershop

Tide pools at Crescent City

Me and My boys

San Francisco field trip

At the zoo

Remi at Ocean World

Willie and I

Another picture Mom?

Up at Howard Prairie Lake

Cousins in Cody, WY


Up in the Beartooth Mountains in WY/MT

burying Austin beside the Smith River

Painting the church Youth room

Del Norte Warrior football

Riding lessons at Fort Dick Stables

Austin and Uncle Vince


Just me

Greyhounds at Christmas

Austin, center in Stage Band

Christmas at the Michiels

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