From Annie

Annie, Ali’s Mom here. The week has been a maelstrom, our attention split between developing plans to celebrate Ali’s life, keeping up with what is now a criminal matter (the driver who hit Ali and Luc charged with felony vehicular manslaughter), the beginnings of bills and insurance matters, trying to stay in touch with Ali within us and our grief. Beneath it all has been your love, like a deep powerful river, unifying our experience while on the surface we are so fragmented. How can I ever thank you enough? We’ll just try to pay it forward.

I’m not getting to see enough of these posts, but I dip in each day for sips of wonderful photos I’ve never seen and stories that give us pieces of her we didn’t have and some great laughs. Please keep them coming.

On Christmas Eve Jerry and I came home to the house as we left it, terrified, shocked, unable to comprehend this could be happening to our girl and her beloved, and to our family, again. Walking in the door a week later was a terrible moment. She was supposed to be there cooking our traditional Christmas dinner with me, preparing for our little Christmas by the fire, just the three of us, the next morning. She and Luc were to have celebrated early as he had to go back to sea. Knowing she’d never come in that door again, back to what in her childhood she called her ‘homey home’, was almost unbearable.

But recently she’d finally, after all these years, cleaned out her childhood room, which had become the Ali storage unit. I dreaded that she’d leave it hollowed out, but instead she refashioned it into a lovely, deeply personal retrospective of her life from infancy to her first apartment with Luc, before they moved onto their boat. Her room was now, she told us, for them when they came to visit so they could be in the house with us instead of the guest cottage where they’ve stayed for years, for any guest who’d like to use it, and for me, a quiet place to hand quilt. Jerry and I spent much of Christmas Eve there.

The following evening friends invited us to dinner with their family of grown children and two granddaughters. To walk into that bit of ordinary life, luminous with the tree lights and candles, warm and kind, was exquisite. I was reminded how breathtakingly beautiful it is to be here in this life. We have limited control, though we’d like to think otherwise. Anything can and does happen. Fair has nothing to do with it. This mess of joy and pain, rage, boredom, hilarity, moments of peace is simply the ‘what is’ as my rabbi Margaret wisely calls it. When I open myself to what is, I find I can love the whole of it.

I hope this experience won’t have cast life in a bad light for you. I hope in the New Year it will remind you to live, love, laugh, relish, suffer and learn with abandon. Every blessing.

Sent from my iPad

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6 thoughts on “From Annie

  1. So lovely…sending you all love and warmth. I am so happy to have the chance to meet all of you at Sam’s Shabbat moment. Be well…Lisa Kirk

  2. As one who has lost many friends and family I am familiar with your feelings, and pray you weather them eventually to a point where life is happy again, warm with Ali’s memory and eternal love.

  3. If you feel a surge of warmth it is us sending you all the love we can and our arms are around you with memories of happiness the pleasure of knowing our wonderful Ali and strength for dear Luc. I am giving thanks for getting to meet her and feel a bit of the magic that was Ali, Love and peace, Barb & Steve

  4. Thank you, Annie, for your post. As much as you needed to express your thoughts, many of us needed to hear all of this. To know and try to understand the feelings and thoughts you both are going through during this time of great sadness at the loss of Ali. It is very hard to comprehend and hard to find the right words myself. Thank you for helping with that.
    Our love and prayers are with you, Jerry, Luc, and his family.

  5. Annie- it’s Sarah Rogers… my husband Steve and I are friends of Eric & Melissa’s. We’ve been thinking of you often over the last several days. We’ve met you at Sam’s birthday parties over the last few years and even in those few brief interactions, you’ve left us with a strong impression of what a warm, loving person you are. You’ve even taken a couple photos of our kids that Eric has shared and they are absolutely lovely- clearly taken by someone who looks at life from a beautiful angle. We are so terribly sorry about the loss of Ali. It is truly heartbreaking. And, we are also very moved by the love and strength that have shone through each and every communication send by you and Eric. And just as you hoped in the above post, please know that while Ali’s passing has indeed made us very sad for her and your family, it has also made us mindful of each and every lucky moment we have. Our hugs and thoughts are with you… please take care.

  6. Hi Annie, this is Todd Smith from Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, TX. I met Ali at NPS Fundamentals 2 at Grand Canyon National Park last February. She whipped me (and pretty much everyone) at pool every night, and was greatly admired by all 50 of us in the class. My thoughts and prayers are with Luc and you and her dad. Her entire Park Service family is stronger for having known her and heartbroken by her passing.

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