Last weekend I got hit by a perfect storm, a trifecta of flu, jet-lag and the longing for having the kids gathered near for General Conference as a family, and thwack! I was suddenly under the dank, dismal gloom of aching for my boy again--as dark a gloom as in those early weeks after his death. But here's the thing. Somehow (well, I do know how: prayer is a very good thing) heaven heard my anguish and through a series of seemingly unrelated events, which began way last July, I received some email that brought me buckets of tears and then relief and smiles. So, here--because angels should be acknowledged--are the most recent emails from that string:
On Oct 6, 2009, at 4:03 PM, [R.A.] wrote:
Hi Annie, I'm glad the post got to you. I've been wanting to write something for a while. Cluttered in between bills and old homework from college dorm...and now my apartment...are all my failed attempts. Gavin, L___, and I were all Sinagua's, but then the guys and girls walked separate. We talked the entire ride up, there was a pouting young walker in the back whom I don't quite remember. Gavin did try to cheer him up. After that he talked to Laura and I and told me the mountains were "weak sauce" and that the mountains we were seeing were small. Gavin was cool. I think of him from time to time, when I hike, but especially when I see bright orange powdered cheese. I just finished eating a dinner of lentils & mac & cheese. I don't think I've ever seen anyone so excited to see anything in my life. He was so excited and talked about all the good things that you could make with it. He told Laura and I you could make cheese go farther by adding the powdered milk. He was a great person, so cool. I looked up to him instantly. You can write to me anytime you want. [R.A]On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 6:19 PM, Annie Link <email@example.com> wrote:
Thanks Renee,This made me smile. I still remember how excited he was to cook for his dad and I when we went out to meet him on the trail the first time he walked. He really got into the food and was actually a good cook. His pizza was excellent. He made great ash cakes, too. (Hearing about lentils and mac and cheese made me smile too. I still have his black cooking/eating cup.)It sounds just like him to have tried to cheer up the young walker. He was always, all about everyone else's happiness. In Hawaii, on Sundays, he used to gather up homeless guys on the beach and make sure they got a good meal and got to go to church if they wanted to. he'd drive them to wherever their specific religion met. just wanted to make sure they knew that someone cared. he was worried about many of them because he felt like they had mental handicaps and really didn't have any other options but homelessness. He was easy to look up to. He had such an honest, good heart. He sincerely loved people. All people.Anyway, thanks for taking the time to share your memories. I think of him whenever I hike, too. I'll bet he's found some great hikes in heaven. Wish I could share them with him.I hope you're doing well in your world. That you love the people in your life and are having happy times. Thanks again for writing.It's crazy how much it helps.AnnieHi again Annie, I wanted to mention this. You talk about him loving everyone, its very true. I didn't know that about him and all the good work he did Hawii...but I could totally see it being true. Anyway, out of all the people he loved you most of all. He told Laura and I about the phone call he made as a YW. He hiked and hiked just to find a phone. He wanted to let you know he was ok, make sure you were ok and to tell you that he loved you. I didn't really appreciate this until I was on the trail. At best he didn't have much to eat, he didn't have great supplies, he probably had icky water. And it was far. According to trail lore he walked 50 miles. I'm sure it gets farther and farther every year. He wanted to be in that place again. Not 50 miles off trail, but close to you. I think thats part of the reason I've remember him so often. I'm sure you already know that...I'm sure you've heard the story a million times. But I think he's still the only one who's ever done that. It is a story for legends, told around the campfire, the hearts of the young walkers, and Sinagua, turned to home, wishing they could be so brave. Perhaps they don't know his name, but the story is told and told....and as long as their's Anasazi, it will be told forever. [R.A]So, there you have it. All of you who wonder how in the world you could ever possibly offer comfort to someone who's grieving:It's really quite simple after all. Just follow those quiet promptings and do whatever your heart whispers to do.And even if all you can come up with to talk about is lentils and dried cheese, believe me, it will be enough.