Marking the Way

From the dusty parking lot the trail begins over open slickrock. In the distance, the La Sal mountains paint a deep navy blue against the umber terrain. They rise up far in the distance, still snowcapped even in late June. A reminder that somewhere in this dry landscape water exists in abundance. It’s a steadyContinue reading “Marking the Way”

Wish You Were Here

We slide into the booth just before closing time. The vinyl bench seat squeaks softly against our legs. A couple of older locals chew the fat with the waitress behind the counter as she wipes down the coffee makers. The glass dessert case stands beside the counter, a colorful assortment of pies all topped inContinue reading “Wish You Were Here”

Saying the D-Word

Our smell announced our arrival before we’d hit the threshold. Teenage boys tumbled out of the locker room, doused in cologne to mask their gym class body odor. None of them had showered. Girls walked down the hall in groups, a cloud of floral shampoo fragrance surrounding them. “Women don’t sweat. They glow,” remarked theContinue reading “Saying the D-Word”

All Eyes on Me

Not long after Rob died, I ventured out to a social gathering, my first foray into the world post-loss, beyond the comfortably anonymous grocery store and post office. After a brief pep talk in the car, I smoothed my sweater, smiled in the rear view mirror and climbed out of the car. “Straighten your shoulders,Continue reading “All Eyes on Me”

“Not Gray … Hoary.”

I stand before the linen closet in the bathroom, a trash can beside me. I’m told that it’s helpful to tackle one space at a time, so I’ve decided to go through Rob’s toiletries. There’s not much really. The elastics from his despised Invisalign treatment. Trash. The half-used Chapstick. Trash. The dental floss. Might asContinue reading ““Not Gray … Hoary.””

Surrounded by His Love

When we moved to Seattle in 2011, all of my longings for mountains were fulfilled. I’d grown up hiking in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and after more than a decade living in the flat Midwest, I was hungry for elevation. Even when our family wasn’t up in the mountains, I enjoyed their steady presence. AsContinue reading “Surrounded by His Love”

The Son Will Rise

I’ll never forget the Easter we stumbled into a church in Capitol Hill in Seattle. We jammed our family into a pew and heaved a sigh. Our hearts were carrying so much that was heavy. Family complexities. Health concerns. Life questions. We needed some hope. We sat, exhausted. Then, a single cellist broke the silence,Continue reading “The Son Will Rise”

What’s Normal in Grief

What is normal in grief? Our culture has lots of advice, little of it helpful. Any mother who’s endured a miscarriage knows the difficult messages a grieving younger person hears. “You’re still young enough to have another one.” “At some point, you need to move on.” The pressures I feel as a young widow aren’tContinue reading “What’s Normal in Grief”

A Place That I’ll Call Home

In 2016, Rob and I hit a tipping point. We’d been married almost 15 years, and the pace of our life felt like it was getting too fast. Work responsibilities were increasing, our children were growing, and activities and commitments were eliminating margin from our life. Nevertheless, we’d always been committed to a simple lifestyle.Continue reading “A Place That I’ll Call Home”