12 March 2010

Lost in Thought

January 2010I don't think my feet touched the ground after we learned we'd been drawn for my third and my husband's second Ride the Rockies. Until 11 hours later when we learned his brother had died.

Eleventh hour. A forlorn number if ever there was one.

My Lost BoysNow it literally feels as if a million years have passed. Yet I still catch glimpses of glistening crow's feet on my husband's face. And I wonder if the pain will ever fade.

And yet, I've walked this path. I'm not in uncharted territory. I lost a brother of my own eight years ago the very same way. This is not a place I'd freely choose to be, but this is familiar ground.

I know what lurks behind the darkness when I close my eyes at night. I know what brings comfort and what sets off chains of memories – pleasant or not. I know who I am and where I am going. I know how long this unending journey lasts.

Now I just have to try to be as gentle a trail guide as I can for The Lizard and his family.

Me and My Lost GirlFor the first three days, The Lizard kept saying he wishes he'd been there for me when I went through this. We met two years and two months later. I wish I had known him when I went through this, too. I wish we'd met 20 years ago! Just think of the kidlets we'd have produced! Little Lance Armstrongs with morals who could write poetry, shoot a camera and blast through a skein of yarn as fast as they could pedal up Mount Evans. Teenage cyclists who might be vying for a Team USA spot in the next Summer Olympics.

For the first 12 hours or so, we plunged through mind-numbing shock. When we finally began to come back to life about 24 hours later, we were able to make silly jokes about the pea soup fog cushioning Douglas Pass. Douglas. My brother's name. Memories. Our weak attempts at humor were the first time the Lizard and I were able to smile since learning of Kelly's passing. I wondered if any mountain pass bears his name.

My Lost GirlDuring the 11-hour drive to the memorial service (there's that melancholy 11 again), I mindlessly performed another aerial unwind. I unraveled a scarf I'd begun a little more than eight years ago and was unable to finish after my brother died. I'd taken along an entire bag of projects (UFOs – unfinished objects) to work on during the long, long drive. But I didn't feel like working on any of them. Instead, I unwound. The detangling process brought soothing comfort. I created a huge ball of yarn that will one day be reborn into something else. A treasure that won't hide in the deepest recesses of our still all-concrete, frigid-in-winter basement.

An hour and an eternity after we returned from the memorial service, deep in the middle of the night, I learned I'd lost a medal in the Ravellenics due to a tiny technicality. I cried.

The Lizard and His Lost BoyBut was I crying over the lost medal or my newest Lost Boy?

Flashes of profound sadness and split seconds of exquisite peace dance restlessly.

I recalled Olympians I've watched courageously train, struggle, win and lose. I recounted how many of those valiant individuals came back four years later to reclaim glory and triumph. Perseverance. A timeless, precious lesson.

I vowed to try again for a Designer Biathlon medal during the 2012 Summer Olympics. I silently promised Kelly I will not allow discouragement to keep me from doing my very best. I will conquer the two 90-mile days in this year's Ride the Rockies without sagging. I wondered if Doug and Kelly have met each other yet. I wondered if they will become good friends. I wondered if they will be together, along with my sister Susan, cheering me up the Grand Mesa and over The Million Dollar Highway.

And that… that possibility made me smile.


  1. I lost my daughter when she was 17. It is so unnatural to lose a younger sibling or a child. You and Lee are in my prayers.

  2. Sending thoughts your way. I haved shared in losing a sibling.

    It leaves a hole in the heart.

  3. Deb, I wish I could say something comforting. My prayers are with you both and Kelly's family, too.

  4. Sorry to hear of your loss. We send prayers of love and peace to you and the family. It was good to see Susie and Doug again.

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am terribly sorry for your Loss.

  6. I wish I hadn't read this....I cried....and I remembered when my husband, of almost 5 years of marriage, was shot to death as a deputy in Arizona.
    It's been almost 27 years and I still feel that emptiness.
    God Bless you both.


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