Friday, August 3, 2012

Letting go of Aimee... Literally

It's October 25, 2003. I am pulling into a Park-n-Ride in Kirkland, WA, meeting a group of people who are planning on hking to the top of Mt. Pilchuck. There's an old Fire Service fire lookout tower at the top, and it's said to provide amazing views of the landscape for many miles in every direction.

As I find a parking space, I spy a very cute girl getting some things out of the trunk of her car. My hope that she's going on this hike is answered, and shortly thereafter I meet Aimee Richmond.

Through some clever manuevering, I manage to make sure we're in the same carpool, and I sit next to her in the backseat, attempting to get to know her. She's friendly, though maybe slightly guarded. During the hike, I stay with her, chatting with her as the day goes on. At the top, there are indeed gorgeous views, and I take a number of photos. But my attention never wanders far from this girl I've met.

Within eight days, I take her on our first date. Within a few months, I know I love her, and I tell her so. Within two and half years, I marry her, and I say these words:
"Til death do us part."
We "parted" on December 18, 2011.

A photo of Mt. Rainier I took from Mt.
Pilchuck I took on 10/23/2003. I didn't
feel like I knew Aimee well enough to
take a picture of her that day, but I
wish I had.
The second part of that "parting" will come this Otober 25, the ninth anniversary of the day we met. I plan to hike Mt. Pilchuck once more, and scatter Aimee's ashes there amongst the beautiful mountains that she loved so much.

Her wishes actually spelled out that she wanted her ashes scattered at the ocean. But she loved the mountains, and as Donna ponted out, she didn't know whe she wrote that that she was going to die in the ocean. Scattering them on the mountain that brought us together just seemed appropriate.

Although this has been my plan since shortly after Aimee's death, the thought of actually 'letting go' of Aimee is tough. During separate conversations with both Donna and Justin, we all expressed that there is something 'final' about that act, even though obviously Aimee's death was pretty final on December 18.

In my mind's eye, I've tried to imagine the actual act of scattering what's left of Aimee's physical body. It's surreal and heartbreaking at the same time.

A number of years ago, I went skydiving, despite a very keen fear of heights. At the moment of truth, I was terrified, and I had no idea how I was going to make myself actually jump out of that plane some 13,000 feet above the ground. Yet I did it. I sense that this experience will be much the same in that regard. I have no idea how I will make myself actually empty that box of ashes on top of that mountain.

But somehow, I will do it. I will let go of Aimee.


  1. From a stranger who admires your blog and is amazed by your strength, your love, and the beauty of your soul, both for Aimee and for Rowan...

    Why don't you scatter Aimee's ashes over the mountain that she loved, but keep a tiny little vial of the ashes for yourself and Rowan, just for those days when you need the physical closeness of such an important part of both of your past lives. It's basically symbolic, but will surely help you through some tough moments.

    Thank you for sharing your story...

    1. That's a really good idea, one which fortunately someone (I don't recall who) had back when we had Aimee cremated. I, Donna, and Justin all have little "mini urns" with a small amount of Aimee's ashes in them.

      Thanks so much for your comment and suggestion though. If we hadn't done that already, I would be SOOOO glad that someone suggested it before it was too late.