This year hasn’t been an easy one.
I lost my grandmother in February; my grandmother who, for the last decade, had acted as a mentor, a personal nurse, a mediator, an absolute joy, and one of my best friends. She was all of those things and more to so many members of my family and so it was such a tragedy to see her go.
We had her cremated and waited until the summer to hold her services. Enough time, to be sure, for those family members stuck out of town to find and fund their way to Creede– to the mountainside where grandma’s grandma homesteaded and where she, my grandmother, was born and raised. It’s a beautiful part of the state, and only 5 hours from Denver.
In June, the mountain side caught fire. We all fretted; read the news daily and kept a close eye on friends and family’s Facebook posts for news and photos. Thank God or goodness or whoever for the heroic firefighters who kept safe ours and thousands of others’ homes. The mountainside may be in ruin, but the structures still stood. I appreciate those priorities.
Fast-forward a month or so: August finally arrived. As it always does.
I was so anxious I couldn’t breathe when we turned turned through town and drove the last stretch from Creede to the cabins. The Papoose fire consumed over 109,000 acres. If you spread that out in a straight line, you’d be a few miles shy of Pueblo from Fort Collins. The maps I looked at online showed the fire creeping closer and closer to the river daily and I guess I was ready to see the whole hill behind our cabins just, well, gone.
And a lot of it was.
You can see the whole top of the mountain is burned up. Just a few miles back.
We spread my grandmother’s ashes all over the burnt-up mountain side and wished for wildflowers.
I still miss her and will forever. But I know she’s in a place now where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.