Sunday, August 16, 2009

she did it...

so, i climbed the mountain...or i guess i should say we climbed the mountain. but i think most importantly, SHE climbed that mountain. i can't say that i've ever had a more metaphoric experience in my life. when i read stephanie's post inviting readers to join her, i knew i had to go...i even had another name pop into my head and knew that person needed to go and that we'd do it together.

i've had a hard time deciding how i feel about the experience. i was super excited about doing it and super grateful for the last minute baby watching my mom and mother-in-law offered up. four other ladies from the neighborhood joined in at the last minute and that made it even more fun. we got there just in time to get a good parking spot and then waited a few minutes until stephanie's dad welcomed everyone there.

then stephanie stood at the head of the trail to greet all the hikers on our way up. she was brave and she was glowing. the emotion of it all overwhelmed me and when i reached her i had no words. what could i say in that short amount of time that would make her understand the change she sparked in me and in so many other people?

you could see her little body was fragile but when i saw her eyes...i can't get the image of her eyes out of my head. the strength, the light, the courage, and something i can't put into words.

even writing this now, i wonder about the propriety of it all. i felt that way when i was there too; as if i was intruding on this very special and very personal event. but then the balloons were let go. and i realized it was a celebration...and a triumph.

the anniversary of their crash is the anniversary of the best decision of my life (7 years today). i don't know that our anniversary will pass without remembering her. and as we walked down the mountain and watched the sun disappear, i felt a strange sense of closure. it hit me how different i am from the scared and insecure girl who arrived in that little town more than a decade ago. it made me grateful for life lessons and the infinite chances our maker gives us to become the person he sees we can become. god bless nie and god bless her little family. there's a special place in heaven for all of them :)


  1. I really wish I could have gone with you guys but was in Denver. What a neat experience. She really has inspired so many people, it is simply amazing. Loved your post. :)

  2. I agree about her eyes. I was struck by them, as well. They have an other-worldly quality about them, like you truly are looking into the eyes of an angel.

  3. Oh Callie,
    Thanks so much for this post. I just read her latest post and the quote she put there along with her beautiful face has had me thinking all day. She represents the truest deepest, strongest part that all of us have. She is such an inspiration. Happy Anniversary to one of the coolest people I know.

  4. So jealous! I wish I could have done it but I had Heather's boys. She has so inspired me. I wish I could just give her a huge hug!!

  5. callie, i totally regret not doing this, no matter how huge i feel.

    ...but, i have to say...i'm sure no matter how at a loss of words you were for her, she was equally at a loss of words for you.

    her story is absolutely inspirational. but part of what makes it so unbelievable is that so many were touched who had never met her--never even had a conversation with her; only read her words on a page. touched to the point of giving up a months salary when they weren't even sure she would ever come out of a coma. her story is about the triumph of the human spirit, and about how one life can change thousands of others. AND, her story is a story about people like you too, that show generosity, compassion, and true charity.

    you both totally inspire me.


  6. What a beautiful post, thank you for sharing your experience for those of us that couldn't go....

  7. PS. Just went to her blog and saw the pictures, WOW, that's it, I'm hiking the Y at Sunset too...I've been wanting to, and thought I'd do it in the morning, but the lighting, the pictures, the setting, magical!

  8. Beautiful, what an amazing experience!