Twenty-seven years ago, my husband Jim and I left Aspen with our new baby, Natalie. It was very hard for me to leave my family, my community home of 11 years, and the mountains. But we were off to new opportunities and to our new family life.
At first, I wrote everyone I’d left behind, filling them in with details about our new home. After time, I slowed down with the letters and pictures and tucked Aspen away, like a mountain Brigadoon, in my mind. After all, if I left Aspen, then all that I loved about the community and the surrounding mountains must, therefore, remain as it was when I left, frozen and unchanging.
Although I was always in touch with my family and connected with friends from time to time, I was stuck emotionally. I began forgetting. Little resentments crept into my thoughts when I listened to stories about someone’s great day on the hill or a trek into the high country. I was envious of those who found ways to make a home in Aspen, and I listened with satisfaction about how Aspen had become over-built, too congested, too affluent, too stratified, too fast-paced, too superficial, too, too, too … and then my sister Darby got sick.
For nine months you, family, old friends, new friends, and faraway friends supported Darby. You brought her meals, you took shifts at the hospital, you walked her dog, Cisco, you kept her accounts current, you cleaned her house for her homecoming, you covered her care, 24-7, you delivered Christmas treats, you sent cards, you dropped by to keep her spirits up … and when she was in hospice care, you came to say good-bye, you sang to her, you prayed with her, and you held her hand.
When she died, you gave your time, immeasurable talents and resources to celebrate her life and acknowledge our loss. Many of you came from out of town or miles downvalley to be part of the memorial gathering. You, Darby’s community of friends, and mine, showed your true hometown character throughout her months of sickness. Your countless acts of caring brought me home again. Thank you.
Anne Herrick Lacy
La Pointe, Wis.
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