Living a life with clarity | AspenTimes.com

Living a life with clarity

Dear Editor:

As this tragedy for the valley comes to a close and the heartache continues for the friends and family, we should all be asking ourselves a question. What can I/we learn from this?

Having been raised in a small town and living a very sheltered life, I am often flabbergasted and dismayed by the stories I hear while in the ski shops and waiting for the lifts. The stories most often relate of how plastered someone was the night or day before. My heart always aches for these young people who are living in what George called “paradise.” My idea of paradise is not to live in an eternal fog. I feel so fortunate to live here, and even more fortunate to experience it with all of my senses intact.

I often hear details I would rather not hear. Stories of people waking up in the wrong apartment, or of waking up to find a stranger sleeping in their apartment. They often relate of remembering stumbling through the snow with no idea of how they ended up where they did. I have spent many nights worrying about something like this happening.

I was in Aspen the night George disappeared. I watched the awesome fireworks from the deck of the Mountain Chalet. I marveled at the beauty of the mountains and enjoyed the cold crisp air. I had a great time visiting with people of all ages. I went home as sober as when I arrived and I have many great memories of an evening well spent.

Today I attended the holiday singing program at Basalt Elementary School. The kindergartners, with their eyes glowing, sang “It’s a wonderful world,” and it is. I wondered how long they would retain their innocence? I wondered how many of them would make the choice to drink more than they should? I wondered if any of them would end up like George? It is a parent’s worst nightmare.

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So what can we learn from this event? Let’s not let this tragedy fade away. One thing we can learn is that we can’t protect anyone from their self all the time. I encourage everyone to designate their self to be the designated driver for the ride of their life. Ultimately we are all responsible for the choices we make. Every decision we make is a decision about who we are, it is not just a decision about what to do. We are all, always, just a decision away from changing our life.

Deanna Janckila

Carbondale