In 2011, to the day, in Telluride Colorado, at the junction of Seeforever and Plunge, I asked Lou to marry me. Nine years on, we lay a portion of her ashes in the exact same location. Embedded in the breathtaking mountains forever.
By chance; This same day 365 days ago also happened to be Lou’s funeral, where we said goodbye, forever. Uncanny.
Before we celebrated an ashes memorial with close friends on Seeforever. Noah, Evie and I took Lou’s favourite run in Prospect Bowl, we sprinkled her ashes along the cruisy and scenic route.
We talked about the ashes, what they meant, why we were here and why we were leaving a piece of Mumma in the beautiful south-west of Colorado. It was an exquisite blue sky magic day and with the sun shining on our exposed faces, we left some of Lou in our trails, to ski an area she loved for eternal life.
The wind in her hair, the sun warming her body and a sense of freedom that evokes a stoked smile only a skier would appreciate. “Ski-on Lou-Lou, you can now make those soft ‘controlled’ turns forever.”
Scattering ashes definitely stirred up some disconcerted feelings in Evie that’s for sure as she attempted to grasp what mummy had become. Grey bone matter in her hands, falling through her tiny fingers and into the cold pure white snow.
Following this quality and memorable time together, the kids and I made our way up to the top of chair six, where we congregated with friends and conducted a short but bitter-sweet memorial. We made a love heart with Lou’s ashes, we sprayed her beloved Verve and chanted; “Lou Lou We Love You!!”
We struggled for good sound in the video so the transcript is here:
“I have very little experience with any kind of ashes memorial but I know Lou would have wanted to have a part of her remain right here. So with a small portion of ashes, I will conduct a short, punchy and bitter-sweet, ceremony, that I know she will appreciate.
Everyone, thanks so much for coming to this memorial for Lou Lou. It means a lot to Noah, Evie and Me. Hopefully, it has significant meaning for you too.
There is a very specific reason why we are standing in this exact spot on this day. Before I elaborate on that, I will read a short letter from Elysia, Louise’s best friend and sister.
I thank Elyisa for those words. Elysia, Jon, their kids and my parents-in-law have played a significant role in our management of both grief and continuing on in our lives as best we can.
Most of you are familiar with Lou’s and my engagement story. For those that need a refresh; I organised to have a proposal proem published in the local paper, the Telluride daily planet.
We went out for a morning ski, nine years ago to the day, give or take a few hours. It was a cold morning. Lou didn’t seem to think it was too odd that I was “reading” the paper on chairs, 4, 5 and 6.
When we got down to this location, Lou stopped to appreciate the view. I was like, “oh you should read this poem, it’s about Telluride, you would really like it!”
It’s funny that we stopped right here because it actually wasn’t by design. The fact we ended up at the junction of “Seeforever” and “Plunge” is very fitting and simply a coincidence and now part of a special narrative. The poem talks about Telluride, its history and why we like the place so much….
The poem is fairly long so I will read you just the last five verses because it is the wrap-up and proposal component, and it fits with the rest of what I want to say.
And it finished like this:
It’s the dissimilar pieces in our exclusive lives that join us together, so time to commit, and pledge to take care of you forever. I love you all the flakes that cover the Western San Juan, although I never doubted it, you are officially the one.
There will always be challenges that try to divide, but I have no uncertainty we will conquer, by walking together, step by step, side by side. So it’s in this setting that I think it’s fitting, do you need to reposition? Perhaps you should be sitting; all I need is both ears a brief moment to listen, for it’s today, right here, right now I have an exciting proposition. If you treasure something, then it should be kept, I am expecting a yes here, so you better accept.
Without hesitation, I propose this question, in this magic place, our favourite destination, I shout out loud, will you be my companion? It is echoed throughout this surrounding box canyon.
In our favourite little town, Louise Maree DeCelis, I do confide, I am asking you to be my bride, right here, right now, in Telluride!
So she obviously said yes and the rest is history…….
But for Lou, unfortunately, the history is very short and as of Jan 12 last year, there would be no more chapters to her book.
So this morning I added four additional verses to the proposal poem, just for today. And they go:
It was only nine years ago that we stood in this very spot, and laid the foundation to tie an official knot. In the following eight years, our love only grew stronger, unfortunately, today we only think, dream’n’wish that you could’ve stayed, much-much longer.
With this special ceremony, you are now in the mountains and the mountains are in you, as we stand here, celebrate and reflect surrounded by this magnificent Coloadro view. With your sacred body poured from the kid’s hands, soaked into the earth amalgamated with the magnificent San Juans.
Your favourite champagne popped and sprayed as part of this memorial celebration, this moment in time, your ashes, these people are now part of your cremation. While the last twelve months have been a challenging emotional blur, not a day goes by that we don’t think about everything that you were.
Our kids stand here looking out to “Seeforever” with so many good things to come, with friends and supporters like this we will continue to cushion their everyday plunge, without their beloved mum. Sadly it’s now just the three of us together, but fortunately, you not only live in Noah and Evie, you live in these mountains, forever and ever.