I’ve spent many years saying goodbye to my brother Kysa. It was my experience with him as he was dying that ultimately led me to my work with hospice and then Tapestries of Hope. Its been 13 years now since he died, and this was my first time back in Durango, CO, where he lived and died, and my first time at the Sand Dunes near Alamosa CO, since his death. You can see the dunes from a great distance–there is a huge span of white in the midst of the mountains. At the entrance to the Dunes is Blanca Peak–a spot thought to be sacred by the Navajo. It is there that they believed that spirits enter and leave this world. I love that idea–it is a breathtaking piece of mountain. My brother Kysa loved the Sand Dunes and I have videos of him running and leaping down the dunes, thoroughly enjoying himself. So the idea of his spirit having left the world there at that spot was comforting to me.
Handsome Husband and I crossed Medano Creek, which flows down from the mountains. It was very low at this time of year, but I have memories of splashing and playing in it with my kids, when it was knee high and wonderfully warm. You cross a bit of sand, and then–there are the dunes! The highest one rises 750 ft–I wasn’t terribly enthused even about climbing the lower ones! It looks much easier from below than when you are actually confronting them. We had an hysterical time sliding down the one, and then attempting to climb the next one–basically you step in place, going nowhere, but falling numerous times. We finally got to the top of one, and I sent Handsome ahead of me to climb the next one, and took a break on the one already conquered. Has anyone seen the Stephen Colbert show-the one where he was talking about being in Iraq in the midst of a dust storm, and he said he felt like he was being polished? Well, that’s how I felt–the wind was blowing up to 35 mph and I had to duck my head to avoid it as much as possible. It was while I was sitting up there, contemplating the mountains around me, listening to the silence, thinking of my brother, that I decided to return to this place again, and this time bring his cremains that I’ve been keeping for so many years. I’m going to bring them here, climb as high as I can, say a special prayer of letting go, and scatter him to the winds in the place he loved so much. Its time…..