Yesterday, we participated in a walk for life, which was a community event to remember those who have passed and to celebrate life. We walked from a community building out to the cemetery and back. When we returned, we had an opportunity to share with others the people we were remembering. This annual event happens in many communities all around Alaska. One of the themes is the celebration of life in order to help prevent suicide.
It made me think not only about those people who have passed in my life, but also the people who are gone from my life. I also reflected on the many people who have died in recent tragedies and the many lives which have been touched by the loss of those people.
The thoughts turned from melancholy to appreciative as one person in particular came to mind. Olga died several years ago. Since my childhood, I remember her as an older but vibrant lady. She had adventures her whole life. She told me stories of been stationed on Hawaii before it was a state, and other stories of adventures with her friends. Although well along in years, she always took care of her home herself and was fiercely independent. She is my image of what growing older will be about.
These days, the world has become smaller; there aren’t many places people haven’t been or things that people haven’t done. I won’t be the first to do anything. But I am having many adventures that are firsts for me, and Jack and I have many more planned for the future. When I measure my life up to Olga’s, I feel like I am living a life she would be proud of.
It was a good experience to walk around a cemetery and watch the children place flowers made of brightly colored tissue paper on the graves of the ones they have loved and lost. It felt good to have a connection from sadness of loss to happiness of life and living.
I have some questions about climate change in Shishmaref. Are you able to email me?
No problem. Let me know where to email you. I’m not sure what I will be able to tell you. Shishmaref saw little erosion last winter and is now unseasonably cold…not warm!