I think of the families who have already lost their homes and how each day when they remember something they lost in the fire, they will grieve. They will grieve over and over again.
I am heartbroken over the lives lost yesterday in the fire. They were young, beautiful lives with the world ahead of them. They selflessly put themselves in harms way to help a greater good, but now the lives of their families and loved ones are changed forever.
I wrote this piece about nine month ago. I was thinking of submitting it to the Chelan Mirror (a local newspaper), but I didn't. It didn't seem strong enough and I felt it needed more work. Today, however, it seems appropriate to share here.
The sun rises over the hill on a sunny, summer morning and my parents head down to the dock with coffee cups in hand. They load their skis into the boat and hit the chilly, still waters of Lake Chelan. The stillness of the water does not wait for late risers. Only those of us who are awake in the early morning hour will join our parents in the boat. We take turns jumping into the water with our foot in the ski and rope in hand.
It’s our favorite time of the day. It holds so much promise for what is to come.
After our morning ski we head back to the house to have breakfast together as a family. Blueberry French toast or warm cinnamon rolls will be shared on the sundeck by all 19 of us.
The rest of the summer day is spent biking, swimming, fishing, playing games of cribbage and afternoon boat rides. We never look at our watch. We don’t need to. The time of the day is known by the passing of Lady Express and then the grand ‘ole Lady of the Lake. We jump onto our rafts and ride the waves as each lady passes by. Just about the time all of us have had our fill of the sun, she disappears behind the hill until her arrival again the next morning.
Our love affair with Lake Chelan began over 40 years ago when we camped twice a summer at the State Park. We began our mornings much the same way as we do now, but instead of cinnamon rolls from the oven we cooked our eggs and bacon on a picnic table sitting next to our tents. Our family loved every minute of our summers in that State Park. Even when torrential downpours forced us to dig trenches around our tents we cried when it was time to go home.
One day twenty five years ago, my parents cruised by a narrow piece of land containing nothing more than dirt, sage brush and a ‘for sale’ sign posted in the ground. The imagination of a school bus driver and a food broker with modest earnings eventually led them to build their family home from the ground up. Every cement block, wood slat and painted wall was built from their dream and hard work.
Three years ago was the last time our father boarded his boat to drive his high school sweetheart for her morning ski. Cancer invited itself into our lives and took our beloved dad. Three years later our 71 year old mother skied Lake Chelan for the last time when cancer struck again.
The story of two high school sweethearts who loved their family and loved Lake Chelan will continue on for generations to come. Today, as we sit on the sundeck without our beloved parents, we bear witness to the value of beauty, hard work, imagination and the strength of family.
In honor of Mike and Diana Crosby and their profound love for Lake Chelan.
I'm praying God grants grace, comfort and strength to the families of Chelan, the firefighters and the grieving.