Monday, August 26, 2013

Letters to Nora - Letting You Go

 August 24th, 2013

Dear Sweet Nora,

I want to tell you about last weekend.  Last weekend was when your dad and I went to the North Shore to spread your ashes.  It was a weekend completely devoted to you.  This weekend had been planned since a few hours after your birth/death. (I still don't know what to call it.) 

Sitting on the hospital bed, snuggled up next to your father as we signed autopsy releases and stillbirth certificates, we discussed how we would take care of our sweet daughter after her death. I knew right away that I wanted you cremated, because there is something so pure about cremation.  I'm not much for the Bible but the term "ashes to ashes" really rings true.  There is something spiritual about it. It's as if it completes the life cycle as starting as almost nothing and then returning to that same magical place of uncertainty.  I guess returning to the mysterious elements.  Returning to earth. 

Well, in the hospital room when I asked your dad, "Where should we spread her ashes?" He said, "Up North, where we went for our honeymoon.  On Lake Superior."  I immediately agreed because that was what I was thinking too.  But then your dad started to say with a quivering tone, "''s so cold up there right now." Tears started rolling down his checks.  

It was one of the most beautiful statements of your father's undying love for you, and I had the privilege to witness it.  Because even though he knew you would not feel a thing--his logical brain knew your body was gone--he was worried about the safety of his little girl's ashes.  So we waited until the summer to give you back to the earth.

And last weekend it happened.  It was again one of the most beautiful moments of my life.  Your father and I decided that we needed to spread your ashes off of a peak, maybe so we could be closer to the heavens.  So, Saturday afternoon after a morning of taking different hikes to different places that just didn't seem right, we found a tucked away trail that lead to Carleton's Peak.

Around 3 p.m. on a beautiful August afternoon your dad and I began to hike.  It was one of the most peaceful hikes I have ever been on.  There was a cool breeze through the trees as they rustled in the wind, saying "Hello Lindsey, this is the place, you are on your way." The serenity of the surroundings was surreal.  So peaceful, so serene, so RIGHT! As your dad and I climbed I knew he felt the same way when he stopped in his tracks and turned to me and said, "This trail is different.  It's a lot quieter than the others.  There isn't anybody on it." It was then that I knew he could feel it was the right place too.

As we continued, there were more and more signs that this was your resting place.  This hike and nature's offerings were meant for you.  As my legs started climbing the steep rocky terrain upwards I noticed a heart shape rock in my path.  I thought, "How perfect!" But, then I started noticing MORE!  There was one, and then two, and then three, and four, and FIVE!  They were there, embedded in the trail, calling us towards the top and reassuring us that YES! The place we seek for you to forever sleep lay ahead.  Dare I say it was as if you were guiding us to where you wanted to be.

The rocks weren't the only signs we saw.  Along the path we came across beautiful flowers growing out of rocks and desolate terrain, representing new life.  Symbolizing hope that even from our darkest of places, cracks of love and light can shine through.  And then there were the butterflies!  Off in the trees.  They would flutter and flits within our sight.  Never to land near us or let us take a picture, but just enough to let us know they were ever present.  Always near, never to be held, but always to been known. 

When we reached the top we stood on massive rocks and through the trees that still managed to grow in the cracks of rocks, just past them, there was a clearing and an amazing view for us to behold.  We could see the massive, never ending Lake Superior.  It went on for miles, and if we didn't know better we could have believed it was an ocean because the sea met the horizon with no shore in sight.  Then butting up to the majestic sea was a beautiful white pine and birch wood forest that we must have been hundreds of feet above the giant trees below.  It was spiritual.  It was perfect.  It was HERE that we knew you would find your new home.

Through out the hike, your father had been carrying you with care in his cargo pants pocket.  Like he would have carried you on his back in a hiking sac if you were with us in human form.  When we reached the top, he took his fatherly duties seriously (as he always will my love) and he scouted out for the perfect place to share you with the world below.  He would walk over there. No, not right.  He would scan the peak for solitude for the perfect resting place for his daughter. No, not by the birch tree.  And he walked over to the right and down into this little creaves of rock overlooking the forest below, by a small pine tree, trying it's best to thrive out of the rock, growing out of the darkness like we are doing now.   

He said, "This is IT!"  I replied with a nod and "I know."  He walked as close to the edge as he could and with a caution I yelled, "That's far enough."  He reached into his pocket and pulled you out.  Gently, and with a tender touch he unrolled the bag your ashes were in.  He started to sniffle, and then to cry as I could see his eyes redden under his sunglasses and tears staining the creases of his face.  

We decided we would each take a turn in holding you one last time.  In sharing you with the world as proud new parents do.  Your dad went first.  He reached into the bag and held your tiny partials in his hands and whispered words to you that I will never know before he released you onto the wind and back to the earth.

Then, it was my turn.  Your dad handed me you gently and I was not afraid as I wrapped my hands around your tiny form of dust.  I held you, cradled you, and held you close to my heart, and then my mouth.  As I kissed you and whispered "I love you little girl.  I always will.  Thank you for making me a mom."  I was scared.  As I didn't want to let you go, but knew I would never be able to hold onto you physically again.  Not the way I wanted to, so with one last kiss, I released the pieces I held of you into the sky and you floated on the wind, down to the trees below.

You father joined me now.  It was our turn to be one more time together as a family in the physical form. I reached into the bag one last time and clasped my hands around your remains.  Your dad held my hands in yours, as the three of us were united in body for a moment.  Your dad wept.  I wailed.  We spoke, with me going first, "We love you."  and your dad saying, "We will always love you."  And we let go.  And once again onto the wind you sailed over the earth below.

We let you go.

It was beautiful.  It was perfect.  I turned to your father and fell into his arms and cried.  We held each other and sat on the rock in the warm summer sun for what might have seemed like hours, for we were content on this point above the earth were we let you go.  Let you be at peace.

But honey know this, we might have let you go in the body, the physical.  We might need to continue to let go of our hopes and dreams we had for you.  But dear sweet, Nora, we will never let you go from our hearts. You will always be there, like a flower growing in the cracks of my darkened heart, reminding me there is hope.   

Love Always and Forever,



  1. So special, and so beautiful. <3

  2. I'm crying...this is so beautiful, Linds. I know you struggle with the idea of God in many ways, but...this is soooooo God in every form. Maybe you'd be okay with the term "spiritual"? It doesn't matter, truly. Just know what you guys did is a BEAUTIFUL tribute to sweet Nora. Thank you for sharing it <3

  3. So, so beautiful...thank you for sharing this moment. We don't yet know how to do this, and don't know when we will, but the beauty of your letting go of the physical, I know will help us on our way, when we do decide. Thank you.

  4. So so special. Tears are falling down my eyelashes as I read this on the bus on the way into work. I hope someone asks me why I'm crying! I want to share this love story with the world.
    Love you, girl!
    ~rememering Nora, always~

  5. You are awesome with your words as ever. And it us so good to know uou listen to your instincts. I still have my mother's ashes ... But am not even close to being able to let them go yet. I just haven't found "the spot"


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