Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Sunset in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Watching a brillant sun set in a sky filled with smoke from fires burning in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this past weekend brought thoughts of other sunsets I have remembered.
I remember watching the sunset just hours before my father died.  
It was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen.
As the sun settled behind his beloved view of the Monument, I could only think of the beauty that surrounded us as we said our sad good-byes.

I did not note the sunset on the night my daughter died.
I did not know that as the sun set on May 28th, 2010, 
my life would be forever changed when the sun rose on May 29, 2010.
On that day, my beloved Julie would leave this world at her own hand and pass on the next.

Thus began what would be "the dark night of the soul" for me.

One evening, as I sat writing in my journal, and reading, I had pondered the setting of sun on another day of grief.  My husband had sat nearby for days on end as I wrote, cried, and read. 
He allowed the time, and he gave me to support, to grieve the best way I knew how.
Wondering when and if this darkness would ever lift, I read these lines in A Grace Disguised, How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry Sittser:
...the quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.

This spoke to me.
I knew it was truth.

Sittser also writes of his own experience of healing when he says,
I knew that running from the darkness would only lead to greater darkness later on.  I also knew that my soul had the capacity to grow - to absorb evil and good, to die and live again, to suffer abandonment and find God.  In choosing to face the night, I took my first steps toward the sunrise.

This past weekend, my husband and I met with my sister Suzanne and her husband John in Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend some time together for rest, relaxation, and to build relationships.
Suzanne and John were such supports to us when Julie died.
John conducted and preached her beautiful, sensitive, and healing memorial service.
All of us will always be grateful to him for that.  
It seemed only fitting that we would meet together two years later in a place that is so loved by me  and my husband, and one they had never explored before.

While we were there, I ran across some beautiful kinetic sculptures.
I had seen a similar sculpture that 
Linda at Linda Letters had placed in her garden as a memorial to her mother and uncle.
With our impending relocation, I knew I wanted to do a similar thing.  (Thank you, Linda for the idea.)
We found the perfect sculpture at Mark White Fine Art in Santa Fe.

It is called "Trancer"
It is currently being crafted for us and will be shipped to us in about a month.

Julie had a mythical perfect man.
His name is Bob.
When we see 8:08 on a digital clock, we are reminded of Julie and her Bob.

After I had made my selection with the help of the kindest man,
I asked for his name again.
"Bob," he replied.
The tears flowed.
I knew my choice was right.

Julie, I know how much you suffered in this life.
I also know that you brought great joy and happiness to so many who loved you.
There are so many who love and miss you.
You broke our hearts.
We will forever miss you,
but we also hope you are free of pain and suffering.

We will always remember our beloved Jules,
who made us smile, 
who brought us such joy.
You were like our own little sprite:
A small or elusive supernatural being; an elf or pixie.

I hope this kinetic sculpture will always remind us of all the good and lighthearted things you brought to our lives.
My beloved daughter, you have always been a blessing.

In loving memory of

Julie Ann Christiansen

April 8, 1976 - May 29, 2010

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go
Into the dance of the stars and the planets
We let you go
Into the wind's breath and the hands of the star maker
We let you go
We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy
Go safely, go dancing, go running home.

Ruth Burges

*Please go to my daughter Keicha's blog if you wish to see a beautiful photo tribute to Julie.