This past weekend my niece’s son, Logan, and his mentor, climbed Mount Lady Washington, a 13,281 peak close to Longs Peak. It took more than 10 hours to reach the peak and come back down. Logan has a lot of spirit, old fashioned gumption and determination, all tempered by white hot anger. In his short 12 years he has made friends with chaos. Born to a mother barely in her teens, he grew up as his Mother grew up. Now she has grown into a responsible, loving Mother. Her road to maturity had lots of her own mountains to climb. Depression, anxiety and an eating disorder consumed her. Logan felt her absence. The most stable relationships he had were with his Nana and Poppa, his grand parents. Logan had lots of “parents”. His father, who Logan has seen regularly since his parents divorced, recently lost his job and needed to move closer to his family out of state. Yet another mountain of loss.
We are all mountain climbers. My Mother always said ” Don”t make mountains out of mole hills.” I hated to hear this because I knew I faced only mountains. Of course, some of my problems were molehills driven by my ego’s need to be the center of attention. Sadly, there were too many times that my mountains were made into molehills. Pain compressed, sadness squashed, fear like a black hole, and abandonment denied, were all shaped into molehills. In my family, mountains of denial and hurt were just too imposing to climb and conquer. I felt like Chicken Little, ignored and dismissed, when I cried out ” The sky is falling.” or “Help me! I am hurting” Only I could see the mountains.
In the mountains of Colorado, if you can’t go over or under the mountain, you build a tunnel through it. My mountain of grief since Roger died can not be made into a molehill, and I can’t
climb over or go under it. There is only so much denial I can carry in my backpack. It seems my only option is to go through the mountain. Jackhammers and drills are the tools used to get through rock. Courage to face the grief, feel it, and hands to hold on my journey, are my only tools to get thru the stone in my heart. My memories of hiking in the mountains with Roger sustain me. I will put my backpack on and head out to the trails. My backpack is full if rocks now, but it will be empty of rocks and full of love when I return.