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The loss of a son - Page 6

post #151 of 217

Unthinkable. Inmaginable. I wished there were the words to express how sad I am about your loss. My deepest condolences to the family and friends.
post #152 of 217

Our hearts go out to you and your family;

Rick & Jacey
post #153 of 217
Diane and I lost our nephew to this beautiful life sliding on the hill to a slide. He was 18. We see Brian every time he flys by in the spirit of the Bald Eagle that flew by us the day he was taken by the mountain. My heart aches for you and your family.
God Bless,
Greg and Diane Luce
post #154 of 217
Well, Weems...

Sir, you have led a very passionate life. You are creme brule, not Jello. This is part of your saga. God bless you and your family. The whole thing is rich and substantial. As Jonh Irving said; "Sorrow floats." Embrace it and love it. Go get your new knee and spend time in reflection.

I only know you from here, from typed words, but you have always moved me with what you have to say. Smile on, Weems. Smile on, even if your smile is tinged with sadness.

I reckon it's hard to be your child's legacy instead of it being the other way around. Still, it's hard to imagine you won't live up to the task.

Luvin' you.

post #155 of 217
Weems, my deepest condolences. So sad to hear this devastating news.
post #156 of 217
Another Snowhead who's just heard the news - so very sorry
post #157 of 217
Awful news. The loss of a child makes no sense.
My parents had to go through a similar experience. I know how painful it must be.
My deepest condolences to you and your family.
post #158 of 217
Weems and family,

You are so loved, and by many who only know you through your writings, and those words writen about you, myself included.

May God speed your healing process and make, somehow, a positive out of this tragedy, as we know you can and will.
post #159 of 217

Bushwacker, 4rster, and myself took a little time at the top of a ridge around 1:00 yesterday to join, in our own little way, with the celebration of Wallace's life going on in Aspen.

I hope that the joy of his life can quickly overtake the grief of his loss in this time of recovery and healing.
post #160 of 217

Thank you everyone.

I will go ahead and let this thread fade, but before I do, I'd like to post this: a slightly edited version of what I spoke at one of the two memorial gatherings we had for Wallace yesterday.

The turnout of so many beautiful loving friends--both physically there, and here in the internet--was overwhelming. Many very young and wise people stood up on the snow and spoke their hearts about Wallace's beauty and impact. I was both stunned and grateful.

There is still much to be done. But we're beginning, through the tears, again. Here it is, and thank you for your thoughts and your indulgence.

A tribute to Wallace Briggs Westfeldt, spoken at his memorial gathering in Aspen on 4/09/08. His mother, brothers, and many others also spoke eloquently from the heart about his being and what he means to us in all the levels of our lives. This is the only statement I “own”, so I’ll only send this one out.—Weems Westfeldt

I want to thank all of you for the love you showed Wallace throughout his short life. You all contributed, directly and indirectly, so much to him and to our whole family, that we are completely humbled and deeply grateful.

And now we have to grieve and mourn and celebrate together before we move on.

I see an underlying theme in our grieving—sometimes spoken, but often silent—that I summarize with the word “WHY?” This is accompanied by another thought that this CANNOT BE TRUE.

When my dear friend, Mike Kaplan, came to our house to inform me of Wallace’s death, I really didn’t even understand the words he was saying. They seemed to crawl into my ears (bad enough ears anyway!) in disjointed syllables that had no possibility of making sense.

My mind wouldn’t take this in. It just refused. Often it still does. And then the reality slaps me (and us) in the face with waves of grief.

So I’ve stopped worrying too much about “Why?” And, whether there is an organizing principle in the universe or not--whether things happen for a reason or not--I’m pretty much at ease with incomprehensibility, chaos, and the apparent randomness of phenomena. Rather than try to pin down the reason, I am learning just to accept it.

My nephew and former ski racer, Matt Luhn, reminded me yesterday that the mountains give us all that we do and love out here, and yet, sometimes, they just claim one of us. It's the natural course of mountain living and it has been so for centuries. We don't like that. But we understand it, and it teaches us, like the ocean does, with such stunning directness about our vulnerability as we dance with the universe. There is nothing I can do about this, except to keep on dancing the dance—to keep on making turns.

However, I can heal from life’s blows.

For me, the beginning of healing occurred when the awful truth of Wallace’s accident became real within me. This didn’t happen suddenly, nor will the healing.

But, I need to testify here that IT IS REAL, AND THAT IT IS HARD, AND THAT WE WILL HEAL.

This doesn’t mean that sadness will disappear. Nor does it mean that there will be no scars. And it clearly doesn’t mean that we will walk away from Wallace and his great gift to our lives.

I think it means that we will be able to move forward…to place him gently and properly in our individual and collective heart… and to live lives that honor him. With time, I won’t need to think of this every day. It will just be a feeling I will have—connected to a smile at the thought of him.

The “thought of him”—the concept of Wallace—is my grounding place for all of this. It’s based on another odd question that keeps coming up: “Who was this child, this perfect young being, who has graced our lives?”

So I will take a moment to express my own answer to that and tell you what you already know. I know that I can only express a tiny part of the real answer, but I’m arrogant enough, and broken-hearted, enough to try.

1. First, Wallace was perfect from our perspective. He moved through his world with qualities of grace, elegance and style, with kindness and love, with wisdom and humility. And humor! The light and gentleness in his eyes and smile told most of the story. Other parts were told through his perseverance, his amazing coolness, his aspirations, and his sense of the “trickster”. I remember his Grandfather, Poppy Bogle, saying, with this twinkle in his eye, “That Wallace is a rascal!” I think maybe Wallace was about 6 weeks old at the time.

2. Secondly, Wallace was part of one of the greatest miracles of mine and Nancy’s lives—our triplet miracle. Watching him, and his brothers, move through their lives as a team—sometimes working as one, sometimes differentiating perfectly, and even sometimes—but rarely—having their own dysfunctions…..Wow, what a pleasure to witness! What delights we’ve seen! They seemed to be a center of gravity for each other, their friends and relatives, and for us (their parents). And just as often they were a bit embarrassed by the attention it brought them.

But it was wonderful—full of antics and scenarios that gave us laughter, tears, worry, and comfort. And it was weird! I remember when we first became conscious of them. We were getting a sonogram for Nancy when she was 17 weeks pregnant, and the attendant turns on the machine, and says, “Well, there’s the baby. (pause) And there’s another one right over here.” (And I’m thinkin’, “ANOTHER ONE!???”) (Again sometimes these words don’t really get into my brain very clearly!) And then he says, “And there is a third one over on this side.” (And I’m thinkin’ something like, “Dude, I think you got the wrong channel. Or maybe your machine’s busted. Or, use the sonogram, not the copier!”)

And from that point on nothing was the same, and everything was magical. (Not easy, but magical.) And very funny: This wonderful Taoseno lift op in Taos came up to me and with laughter in his eyes, said, “Hey Weems, bro, I heard you was havin’ triplets! Who’s the father of the other two!”

Wallace’s leg of the tripod will not be replaceable. But I already know and see that Packy and Ben, as they internalize their brother, and with their inner strength, can stand on their own. This triplet bond doesn’t end in the death of one.

3. Thirdly, Wallace was a wonderful friend for all of you, and a loving son and brother for us. Amelia, Wallace’s love and companion says it best and most simply. “He was so easy to love.” The children and friends at our service on the snow, all said the same in one way or another.

4. And, finally, Wallace had the magic on his snowboard. In spite of all his injuries, he was a master of his body, his board, gravity, air, and snow. His skills were vast and his technique was flawless. He understood his snowboard, the snow, and the mountain forces, and knew what he could do with all that. His determination and commitment was so inspiring that it sometimes broke our hearts, but also made us happy. I remember him duct taping a skateboard with no trucks to his feet and doing flip after flip on a trampoline. When he first got the chance to ride—at a much earlier age than we were recommending in the ski school—he walked up and slid down endlessly on the beginner hill at Snowmass—discovering the craft and honing the skill—just as any child learns to walk.

However, for me, what really stood out was the way he touched the mountain and the snow—with the same grace and feeling that he touched us all. Watching him make simple turns on groomed slopes was just as moving for me and Nancy as watching him jump or ride rails. The little things he did, the flow of his movements and snowboard—these were just stunningly simple and beautiful. He massaged the snow and danced with gravity in ways that I’ve always wanted to achieve. Many musicians can play their instruments, but few can make them come alive with the music. Wallace was transcendent in the way he worked his body and his board and his spirit. And that was the magic that just enthralled us. And we’re all so lucky to have seen it.

So here’s the deal. I’m going to gently move gratitude to its rightful place alongside the sorrow.

After all…
You can’t choose how long you can live. But you can choose how well you do it.
And, Wallace chose very very well.
And I’m so grateful for that.

You can’t choose how long your loved ones are with you physically. But you can choose how you enshrine them in your own mind, body, and spirit.
And, it will be so easy to keep Wallace in our hearts.
I’m really grateful for that.

You can’t manage the course of your children’s or your friends’ lives. But you can honor them EVERY DAY in the way you, yourself live.
And, it will be fine to lead my life trying to be worthy of the gift of Wallace’s short, beautiful life.
I’m completely grateful for that.

As Tom Crum has taught me so well…”Always give thanks.”
So I invite you all to join me in this gratitude. It feels very good.

And besides, we have no other good choice on this. The experience of having been touched by Wallace demands it!

Weems Westfeldt, April 9, 2008
post #161 of 217
This is terrible news. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.
post #162 of 217
My thoughts are with you and your family! Can't even fathom losing one of my kids. Hold on to the memories of your son doing the things that made him happy!

post #163 of 217

I am very sorry for your loss. I couldn't imagine how I would feel if my son were to die.

post #164 of 217
Weems, your post was Perfect.

post #165 of 217
This is unbelievable. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
post #166 of 217
As as a father of two big mountain skiing sons our collective heart goes out to the Westfeldt family at this very sad time.

Wallace is still out there, ripping it up with Maroon Bells eternal ski team.

At one with the mountain.

Slow turns Weems, with feeling.

Oz, Jack & Monty
post #167 of 217
Weems, your ability to confront your tragedy on the terms and perspective that will allow you to heal and move on is a great life lesson you have shared with us that will serve as a direction and guidance when inevitably the rest of us encounter personal grief. Its a rare person that would share his most personal thoughts and emotions while enduring what you are currently going through. We are fortunate to be able to learn and benefit from your wisdom. Thank you.
post #168 of 217

Thank you for sharing the post. Your emotions & words are powerful and hopefully, something, I can try to incoporate in my daily life.
post #169 of 217
It sounds like such a beautiful memorial. From the parent of one angel to another I will be keeping you close in thoughts.
post #170 of 217
Jeff Lungren just told me the sad news. I can only hope that all the prayers being said on your behalf help you through this difficult time.
Don Duran
post #171 of 217


Thank you everyone for your continued indulgence. This will be my last post on this. Promise!!!

His brothers and friends put this up on youtube. So here it is.

post #172 of 217
Well, if that doesn't choke you up, you have no heart.

A very nice memorial boys. I think Wallace is kicking back and smiling right about now.
post #173 of 217
Originally Posted by weems View Post
Thank you everyone for your continued indulgence. This will be my last post on this. Promise!!!

His brothers and friends put this up on youtube. So here it is.

Post to your hearts content. I think I speak for the entire community when I say, this thread is powerful, and your posts are enlightening.
If it can be a catalyst toward healing and sharing Wallace's special spirit, then...........keep us posted.
post #174 of 217
A true poet on a snowboard. A very fitting memorial.

Weems, you've always been a giver. If a wave hits you on this journey, we're here for you and your family. Keep reaching out by whatever medium helps you heal.
post #175 of 217
post #176 of 217
Great video and Weems just keep indulging yourself. I don't think there is anyone here who didn't enjoy that.
post #177 of 217
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
Post to your hearts content. I think I speak for the entire community when I say, this thread is powerful, and your posts are enlightening.
If it can be a catalyst toward healing and sharing Wallace's special spirit, then...........keep us posted.
I couldn't have said it better!
post #178 of 217
Originally Posted by weems View Post
This will be my last post on this. Promise!!!
We collectively hope not Weems.

The video tribute was a wonderful display of grace, talent, and bravery.............. just like the "old man"!
post #179 of 217
Weems, your ability to share yourself in what must be the most difficult time of your life brings comfort and courage to others in ways you can't begin to imagine. If being here to accept your thoughts and share your pain helps you in any measure we can only be very happy to be of small service.

I've been touched by the concerns of others here in my times of crisis and found comfort and knowledge that sustains me still. I hope that our Epic community will be a source of strength for you as well. May peace find you and love support you.
post #180 of 217
Condolences. I wish there was something that could be said that would make things different.
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