Pictures of the fallen miners on display at the Mission San Rafael in Huntington.
The families at the Memorial Service held last August in Huntington.
As the first anniversary of the Crandall Canyon mine disaster approaches on August 6, it seems like just yesterday, but yet it seems like another lifetime. The events during that time seemed like such a bad dream. A nightmare that had no end and one from which we never awoke. The families to this day still live with the nightmare of the deaths of their loved ones. Their lives came to a sudden and tragic end. One year past doesn't make it any easier. Just one year without seeing their smile or hearing their laugh.
One year without them coming through the door and calling out, 'I'm home.' One short year, but a very long time since we could say 'I love you' and have them say I love you back.
The families have gone on, you have too, the pieces must be picked up and the puzzle must be put back together, but there are still nine very large pieces missing, nine lives. The piece that was their life connecting to your life cannot be brought back together in this lifetime.
There is a hole in this puzzle called life. This hole can never be filled. As time goes by their memory is the only source of comfort. Remember who they were. Talk about them. Don't let them be forgotten. When people lose loved ones so close to them, sometimes people think it's unhealthy to talk about the person who has died. But, I think it's important to keep their memory alive especially for the young children who are growing up without fathers.
I remember a story I read one time of a man who grew up without a father. The father had died while the young man was a boy. He still had the influence of his father. The father's memory was kept alive by a wise mother who knew the young boy needed a father even though the father wasn't here on earth.
She encouraged the young boy with stories of his father, the things the father used to do, the color of his hair and his eyes, his favorite sayings, all kept alive for the young man. The underlying message the mother brought forth for her son was that his father loved him. The young man never doubted that his father loved him from afar.
The young man felt that father's influence and love as he grew and excelled. He wanted his father to be proud of him and he worked towards that end.
Even though our miners are gone, they are not forgotten and may they be remembered with love and respect as we observe this the first anniversary of their passing.