Seventeen years ago in June 2001, Jeff, Jordan and I moved to Denver, Colorado. Our first six years as a family was filled with love and laughter but also pain and worry as Jeff and I watched our little girl come into this world two months early and fight for her life. And then 10 short months after her birth, Jeff went into end stage renal failure and needed three times a week dialysis treatments to stay alive. We couldn’t have survived those first 6 years without the love and support of our family in Kansas City, but after Jeff received his first kidney transplant in 1999 and we both completed Masters programs in 2001, we headed West to launch into a new life together.
Colorado quickly became our home. We watched Jordan thrive in elementary school, surrounded by wonderful friends and teachers. Singing in school choir programs, playing the piano and always listening to music. She then went on to high school and attended college in Denver. All the while, thriving with her love of music, curious spirit and warm heart. It filled my heart with immense joy to see Jeff in the classroom teaching science to kids where some would go on to be the first in their family to graduate from high school. He was healthy and riding his bicycle and fully thriving from his kidney transplant. I embarked on my career in healthcare that led to many exciting and engaging jobs that brought new learnings and many new friends, many of which are still in my life today.
Colorado is a state filled with glorious mountains and breathtaking views around every turn. The beauty of this state has a way of amazing you no matter how many times you’ve seen a view. Whether on bicycle rides, drives from Denver to Creede, sitting on the deck in Evergreen with a gorgeous view of Mount Evans or simply driving around town it was easy to say “we freaking live here!”
This is the place all three of us grew and transformed into the people we are today. When you stop to think that the Rocky Mountains developed over millions of years to get to the breathtaking peaks, valleys and streams we enjoy today, it’s sobering to think that as humans we have such a short time on this planet to fully develop ourselves. As I set off to explore the world and experience many beautiful places, in my heart, Colorado will always be home for me. In this place, my heart opened, my eyes widened and my spirit awakened. My curiosity to explore myself and the world deepened. While I won’t have a place to truly call home during my travels, I know that the world welcomes me. The next phase of life awaits. Tomorrow I leave Colorado and head to Spain to begin again, to expand, and to explore the courage to journey deeper than I ever have before.
Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings. The stream knows it can’t stay on the mountain. Leave and don’t look away from the sun as you go, in whose light you’re sometimes crescent, sometimes full.