It was a poignant trip. Our son-in-law had been tragically killed in a private plane crash the year between our family trip to New York and our journey to Glacier National Park. He was especially looking forward to this family trip due to his love of the Whitefish area and his excitement to share the beauty of the area with his wife and young sons.
In his honor, a friend who summered on Whitefish Lake, who we had not seen since the funeral, invited our family to their lake cabin to enjoy the glacial cold water as well as a boat ride. I remember the hush that fell over our host group as we entered the cabin. The tragedy that we were all struggling to understand and accept entered with us. Quickly, the widow (my step-daughter) and her sons were embraced as we were warmly welcomed and acclimated to the outdoor swimming area with the snack and drink table.
As the tensions of the initial moments began to recede, we settled into friendly banter while the Grands found the tall slide that allowed them to fly into the clear, cold mountain lake water, emerging with lips turning blue and teeth chattering. After a scenic tour of Whitefish Lake on the pontoon boat and tearfilled hugs goodbye, for the one person that united us all but was not present, we climbed into our vehicles for the return drive.
Several evenings later we had one of those “big Montana skies.” There must have been a million stars sparkling like diamonds against a velvety black night sky that extended as far as the eye could see. It was a panorama of mother nature’s splendor. We quickly grabbed our sweaters and blankets and after creating a communal pallet every generation laid down flat on the ground looking up into the vast cosmos. We found constellations and we saw planets as they hung hundreds of millions of miles above us, spinning in their orbits.
As we watched stars shoot across the sky we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the husband, father, and son-in-law that we all missed so terribly was smiling down on us as we gazed up into the heavens.
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.