Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chile Part 2

Santiago is Chile's capital and home to 5.3 million people. There's a constant smog looming over the city but on a rare occasion, when the sky is clear, the view is beyond awe inspiring. The city filled with condo high rises, historical monuments and barrios is encompassed by the snow capped Andes mountain range on the east and the beautiful coast to the west. Amongst the loud hustle and bustle of this overrun city, there are pockets of immense beauty. I was lucky I had a pretty cute tour guide to show me and the girls around.

There was nobody else but us and 4 pair of large $5 snow gloves on the snow covered Andes mountain. It was breathtakingly white.

Sometimes something that starts out small. . .

. . . can end up really big.

This is the last post from our whirlwind, spur of the moment, incredibly difficult and amazing trip we took as a family. During this trip, we grew closer together, even though there was one less head to count. Our family grew stronger, even though at times I felt like I was falling apart. I love that I saw Charlie reaching out her hand, grabbing onto the empty air, and listening to her tell me that Max was holding her hand. I loved her even more when she got mad at Abby for sitting on Max as we jumped out of the rainy night and into a Taxi cab, or when she fed him fried fish and told us he loved it. I will cherish Abby crawling into bed with us as the sun began to peek through the window and all of us spooning like spoons nicely tucked in a drawer. Bedtime for the girls was spent chattering about the days adventures, while in the other room, Ryan and I held each other under an unfamiliar comforter and told each other we would get through this . . . together. This was a trip where we were able to escape watchful eyes and expectations, to just feel what we felt. No one, other than our Savior, will ever know what it is like to have an Abby, and a Charlie, and lose a Max. We cried when we felt like it, laughed when we wanted to, and ate incredible amounts of ice cream and gelato. It was liberating. To be moved by our own feelings. To actually hear what our hearts and minds were telling us; they were telling us it was going to be okay. To just be ourselves, together, as a family. It's a time in our lives I will never forget. It was a trip of a lifetime that meant everything to our precious family.


Nathan said...

Thanks for sharing your journey openly. You guys are loved by so many.

Ann said...

There were many of us who needed to be part of your journey that you have so unselfishly shared. You have made us cry and smile and have given us hope and I will love you forever.

Kimberly said...

I'm so glad you have the memory of your trip and the time you spent as a family, with such incredible adventures, to blend in with all the sad memories of saying goodbye to Max. We love you!

Steve and Jeri May said...

Lovely memories...and many more to be made.

Keri said...

Thank you for your sweet words and beautiful pictures of your amazing family. Before I crawl into my bed tonite, I will go hug my own sleeping 4th grader, and say a prayer for you, Max and your family.
Yesterday, I sat in Stake Conference in Yorktown, NY, wiping tears as your mother-in-law shared your heartbreaking story. Yet, as she talked about how your faith has bonded your family, I was again reminded how important that faith is. There are so many like you who go through unimaginable loss and yet you are smiling. And living and loving. And sharing your faith and strength with strangers. Like the lucky souls who received parts of Max's strong body, there are people everywhere who hear or read your story, and want to have more faith; be stronger, kinder and sweeter. A better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister.
So thank you Harris Family. Especially Max!
I am so truly sorry for your loss. I will be checking in from time to time; sending prayers from Connecticut.
Hugs to you,
a Katie C. friend (your BYU days?) who sent me here when I inquired of your MIL's talk.
p.s. almost forgot. You are as beautiful on the outside as you seem to be on the inside. Same with your gorgeus girls and surfer.:)

Christina said...

Cheering you & ryan on always!!!
you & your family will be blessed because of the choices you have made, make and will continue to make on this journey---
ps-LOVE the girls' jackets--did you get them in Chile?? They look Chileanish--HA!

Ali said...

I have absolutely loved re-living this trip with you, through your amazing pictures and words. You are so incredible and you will get through this together as a family...I am grateful you were able to escape and do what you needed to do to go on...we love you so much., Thank you for sharing your experiences, your good ones and hard one. Love ya much!! The smith's

Meiken said...

Thanks for sharing these experiences with us. I've laughed, smiled and cried, but most importantly been inspired by all these amazing post. We love you all so much!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. This is as close as a working class mama like me will ever get to Chile (or any vacation for that matter!) Looks like a lovely place.

More than that, you look like you're in a lovely place as a family. You are all so strong and resilient.

I hope you'll find that you don't have to go all the way to Chile to escape "watchful eyes and expectations", as you said... or at least not let that get to you. You're a wonderful mother and person. If people miss that, then they have a problem.

Amy said...

THANK YOU! For your beautiful words, pictures, & talent ... thank you for opening my eyes just a little more & reminding me to hug my girls a little tighter.

My husband served a mission in Chile back in '93, so I've loved seeing your pictures.

Hang tight.. the road may be bumpy, but it'll lead you somewhere. Somewhere fantastic! :)

Emily said...

I loved living your vacation with you through your blog and I love how you summed it up! You are a blessing.

kellibelli said...

Very inspiring...I am now getting off the computer to go hold my kids and make some memories today...thank you for sharing, and inspiring us all. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I am so glad you were able to take this trip and grow closer as a family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this inspiration.

Bart & Misty said...

Bart served his mission in Chile. We have always wanted to go together... it looks amazing!!
I made a new blog that I'm hoping to stay up on, so make sure you change my info on your blogger. Love ya!