Wednesday, December 30, 2009

There are some things that only you would understand. I know I can still talk to you, but its really hard to hear your response.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Home Again

As soon as I landed at DIA the other night, a whole new wave of grief washed over me. Front and center again. Everywhere I go reminds me of you; there is always a connection. I am trying to shift from sometimes feeling anxious/sad/overwhelmed when I think of you to rather holding onto the good. A friend shared with me today a passage from a poem written by Mary Oliver, and I thought you would just love it:

maybe death isn't darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —

as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.

So I'm trying to shift from the darkness and instead hold onto the light you created in this world, the light that shines within all of us who love you. I know it will take time, but I know it will happen.

Beth and I took another snow hike today. At one point we sat down on the snow in a clearing of trees and talked about you. Suddenly Beth said, "By now, if Taige were here, he'd have made a bunch of snowballs and thrown them at us! SOS!" Later on we walked by a lone pine tree whose needles were just perfectly covered in snow; it had collected on them at an angle due to the direction of the wind. It was so beautiful! We felt your presence there today. We saw your light.

So keep it coming, Taige. Lots of love.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I think you are making your rounds!

In reading this blog, comments on your facebook, and talking to friends, I'm learning that you have showed up in a lot dreams lately! I remember my mom saying that she talked to her dad a lot in her dreams after he passed. I never really understood what she was talking about until now. You have showed up in my dreams a lot lately. The dreams have mainly consisted of you and I just sitting there talking. Last night was so real, I was even thinking..."wow...this seems like a dream...but I know it's not!" We were just sitting there talking about everything that has happened. I was sad, but trying not to cry in front of you. It seemed you were doing the same thing. At one point in the conversation, you folded back your shirt sleeve and showed me this great tan line. When we lifeguarded together we were always trying to get the best tans! You then said that you couldn't believe you had gone off to heaven with such a great tan! We laughed and I told you that you looked more beautiful then ever. I was so excited, because you broke the ice with your humor, and I could ask you about heaven. All I remember is this HUGE grin on your face. The dream ended there. I know you're happy, and I also know you are making your rounds to all your friends and family letting them know that.
Immediately, after I found out about your death, I was in visiting my pastor at our church. I was telling her all about you, and the great loss I was feeling. She said something that I'll never forget. She explained to me that when someone passes on, we do not stop having a relationship with them. The relationship continues on, it just changes. I get that now! Whether your memory comes in the middle of the night in the form of a dream, or some how, some way your spirit can speak to us when our subconscious lets it...I don't know. But I do know all of your friends and family continue to have a relationship with you. Some how, some way. And for that...I'm thankful.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Always a good host, always.

I just remembered when you had your miniscus surgery and as you were coming out from under the anesthesia, you were completely out of it and told all the nurses in the room that you were having a party at your house and excitedly gave them all your address. I remember the way you leaned over and your open-mouthed laugh when you recounted this story to us later that week.

I love and miss you.

La Telaraña

Siempre estás en mis pensamientos, sabes.
Son las cuatro de la mañana y de nuevo no puedo dormir.
Todavía no lo entiendo, no lo puedo entender, no lo puedo internalizar.
Como las olas entregándose a la playa, el dolor de tu ausencia vuelve y me deja inconsolable.

En vida, tejías una telaraña fuerte e intrincada de tus amigos
Personas únicas; cada una ofrecía algo distinto.
Personas que nunca se conocieran si no te hubieran conocido.
Y como una araña tejiendo, las noticias de tu muerte extendieron lejos
Las personas en mi propia telaraña—en todas partes del mundo, algunos que nunca te conocieron—me ofrecieron sus pensamientos y sus corazones.

Pero a veces me siento como una polilla, sofocada en esta telaraña.
No hay nada que decir.
No sé cómo sentir.
Pero, como tú hacías en tu vida, voy a tratar a ver lo bueno en todo.
Y la próxima vez que veo una telaraña, perfecta, delicada, magnífica, con unas gotitas de rocío
Pensaré de ti, y una sonrisa vendrá a mi cara.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Last night I dreamed that I found you in a small, white room. You were leaning back in a cozy chair, that devilish grin all over your face. I remember saying, "Thank God, Taige, I had the most horrible dream..." and you just sat there with a knowing look. You emanated the most sincere, comforting feeling.

Salmon Toss

Remember the last Labor Day party at the Res when Taige tried to do the fish toss?! He was trying to wind up a 3 foot long Salmon and lost his grip. Mr. Fish went flying and he was embarrased and thought it was halarious at the same time so he kind of collapsed in laughter before someone handed him the spare fish. We all laughed too, until the original Mr. Fish hit a six year old by-stander and knocked him over!!  Haaa!!  Sorry kid!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


This Thanksgiving I am thankful for you, Taige. Thank you for challenging me to be more honest with myself and others. Thank you for daring me to do crazy things. Thank you for being my companion. For the hiking and camping trips, dinners, burnt pizzas, movies, music, long conversations, ski days, and great hugs. For bringing some amazing people into my life.
Thank you for being my Anam Cara.
Missing you, thinking of you, always.
With love and gratitude,


November 25

Yesterday I didn’t cry at all. Not that I felt good, just numb and disconnected. I thought I might be able to make it through today too (not that it really matters), but I didn’t. I’ve come to realize the power of an embrace. You can really tell if someone is sincere and expressing their love.  I have as of yet been unable to keep a lid on any stewing emotions when faced with such an embrace. It is such a comforting experience that it knocks my guard down in an instant, as it were nothing more than a piece of paper blown over by the wind.  And then, I cry. Every time. And I know its ok to cry. Maybe its like I told you about skiing, that every time you fall you get a little better, or, every tear I’m crying brings me closer to some sort of understanding or acceptance. Here’s hoping.

November 21

How am I ever going to function like a normal person? Everything reminds me of you- people we both know, the sound of someone’s voice, drinks, fabrics, music, walking anywhere in this town that has started to feel suffocating. In every instance I forget its not you, and you wont ever be there again. I’m at work and I think I hear your voice, people mentioning your name. It’s so hard to understand, to really take a hold of the fact that you are gone; sometimes I think it might be easier not to try to see eye to eye with reality. Maybe I could just float around for a few years like a zombie, watching my life as a movie. I would feel less, it would become easier to do normal things.

A tall person enters the room, my heart beats faster, reality comes back and the bad feeling along with it. Someone is wearing a tan, plaid button down shirt but of course its not you. I walk down the alley, past your restaurant, my head turns out of habit to see if your car is there. I stopped at the back door and thought about going in to see who was still there, but I couldn’t do it and kept walking. Into the back entrance of the Downer I went, barely holding on to my composure as I walked in. Everyone was there, and they all can read my face. Asking how I’m doing only makes the light grip on composure lost. I’m standing next to the bar and turn to take in the room; I realize I am sitting in the same spot that the dancing video was taken. Fully unable to understand how you went dancing across the floor two weeks ago and now…   The social environment no longer lends the lighthearted release it did in the past. It only offers a deep emptiness and disconnect. As everyone copes in a different way it separates us, or me at least, tonight. Now its 3:06 am and I’m sitting here in the dark listening to your music and writing. The waves are short and strong, and remind me a little of what I imagine child birth to be like. Coming in waves, sharp and intense, a bit of calm, then sharp again; only this time at the end you realize you are left minus one instead of plus one. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

From Jordan Hasquet

To my Cuz,

It has been tough being overseas and not being able to show my love back home for Taige and be there for Aunty Lin, Kelly, and Parker.  I want you guys all to know that I am praying for you and love you lots.  My mom just told me about this website and I got on as soon as I could.
Taige I just wanted to thank you for being such a good friend to my brother and I when we were younger.  I know we didn't keep in touch as much as the years went on but I will never forget the boy I grew up with.  We had some great days riding bikes, sledding, swimming at grandpa and grandma's, camping out in your back yard, getting slushies at Mini-mart, and just plain causing trouble.  These are all memories that will never fade from my mind.  Needless to say you also turned out to be quite the amazing guy.  Just look at all these people you had a great impact on.

You will be missed greatly,

Your Cuz,


From Erin Kerns

I have been trying to figure out what to say about Taige.  He was larger than life, and how do you express that?  I knew from the moment I met him that he was special!  He was the kind of guy that could turn you inside out.  He was a huge influence in my life, and I am so thankful that I got the chance to know him, and everyone that he brought into my life.  I love you Taige!

From Devlin Devore

6’8”  Not just the size of a man, but the size of his stature.  The Golden Retriever of Men.  Loved by all.  With an uncanny ability to make people see people for who they are, not who they like.  Taige broke down social barriers.  He brought truth and comfortability to each and everyone he met.  He helped guide us when we were lost.  He was a gentle giant.  He made us laugh at ourselves and sometimes him. When he danced, he would consume you.  When he laughed, you heard it from a block away.  When he smiled……when did he not smile.  He made us better people.  The loss is huge, just like the size of the man and the size of his stature.

Friday, November 20, 2009

So Much Love


I remember meeting you for the first time at the Bitter bar. You were standing at the bar with James Lee and a group of your friends, booming and laughing together. You were obstructing the aisle, and I kept squeezing past you more frequently than was necessary (“Oh, don’t mind me, I’ll just slide past you here.”). At some point, you smiled warmly, if not suspiciously, and stopped me to introduce yourself (you must have found my shameless lack of finesse and feigned innocence endearing). I don’t remember much of the content of that first conversation, but I remember being impressed and seduced by how big you seemed in body and personality. I was so comfortable with you right off the bat, and after our first hug that night I couldn’t stop thinking about wanting to be in your expansive embrace (now too, and more than ever). I was smitten...

I was immediately attracted to your bouncy enthusiasm and bright lopsided perfect smile. I admired your ability to lead with grace and set the mood of the room with your effortless warmth that you shared with everyone you encountered. You would introduce me two and three times to all of your friends (“do you know my friend Mel, she is incredible!” “Taige, I work with Mel, and yes she’s incredible.”) because it was so important to you that the people you loved all loved each other too. I came to respect your strength, your honesty, and the constancy of your moral compass. And I especially relished the times that you shared your sadness and distress with me, because (and I loved this about you) you were so filled with an indelible optimism that only very infrequently would allow for an authentic expression of sadness. I miss your affection. I want to lavish hugs and kisses on you. I am honored and grateful that you were so vulnerable with me. I wish circumstances had been different, and that I had been better for you.

Taige, I have never met someone so generous with his love and warmth as you. I will do all I can to learn from your tremendous example.

Thank you. I love you. And I will miss you for the rest of my days.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hi Richard.

I was out a few nights ago. Just sitting at the bar, not really drinking my cider. (Which you would have called me a glutard for) And Phoenix came on. Listzomania came on. I burst into tears.
I just want to dance with you again, and dodge your arms and shoulders swinging around. (I laugh as I write that)

I walked into the office at Centro on Sunday night. Ash had told me to grab something from her purse. I walked in completely expecting to see you turn around in your chair with that guilty look on your face. I would have then said "What are you listening to and who are you stalking on facebook?" Last time it was La Roux (you then started calling Molly that) Megan and I told you about la Roux forever ago it seems, and you were just then getting into it. "I'm not your toy, this is not another girl meets boy" You turned it up really loud and laughed at the video on youtube. "Look at her dress! It's amazing!" I started singing with it and so did you, but every time you would start singing something I was singing I would get thrown off because you'd sing so loud and so off!
There are so many things to say. I miss so many things about you.
But mostly I just miss your presence. You had a way of filling up a place in my life and there is no way to fill it ever again.
I know you wouldn't want to see us sad and crying. But, understand that we can't help but mourn the loss of such an amazingly beautiful person.
I can't stop crying now, so I don't know what else to say.
I love you so much, we all love you so very very much. And you'll always be a part of our lives.

The love you found in me.

There's a black crow sitting across from me;
his wiry legs are crossed
And he's dangling my keys he even fakes a toss
Whatever could it be
That has brought me to this loss?

I'm not good with numbers but there is somehow a six feet, eight inch hole in my heart and chest cavity and it's shaped like Taige Smith.

He came into my life when he asked Erin to unlock the front door to Centro before a dinner shift to let me into the building. I was standing on the sidewalk outside, completely fed up with my day job and armed with my restaurant resume. We sat across from one another at table #83 for twenty minutes. He pretended to look over my references but what we really talked about was music, Napoleon Dynamite, our favorite places to eat in Boulder, and how we both attended the University of Hawaii during the same years. At the end of this "interview," he gave me the fiercest hand shake and told me he just needed to make a couple of phone calls. An hour later he called to offer me a serving job.

Taige was my manager at first but quickly became one of my closest friends. When you talked to him, you were fully heard. He wouldn't break eye contact for a second, making you feel like the only person in the entire world. After the sad and bitter end of my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, he pulled me out of my own personal darkness over and over with his infamous hugs, with coin style margaritas, with laughter and prodding and tough love. When I sprained and fractured my foot, he immediately called around to cover all of my shifts and called and texted me regular reminders to keep it elevated and iced. He's responsible for the words "Clare Bear" on all of my receipts for customers, though he only called me "Bear" or "the slow one." We'd make one another laugh until our cheeks hurt. He had the best, throw-your-head-back laugh. We e-mailed one another .mp3's and links to download different albums because we loved the same music. He introduced me to some of my favorite bands.

On my 26th birthday he demanded that I join him on the West End rooftop with Travis, Paige, and Cristiano for tall PBRs and shots. We laughed at Kittens Inspired by Kittens on Youtube (on his iPhone) until we had tears in our eyes. Besides dinner with the family, I hadn't had any solid plans for that evening. Because of Taige, it turned out to be one of my best birthdays ever.

During the summer we went to the lake by Wesley's house. We drank cheap champagne out of cups and put our feet in the water. We sat on the dock with our friends and sang the theme song from Dawson's Creek. We rented busses to fill with friends and danced at shows. We shared little bowls of enchilada sauce and rice with chips when we were too tired to order anything else at the end of an evening.

Taige taught me what it meant to really love food, how to pair it with wine, how to talk to people in a way that made them feel welcomed and at home-- both at work and outside of Centro. He taught me what it meant to be passionate about my surroundings. Over the past few months he had been assessing and filtering out the boys that were unworthy of my affection, calling them "dirty birds."

This past summer, he interviewed a potential candidate for the part time manager position. They sat on the patio with coffee. Travis and I were setting up for the brunch shift and observing Taige's closed off body language-- legs crossed, leaning back, one hand over his mouth. It was a rare pose for him. Even though we could only hear snippets of the conversation, we could easily tell that the guy wouldn't be considered. When the man left that morning, Taige told us how important it was to him to find someone who truly grasped what we are all about-- great people, amazing food, excellent service, a strong and unconditional sense of family. I've worked in a dozen restaurants in my young life and put myself through college waiting tables. That said, never have I ever worked for a person whom I believed in so completely and entirely.

What will stay with me for the rest of my life is this: if you and one other person have Taige in common, you don't need anything else in order to be family. He was and will be the glue for so many people that would have never given one another the time of day under ordinary circumstances. I will strive to be that kind of person, to be that open to the world, to tie other beautiful lives together. My dream is to be half as courageous with my heart as he was. Knowing him will continue to be one of my biggest honors.
I love you, Taige. Then, now, forever. Rest in peace.

One Favorite Place...

A few of us gathered today at one of your many favorite spots. I don't think anyone really knew what to expect when we walked up to the beach, but it felt like a huge weight was enveloping me. Not the kind of weight I have been feeling in the morning that makes my stomach turn, just the kind I remember feeling when you wrapped your arms around me. I sat on the big flat rock in the middle of the beach and felt you sitting there with me. It was just like the last time we went to the res, except that you were the one sitting on the rock then. We swam all the way across and back, at first head down serious swimming (this was a workout after all) and soon after giving up on the workout and just doggie paddling all the way so we could gossip. Ha! It makes me laugh now as I think about all the things we talked about! How irrelevant they are, and how much do I wish now that I would have told you how much I loved you instead of who was quitting Big Red F and who was hooking up wth who! Oh well, I'm pretty sure you knew how much Hot Carl loved you anyway (after all, I wouldn't let just anybody call me that dirty name! ha!).

My feet are dragging!

While getting ready for the day today, I started crying (again). This time...they were tears from laughter.
October 2000. We both just started our freshmen year in college. You were in Missoula, I was in Colorado. A few months in, we decided it was time you came down for a visit. I remember being so happy to see you! Our agenda: Six Flags! I don't remember anything about our time at six flags except one trumps all other possible memories. You convinced me (of course) to go on that scary rollar coaster where people's feet hang down with nothing below them. I HATE rollar coasters...but you talked me into it. We got on. I'm scared out of my mind....and you of course are laughing. So the ride begins. Up...up...up. Click click click click. Oh boy. zoooOOOOMMMM! Down we go! You of course....hands in the air, screaming. Me...jaw clenched tight, eyes closed. Then:

You said, "Katie! My feet are dragging my feet are dragging!"

Me, "whatever Taige! Don't tell me that! I'm freaked out."

You, "No! feet are dragging on the ground!"

The rest of the ride consisted of you yelling about your feet and me trying hard not believe you. We got off the ride...finally!

You said again, "Katie....seriously, my feet were dragging on the ground! Look!"

Then you lifted up your foot...and yes...there it was. The rubber on your shoes had been scrapped down to the fabric of your shoe! I couldn't believe it! Each time the rollar coaster dipped down close to the ground, everyone else's feet were a safe distance from the ground below, but you on the other hand...not at all! Even the rollar coaster designers didin't account for a man of your size! You were a giant indeed. I think you were just too big for this world....your heart...your soul, all too big for this world. Now you are in a place, where you can stretch your legs out...even on a rollar coaster.

Note: The story would later develop in me making you go on that rollar coaster... :) always made a better story anyway (I can hear you now, "no, made me go on that thing!").

What was your secret?

I have spent more time on the phone with friends and family in the last few days than I have for years. As I talk to each person, we consistenly find ourselves embraced by all the memories we shared with you. The memories go on and on Taige. One common theme keeps coming up though. A theme I never really thought about much before. Some how, some way, you had a way....a way to make anyone do anything! Some of the crazy stuff you convinced me to do! Unbelievable! New...and old friends alike...I bet everyone can relate. What was your secret Taige? How did you do that? My answer...Maybe it was the smile...the laughter....the face you would chase me around with if I didn't agree....or the fact that I knew you'd just pick me up (like a rag doll) and make me do whatever anyway....or maybe....just was your desire to make everyone around you feel as alive as you did. I think that was your secret Taige. You had a way of embracing every single moment. You lived every single moment. And simply put, you wanted everyone around you to do the same. And we did Taige. We did around you. Thank you...thank you so much. Love, Katie (little schoombie)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


One summer day we hiked up Mt. Sanitas
You told me people could not normally keep up with your large stride.
I pushed a little harder.
On the way down, you all of a sudden began to run
I ran too.
Faster, faster [now you could not keep up with me!]
As I ran, I shook my head from side to side
I felt the fresh air filling my lungs
I smiled.
I felt thrilled.
I felt fulfilled.
I felt free.

Now too
Your soul is

Cada Día

Cada día alguien me habla de ti
intentando sacar el dolor de mi alma.
Cada día alguien me habla de ti
intentando explicarme que ya no volverás.

Pero de noche, cuando ya no hay luz
cuando todos se van,
tú caminas despacio entre mis sueños y estás.
No eres solo un recuerdo
yo te siento tan cerca que pareces real.
Y después te vas
cuando yo despierte
tu ausencia vendrá.

Cada día alguien me habla de ti
y me dice que el tiempo es una rueda girando.
Cada día yo podría subir
después de tocar fondo si girara también.

Pero de noche cuando ya no hay luz
cuando todos se van,
tú caminas despacio entre mis sueños y estás.
No eres solo un recuerdo
yo te siento tan cerca que pareces real.
Y después te vas
cuando yo despierte
tu ausencia vendrá.

Larger Than Life

“I have a friend who’s a giant,” she said. She wasn’t kidding.
You used to just pick people up—in the middle of the street, at the restaurant, wherever.
You would make every person you were with feel like they were the most important person in the world.
Your energy, exuberance, and charisma flowed out of you like electricity, ready to enliven those around you.
Everything about you was big. Your body, your smile, your heart, your generosity, your sense of adventure, your compassion for others, your loyalty to those you loved, and above all, your spirit.
And your spirit lives on in all of us…for it is
Larger than life.

October Hike

Rise and Shine

Wake up at 6:00, cry. Wake up at 6:30, feel sick. Roll over, pretend its not real, fall back asleep. Wake up again, sick to my stomach, count ten breaths and fall back to rest. Give up, get up, brush my teeth and don’t even notice I’m crying again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I will sell this house today!

You called me a few weeks ago
You said, “I think I want to get into real estate.”
I said, “I will sell this house today!”
You laughed your big silly laugh
And that was that.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

As I sit here, tears clouding my eyes, I let this song envelop me
Thinking of you
You loved this song
It gives me comfort despite the pain I feel without you here.

Music played a role in every facet of your life
To get you going, to relax and comfort you, to get you excited, or if you needed a good cry
And as I listen to this beautiful melody
It brings me peace, and I know you are feeling it, and I know you are with me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beautiful Boy...

I miss you and my heart aches from emptiness


We have gone through so much together. The good and the bad. You were trying so hard to help my life struggle. I know that you can see me and see that I am being successful. I wanted to show you so badly the great things that I could do for the world and for you. You were a soul mate to me and I will never forget the warmth that you showed me in your life. I want to live for you the best that I can. You are such a sensitive wonderful person and that I will love till the day that I join you. I pray that you will be able to help all of us; helping us to learn and be better people. You will be missed but you are not gone. The next part of your life will be great and you will surprise everyone.

I love you


I’ve known you for almost 6 years. I remember when I first met you. I had just started at the Canyon Café. Although we hadn’t been formally introduced yet, you captivated me immediately and it became a goal of mine to become your friend. That doesn’t happen to me often, it’s rare that I like someone instantly, but not in your case. I just knew you were someone worth investing in.

Soon enough, I achieved my goal as we bonded over the hilarities and frustrations of the restaurant business, our love lives, music, and our mutual love for skiing. You never failed to make me laugh. You were so freaking funny. And you were incredibly smart, which made you even funnier, which made me love you more.

I usually came to work not in a great mood, as working with the general public was often difficult and required patience and a thick skin. You loved it, thrived on it, and your customers loved you in return. You enjoyed giving people a good experience no matter what they challenged you with. Loyal repeat guests often occupied your tables. It was your calling to work with people and restaurants became your outlet to express that.

We both moved to Denver around the same time. I remember how excited you were for life in the city. We lived blocks from each other in Capital Hill. I remember days of visiting each other’s tiny apartments, meeting for coffee, talking about relationships, and life goals. You had so much passion for everything you did and everything that interested you, I envied that.

I recommended you apply at North in Cherry Creek, where I was working. How much fun it would be to work with you again, to breath in your energy and exuberance everyday. But mostly, I needed those hugs (you haven’t really felt better than after you got a hug from Taige.) So large and strong, you would pick me up and squeeze me for minutes. Rejuvenating my soul with your energy. I will miss those hugs soooo much. Years went by and our lives moved in separate directions, you back to Boulder and me out to the suburbs. But we were never out of touch for long. We were friends and I couldn’t be happier than to have you in my life.

I remember the last time I saw you in Boulder at the end of September. I was standing outside of Jax Fish House after finishing dinner. You were out on the town celebrating nothing and everything all at once. You swooped me up for a hug. I was so happy to see you. You were telling me all about how great work was, how good you had become at skiing, you were so devoted to it. I think you had a ski pass to every mountain on the Front Range. We talked about getting together to ski. I told you about my engagement and details about the wedding. You hugged my fiancé with congratulations like you had known him all your life, when I think you had just met once before. But it was genuine; you always acted with complete sincerity. I loved that about you, how quick you were to open your heart to someone new. I walked away from that encounter again feeling rejuvenated, captivated by you, excited about the future and grateful for our friendship.

I don’t know what else to say Taige, I wish I could eloquently describe every memory I have of you in a way to do them justice. I cant. No words can describe the way your friendship made me feel. I felt so damn lucky to have you in my life. I am grateful for every moment we had together. I promise that for however long I am still in this life, I will love deeper, laugh louder, dance crazier, hug harder, and smile more because I knew you. Thank you for giving me that.

Melissa M.

Its all about the love.

I loved getting out of work early enough to make it to Centro before you left. The restaurant was always closed, but I would come in the back door and go into the office, where the door would have been propped open via the deadbolt. Just looking at you sitting in the black swivel chair, hunched over the keyboard and staring into the computer monitor, I could tell how your night had been. If you didn’t turn around when the door opened you had had a long stressful day and were trying your hardest to finish your duties and get out the door asap. On these days when you didn’t turn around I never broke your concentration, just walked up behind you and put my hands on your shoulders. They were so tense, and I would do my best to pull some of that tension out of your muscles with a little neck rub. My small hands were always instantly recognized, and you would lean back in your chair and say, “Ohhh Carl…”

After a minute I would sit and we would face each other and talk about our day. We would talk about boys and what exciting or hurtful things had passed, plans for the week, our families, your dad being sick. I remember right before your birthday talking about your family coming to see you. You felt so lucky to be having your favorite people come such a long way to see you for such a short amount of time.

Two weeks ago, my friend Sam passed away. She and my younger brother Taylor had been very close for many years, even dating through the end of high school and first year or so of college. My sister Bobbie and I jokingly called her our sister in-law, and had a blast laughing about the silliest things with her. Sam was 21, and had been fighting a rare form of cancer for two years. I kept Taige up to date on Sam and her fight. Multiple rounds of chemo and moving to Miami for a five organ transplant were not enough to damper her spirits. Everyone who met her or read her blog ( was always amazed by her diligence. If Taige had a tough day and was down I would remind him to keep his head up. After all, if Sam was keeping her head up the rest of us had no reason not too.

These moments were never taken lightly by Taige. He completely understood if his perspective was askew and rightfully adjusted to a higher outlook after we would speak of Sam.  The night after she passed I went to work for an intense 12 hour Halloween night shift and came home at 3:30 in the morning. I checked my email, and then Facebook. Taige had also had a long night at work and was still awake. As I crawled into bed exhausted from working and crying my phone rang and I answered it to talk to Taige. By this point it was at least 4 am. He had been on Facebook and saw my status, a link to Sam’s blog, which he followed and learned about the end of her struggle. At first he sounded upset, and then he was sobbing. It would be the last real conversation we would have with each other, and the irony of the subject matter it almost too much.

You told me you had just learned about her passing, and you were SO, SO sorry. That it doesn’t make sense and, “I can’t understand it. You have to know that she loved you so much, and that she knows how much you cared about her, and and it’s so crazy and hard to understand.” All of this said amidst the passionate emotions flooding out of him.
    “It doesn’t make sense and we have to be there for each other to help each other through it.” You were crying SO hard, I was really shocked. I realize now that neither of us knew it might not have been directly about Sam that you were speaking.
     Once you started letting these heavy and perfect words come out I silently cried not wanting to miss anything you said. They were the most comforting words I had heard all day, and felt so completely sincere. I can hear your voice in my head right now like you are saying these words into my ear again right now.
    You said to me, “It is about the love.” You told me that you loved me, and I told you that I loved you also. We talked for a while, maybe twenty minutes. You said over and over how you just didn’t understand it all, but that we HAD to help each other through it, we just had to. That we would get through it, together. Looking back, it just kills me. I am now having the exact same conversation with Beth and Jeff and Peaches and everyone I know and don’t know (via this blog) who loves you.
    So on that note, as Taige said we must, we must help each
other through this and keep a hold of the love we have for him and each other.
Huge, amazing, wonderful love to all.


ps- If you need a pick me up, read Sam’s blog entry from June 18, 2009. It will help you appreciate what is going on around you.


Shoveling snow this morning brought back some good memories of you. I remember many slow snowy nights at West End when I would shovel snow and then come down to Centro to see how you were doing. It seems like every time, you were out there doing the same thing as me. You always had a huge grin on your face and you couldn’t wait to tell me about your next ski trip, and how great it was that it was snowing. No matter how bored or disappointed I was because it was such a “slow” night, you always made me look at the bright side. You must have been the best boss ever for your overflowing enthusiasm and positive outlook. I know it always rubbed off on me and I’m sure everyone else around you felt the same way. Sometimes it made me jealous that I didn’t get to work with you to experience it more often.

Seeing the tremendous amount of love for you the last couple of days has been amazing. You were so loved in this world it is incredible. I think it must be because you shared so much love with everyone you met. I wish I had spent more time around you because you never failed to put a smile on my face no matter what mood I was in, and you will continue to do so whenever I think about you. My thoughts and prayers go out to all your friends and family.


mike dahl


I remember the very first second I met you. It was Elyse’s birthday. We were upstairs at the Rio, and all of a sudden you walked up to our table, with your big beautiful smile and your warm eyes. I was instantly struck by your presence. As the night progressed, I couldn’t stop looking your way, and soon enough I realized you were looking at me too. Later that night, in the park across the street from my old apartment, we played on the playground, lay in the grass, looked at the stars. It was the beginning of one of the most important, defining periods of my life.

It was a tumultuous road. I was new to it all. You taught me so much and you challenged me daily. I had never been so happy, so fulfilled, so honest with myself and others. Every day was a new adventure. Places I had visited hundreds of times before took on new meanings. I tried so many new foods, wines, and activities with you. I felt free, excited, alive.

Like a river meandering through a valley, your love poured through me. I never wanted to leave.

Remember our first hike on the Fourth of July trail? You asked me if I was scared to hold hands when the plane flew over our heads lest someone may see us. I laughed and squeezed your hand harder.

I remember being inspired by your passion for anthropology. The way you discussed issues you’d explored, classes you’d taken, and professors you’d met simply amazed me. I’d always been more of a logical student, taking classes because I had to or because it made sense to take them. You did everything in your life because you were passionate about it. You loved to learn about other people’s passions; in fact, you thought passions were the keys to one’s soul.

Remember our backpacking trip up to Conundrum Springs? You laughed so hard when I fell into the river while trying to cross on the log. Naturally, you crossed with grace and agility. I made a snarky remark and then quietly pouted while you teased me.

I remember sitting in front of Starbucks, crying together right before I left for DC. My heart hurt, much like it does now. I was beginning to understand the powers of love.

Remember sleeping in front of the fireplace shortly after you got back from Costa Rica? Thank God it wasn’t a real fireplace…you didn’t always have the best of luck with fire! [How many times did we burn pizzas in the oven? You always double, triple checked every dial, and then made me do it. Open close open close the oven door!]

Never have I met someone as beautiful, in every sense of the word, as you. Your smile, your laugh, your spirit, your craziness. I grew tremendously as a result of knowing you. I was a whole new person!

I have so many other memories with you. Painting your apartment (you never stopped blaming me for that green spot on the ceiling even though you knew it was totally your fault), crazy meals with Beth and Katie (deep fried coconut shrimp!), skiing, the moonlight at Walker Ranch the night I got back from Uganda, following you into freezing rivers and lakes, and your neighbor who told us to “SHOOSH” when we were being too loud on your balcony.

Now I sit here, a permanent stomach ache, a permanent heart ache, vacillating between disbelief and emptiness. But there have been many laughs too. Beth, Katie and I laughed so hard the other night about all of your antics and all of the memorable times we shared. Elyse and I laughed about when you took her into nature even though she hated it and she made you carry her home. Beth and I took a walk in the foothills yesterday. It was snowing, like it is right now, and it felt so right to be out there together, in your favorite weather.

There are so many things I want to say to you, so many things you probably already know. I can’t believe I won’t hear your voice again, or see your shining face. Except that I will. And I do now, as I write this. Your spirit will continue to beat within me, much like the beat of the music you loved so passionately.

I love you, Taige, and always will.


Taige's House

How do you begin to formulate a thought you never imagined or wanted to imagine having to conceive?  I guess for me, I start to write. It is an outlet, a step closer to forming a clear thought or feeling, clear my mind, vent, and now, something to share. I’ve started by asking for help, from Taige.  He is around us all, and I have felt his presence on and off all day.  Figured I might as well put him to work. ☺

When I think of you, Taige, my heart opens and is flooded with an overwhelming sense of comfort and love.  You always had such an astonishing ability to make people feel comfortable, loved, and joyful.  In the rare occasion that you were down, it meant so much to be there for you, with a shoulder to cry on and heartfelt words to soothe you.

Yesterday every time I heard a car drive by, I thought someone was going to stop and come to my front door.  I saw myself opening the door and a familiar face saying to me, “Just kidding! It was all a big joke!” It never happened. The couch called my name in the mean time and I sat there for several hours after using my restless energy to bake batch after batch of cookies.  I sat there and felt numb.  Not having slept the night before, the little reserve I had left was put to basic functions like keeping my eyes open and sitting up. Regardless of my exhaustion I couldn’t put my mind to rest. On and on its gone in waves of emotion resting somewhere between numb and drowning.
I went to your house today. Beth was gone, visiting with one of your friends who had come in to town because I’m sure they were feeling the same sense of lost. It was surreal. Like nothing was really the matter, I was just walking in to your house and we were going to get on our bikes and ride away to have some fun… except that my chest felt heavy. I turned the corner and headed to your room, walking past your backpack on the floor right where you had left it and just as Beth had said it was there, haunting her also. I walked into your room and stepped over the dirty jeans and towel you had left on the floor in a hurry. Nothing seemed out of place except for the fact that I was in your room and you were nowhere to be found. Pile of laundry on the other side of your bed, a Centro t-shirt on top of the pile, right next to your favorite tie-dye shirt from Parker. On top of your dresser a framed photograph of your family. Black and white, maybe a few years old, you standing tall above everyone else wrapping them all in a bear hug.
    Your bed lies just as you left it, I can almost see the indent of your 6’8” body in the mattress still. On the floor a pair of shoes, retro Nike high-tops, size 12, red, white, and blue, lie waiting for you to wear them to a party. I passed by the closet and saw the rest of your shoes neatly piled into their cubbies, along with the biggest pair of snowshoes I have ever seen, and ski poles that reach all the way to my chin. At that moment I began to feel overwhelmed and turned in a circle to take in your whole room at once.
    And then, the blue plaid jacket. I can imagine it was your favorite thing to wear, after Parker’s tie-dyed shirt of course, because it allowed you to participate in your favorite activity- skiing. Really you loved anything that allowed you to be outdoors and active, but most especially if it involved white fluffy snowflakes. I don’t doubt that skiing in the snow was your preference and favorite, but Mike Dahl was remembering you shoveling snow out front of Centro, ear to ear cheesy grin, so happy to be out in the snow for any reason at all.
    For a few moments I just looked at your ski jacket hanging there in the closet. I thought about taking it off of the hanger and putting it on, but didn’t want to disturb your bedroom before your family arrived to have their own moment there.  So I took hold of the hanger and pushed it aside a little, running my hand down the sleeve and through the inside trying to take in the soft feeling of it, trying to remember the warm body that should be filling it. Remembering you in your blue-plaid jacket was too much and the sparse sense of control I momentarily felt over my emotions was gone in an instant. My cheeks felt warm and wet with tears and I was crying with a sentiment of overwhelming helplessness and yearning. I walked from the closet at the end of the bed around to the left side of the bed where you had last slept and ran my fingers over the dark blue flannel sheets, letting myself be overwhelmed by what was coming out and over me. Breathe in, and out, stand up, walk to the bathroom. Messy, just as you left it, toothbrush, razor, eye drops, deodorant, all left in a hurry. The purple trucker hat you loved to wear hangs with a plastic lei, next to a few other hats I had never seen you wear and three pairs of sunglasses. You always loved to wear that purple hat.
    In the kitchen I stop to leave a note and some of the cookies I couldn’t stop baking for Beth. It is hard to think of Beth coming home now to a house that will be empty of your bountiful love and energy. I am happy to be there with her to share memories and tears, as you would have done for any of us.

Most of your friends don’t know what to do with themselves. Some are still in shock and have yet to grasp a hold of the gravity of what has passed. Even with shock they gather together and bask in the presence of you through each other. Those of us past the shock feel pain and the impossibility of the fact that there will not be one more hug, one more dance party, or one more long talk over coffee. Still, your love is never ending and there is enough for us all. We will all gather together for an endless journey of grieving you, and be there to help each other find tomorrow.

Much love,

(pictures of today's visit to the right by the hit counter)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Big Air at Keystone

Taige and I spent a lot of time together skiing; this is one of my favorite incidents involving Taige and skiing...

In the beginning he was cautious, but after just a short time he was better than the rest of us- and fearless! It blew my mind how ready he was to jump off the edge of a cliff without even worrying one bit! His judgement was usually pretty good, after a margarita however, different story. Anyone remember the HUGE bruise Taige had that went from mid-back to knee and was the gnarliest thing you ever saw? I wasn’t there, but he filled me in on his lack of judgement and agility. After downing a man-sized margarita he decided it would be in his best interest to find the biggest jump possible in the park at Keystone and of course jump off it. In true Taige fashion, not only did he jump off the largest jump but did a backflip off too! Would you believe that he actually landed it?! The only problem was he caught an edge and ate it after the fact. Safe to say that day was the last of his margarita/big air phase!



Hi all,

I have been sitting here all day trying to process what everyone tells me has happened, and have been struggling. I thought this blog might be a good way to share some thoughts with each other, hopefully helping this process of healing and understanding. If you would like to be an author on this blog send your email address to and I will add you to the list (limited to 100 ppl). Once its full you can send things you want posted to the same email and I can just upload them.  I hope everyone is hanging in there and that these stories make you laugh and cry all together.

Much love,