The next chapter in our life together

Road to Remembrance

A day driving in the rain finds us in Otorohanga North Island in a holiday park (short for RV park) right next to the Kiwi House which is closed now (though we heard a frenzy of bird calls) and we leave early Friday to get to our destination for our April 13 remembrance of my son’s death by suicide on that terrible Friday the 13th one year ago.

We might hear the Kiwi’s (the national endangered bird and symbol of NZ) in the morning but might have to wait to see the flightless bird at another sanctuary on the North Island.

We took the Interislander Ferry yesterday morning from Picton across the Cook Strait to Wellington, the nation’s capital,

and spent the afternoon looking for a NZ T-shirt with the Silver Fern logo and taking the old Cable Car up to lookout hill and the Botanic Gardens. The cable car broke down and the return trip became a lovely 40 minute winding walk through the garden and oldest cemetery in Wellington.

A slow traffic-filled ride to Waikanae

bought us back to our friends Adam, Mishbah, Maya and Maha to return their guide books and spend the evening and share our South Island adventure and enjoy Mishbah’s fabulous cooking. We learned that Adam’s cousin Scot Adams of Eden Prairie and CCL member (the reason we met Adam’s family) is now considering a trip to NZ next year. Feels a bit like a pay it forward experience.

The journey to the Kauri trees north of Auckland is a real haul with our time quickly fleeting. Mindy and I drove over 400 km today with another 400 + tomorrow.

Mindy knows how important this day of remembrance is to me and she is making it a team effort to do it all and remain reasonably sane thru the process. Even with the rain the beauty of the hill country in the central part of the North Island is spell binding.

We stopped at the Levin Library for a rest stop and I picked up a book of  US National Parks to show Mindy where Chris and I had gone on our first big adventure to Glacier National Park when he was five. Our first Amtrak trip, visiting Many Glacier Hotel where Uncle Tommy spent many summers working and climbing and our first wilderness camping at Two Medicine Lake near the Continental Divide where we got caught in a hail storm with gale force winds. What was I thinking? Luckily our new Moss tent held strong as Christopher calmly played with his legos while the stormed raged outside.

Remembering the amazing trips and moments we had together and as a family and community seems to be the best way to honor who Chris was/ is and to keep alive the spirit of love we have for each other.

More to come has we move toward April 13. Heard from Mary Fink, our house/ Pickles sitter, that it is snowing back home just like the huge snowstorm that hit last year the day and weekend after Chris’ death.

The cycles of life are truly remarkable.

– Paul



  1. Patricia Neal

    The snow is indeed here, blowing in with fierce beauty, just like 1 year ago. An April storm is so different than mid-winter storm- wet, sloppy- but still such a beautiful and comforting remembrance of the cycles of life that continue from and back to infinity.
    “… from what we cannot hold the stars are made.”
    — W.S. Merwin

  2. Dad

    Some great pics here, Folks! Keep ’em coming.

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