Ashes in the Forest

We are all dust from the stars, and at some point we return to our original form. I think when I pass away I will be asking for the same thing Mandi requested, to be transformed to ashes and spread all over the world. I understand more than ever why she wanted this, and I will continue the journey until I die. The thought of returning to the earth for one last adventure, to be a part of each amazing place we enjoyed together, to essentially live forever is alluring.

My beautiful Mandi, you will live forever among the trees, in the breath taking mountains, the warm welcoming beaches, the inviting waters of lakes and oceans, anywhere my two feet will take me. I would give you the world if you were here with me, but now I am giving you to the world. I love you Mandi.

The recent camping trip planned for Manti-La Sal had to be cancelled due to flash flooding in the area. I was a little depressed and held on to going until the day before we were leaving in hopes the weather would change. Sadly you can’t control the weather and it had other plans, stupid weather. This didn’t stop me from going on a short adventure to spread some of Mandi’s ashes around, I wasn’t going to let it. I still have another camping trip planned in a couple of weeks and FiFi is all ready for the adventure at least.

We ended up going to Snake Creek which is near Heber, Utah. It is a beautiful area that is not very far from home, and it turned out to be a lovely day up there. It was hot most of the day, but some small drizzles of rain cooled it off and cut down on the dust a bit. I had a few friends come with me including my mom, it was a great day to get out of the house. We rode around for the majority of the day and ended up finding a beautiful location to drop some of Mandi’s ashes. I marked the spot on my GPS so that I can return some day.

The first spot for Mandi’s ashes.

This was the first time I spread Mandi’s ashes, and it was a lot harder than I anticipated. When we arrived near the spot I instantly started crying and was shaking the entire hike up. It felt like I was saying goodbye again, something I have had to do on several occasions. It seems to get harder each time I am faced with the reality I no longer have this amazing person in my life. I am not sure it will ever get easier at this rate, she was so special to me.

When I lost Mandi, I lost a big part of myself that day. The wound will heal eventually, but I will have a deep scar for the rest of my life.

I have been staying at home a lot lately, my depression has been pretty hard to control. When I get really depressed I seem to get physically ill which makes leaving the house an even bigger challenge. There are a lot of little triggers that seem to be hurting me the most. Stuff like finding little notes Mandi wrote me, the way she arranged certain items on her night stand, even coming across her cute socks in the RV is enough to bring me to my knees. I still have trouble with replaying the day I lost her at night, and it can keep me up for hours.

It has been almost four months now but it still feels like yesterday. I get pretty lonely at home by myself and there is only so much TV I can take before I start getting the itch to go clean the entire house. The good news I guess is the house is always spotless, and the lawn gets mowed on a regular basis. Seeing Lisa at the Huntsman helps a lot, but it also stirs up memories that last for about two days. I usually struggle to concentrate the day after at work, it is so hard to focus when you are sad.

Dry and dusty day at Snake Creek.

I am working on a few items on The Mandi List, one being write a list of 101 things that make me happy. The majority of the items on this list have something to do with Mandi in one way or another. It is turning out to be a tricky one, but figured it might help with my depression by giving me reasons to smile again. I ended up running through the sprinklers, although it was by complete accident (I was trying to fix one of the valves in the backyard), so not sure that counts. I did notice there are a few items she has actually completed and just may have forgot to cross them off, so I will be crossing those off soon.

The videos Mandi recorded for me get watched a lot, she is so adorable in front of the camera. It causes a lot of mixed emotions when I watch them, mostly pain and sadness but deep down I am so happy she did these for me. Pictures are powerful, but video is like having those same memories come to life. I love listening to her talk and her infectious laugh, most of them are from trips so she is smiling the entire time. There are a few sad videos, some of them she is talking about her cancer and how much she wants to live her life and be with the people she loves. I don’t avoid them but they are definitely harder to watch, and if I feel like crying hard I watch the documentary they did on her.

I know it may seem strange, but there are days I actually want to cry. As bad as it hurts, I generally feel better if I let it all out. I have tried bottling up my emotions a few times and it ended up doing a lot more damage to my emotional well-being. If it’s a bad day just go with waves of emotions until they turn in to ripples, if you try and fight them you will drown in grief.

I am still trying to wrap my head around how fast this summer has been going, it is almost fall and I am not ready for winter. Last year it snowed a lot, so much I was literally shoveling snow every other day of the week. I hope I can sneak in a few more camping trips before it gets cold. I spent a lot of time getting FiFi ready and fixing random things that needed maintenance, so some serious camping needs to happen. I just hope the weather will play nice with the next camping trips I have planned.

Everyone needs amazing friends and family in their life.


I hope everyone has been having a good summer, and thank you so much for the incredible support.

Author: Michael Hudson

Share This Post On