A rainbow appears in front of Andy Huestis and his girlfriend Alisha Garvin as they and other families gather to remember the victims of the Oso mudslide on Wednesday, March 22, in Oso. Huestis’ sister, Christina Jefferds, and her baby granddaughter, Sanoah Violet Huestis, were among the 43 people killed in the mudslide. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A rainbow appears in front of Andy Huestis and his girlfriend Alisha Garvin as they and other families gather to remember the victims of the Oso mudslide on Wednesday, March 22, in Oso. Huestis’ sister, Christina Jefferds, and her baby granddaughter, Sanoah Violet Huestis, were among the 43 people killed in the mudslide. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

3 years after Oso mudslide, a prayer for hope and peace

OSO — They have practice at this now.

It’s the third time they have come to remember in this way, to share dinner and drinks, to talk and laugh, and finally, to release the lanterns.

It’s not just the grief they share, though they find comfort in knowing the others understand that part of their lives. New friends have become like family, and the nature of families is to change and grow. The babies from 2014 are toddlers now, being minded by their mothers not to jump in puddles. Those babies have new brothers and sisters.

On Wednesday night, the families of those lost in the Oso mudslide met at the site of the disaster to release paper lanterns, an annual tradition.

Handwritten messages had been added during dinner, 43 lanterns for 43 lives. One read “We love you.” Another: “Some say that time will help ease a grieving heart. They lied.”

March is always so soggy in this part of the Stillaguamish Valley. Every year, the families worry the rain will ground the lanterns. Every year, the rain clears just in time.

A prayer was read, to remember and honor those lost, and to ask for hope and peace.

Everyone helped each other, with a torch or a candle or a hand to shield the breeze. The lanterns floated away into the dark, sometimes just nearly missing the roof of a pickup truck or two. They rose into the sky, together.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Zachary Robbins
Marysville superintendent could start a month early

A June start means Zachary Robbins could weigh in on a $13.5 million budget shortfall and a parental consent policy for clubs.

Arlington
Driver dies after rollover crash at Smokey Point

The deceased man, 25, reportedly sped off from police before crashing into a nearby utility pole. A woman, 19, was injured.

Epic Ford on the corner of 52nd Street and Evergreen Way in Everett is closed. The dealership has been in business for more than 50 years. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
After 50 years, Everett’s Epic Ford dealership closes shop

It opened in 1971, when gas guzzling muscle cars like the Ford Mustang still ruled the road.

Nuno Taborda
Former Rolls Royce executive to lead Everett aerospace firm

magniX, which builds electric aircraft motors, has hired Nuno Taborda as its next CEO.

Marysville
Smokey Point Boulevard stretch closed for crash investigation

The road was closed between 136th Street NE and 152nd Street NE after a possibly fatal collision.

The Mountain Loop Highway between Darrington and Granite Falls remains closed beyond Barlow Pass. (Snohomish County)
Oops, Mountain Loop Highway only partly open

A miscommunication led Snohomish County to misstate how much of the road is open.

Monroe High School with (inset) a Facebook video screenshot from Nov. 10, 2021, which showed a white student repeatedly using racial slurs in a confrontation with a Black student.
‘It makes me angry’: Black students in Monroe report persistent racism

“Please help stop this racism,” a first-grade student told the Monroe school board Monday. Other kids reported racist slurs.

Destiny Conner, 13, takes tags off of clothing at the new Volunteers for America storefront on Monday, May 16, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Sultan’s only thrift store, teens learn teamwork, job skills

Teens with the Sky Valley Youth Coalition “stepped up and created the store” on Main Street.

Joshua Freed
Ex-Bothell mayor accused of misleading real estate investors

One Snohomish couple sued Joshua Freed after losing a $300,000 investment in a development project.

Most Read