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.