August Turak

Author Consultant Speaker

Gone... But Not Forgotten

Snow_Avalanche1-300x186March 18th was my brother Jamie's birthday. 12 years ago he, my brother Dan and my brother Tom were snowmobiling in the Rocky Mountains near Vale when they veered off the trail in whiteout conditions and -40 degree temperatures. One, two, three they all plunged over a 400 foot cliff.

Though seriously injured Dan and Tom managed to dig a snow pit and crawl in, but there was no sign of Jamie. When the rescue workers finally reached them they said they had found Jamie but "he is not breathing." He had plunged head first into a snow drift and unable to free himself Jamie had smothered.

For several years after his death I suffered from what I can only assume was a touch of "survivor's guilt." I would wake up in the middle of the night disoriented and in tears because he had died in such a lonely and terrifying way. I was his oldest brother: I should have been there.

Later I had dream after dream about him being back from the dead and me being so glad to see him. True to life he would assume an "Aw shucks what's all the fuss about?" expression to mask his delight at seeing me so glad to see him.

I don't wake up in tears anymore nor do I dream about his miraculous resurrection, but I do think about him. Two months before he died I FINALLY got off my butt and paid him a visit in Florida. We spent four or five days together; all alone and just hanging out. When I returned he sent me a letter which I still have. The last sentence read: "Thanks for visiting!"

If there is a lesson for you and me here it is a simple one. Don't put off visiting the people you love. I am giving a speech next month in Portland. I am going to stop in Denver on my way home to visit my brother Dan and his family for four days....