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If we touch even a few, it will all have been worthwhile.

ART & ALLISON: WHO WE ARE

Art Daily is a real estate attorney in Aspen with Holland and Hart LLC. He has been in Best Lawyers of America for the past 12 years, is a member of Valley Partnership for Drugs and was on the Aspen Hockey Board for six years.

Allison Daily is the Director of Pathfinders for You (aka Pathfinders for Cancer), a non-profit serving cancer patients with volunteer services. She is also the grief counselor in the OB Department of Aspen Valley Hospital. She assists women and their families whose pregnancy doesn’t extend to full term.

Allison was a board member and President of the Aspen Youth Center. She writes for the following blogs: Intent.com, Genconnect.com, OpentoHope.com and her own blog on this website. She has written for Living with Loss magazine.

They have two boys, Rider and Burke and live in Aspen, Colorado.

 

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PHOTOS BY MICHELE CARDAMONE

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HOW WE GOT HERE: OUR JOURNEY

We began thinking of recording our story for our sons, Rider and Burke. We wanted them to know the real story of the loss of Kathy, Tanner and Shay; of their dad’s terrible grief; of the anonymous letter that brought us together; of the weird and wonderful relationship that has followed; of their own beginnings; and of the amazing life journey we are taking together.

 

We began to see the possibilities of reaching beyond our own family and touching others. We could share our pain and healing in the hope of bringing understanding and comfort to others on the same lonely road... and we would honor and remember Kathy, Shea and Tanner as well.

Talking about writing a book and actually doing it are two totally different animals. Art was busy with his law practice, had two growing boys and a wife he wanted to spend time with, and an understandable reluctance to feeling his way back into an agonizing story.

 

The catalyst appeared suddenly and unexpectedly. Allison began waking in the middle of the night with a strong sense she needed to write. She would go to her computer and transcribe her thoughts at an amazing speed... often, it recounting scenes and events from Art’s life with Kathy and their boys. She would then email her writings to Art's office and he would read them the following morning. The accuracy of the narratives was often startling to both of them, as Allison hadn’t been around when any of the events took place.

 

As you’ll find while reading this book, when Allison is around, angels — in one form or another — start showing up, so these midnight writings weren’t all that surprising to her... except that these angels clearly wanted the book written. There really isn’t any other explanation.

Around that time, accomplished author, Pam Houston, was traveling through Aspen and stopped to meet Allison, who had begun emailing her out of the blue. Pam listened to Art's story and insisted he write it down, saying the story needed to be told, and that it would make a difference in people's lives. Art asked where he should start. Pam simply said, “at the beginning.”

 

The following Saturday he went to his office for what would be the first of countless weekend mornings and began writing, “The Story.” Throughout the process of re-experiencing events, Art began to find an appreciation for the tears and joy that accompanied recounting the memories.

It wasn't long after that it was decided to try and weave both Allison's and Art's stories into a single book, but to try and tell it in their individual voices. Of course, this approach was quite challenging. To choose which pieces to include, which to put aside, the order of appearance, and even how things tied together was daunting. Yet, there was rarely an argument, even when pride had to be swallowed from time to time.

 

Out of the Canyon gradually emerged from the mist, with nothing but a common desire to make a difference in the lives of others who are grieving, and to bring a measure of faith and hope into the darkness that follows great loss. More than 25 years has gone by since that boulder launched itself onto the Daily's car, but the human heart has not changed. This is a story that transcends time.

Art and Allison's sons, Rider and Burke, probably made the greatest sacrifices of all. They spent a lot of mornings with a sleepy mother and a lot of weekend days without their dad. Yet, they understood what was happening and supported their parents throughout the process. Early on, Art read some of the tougher chapters to them through a veil of tears... now the boys know the rest of the story.