Beautiful Chris Street passed away November 12, 2009.  His love, Layla Jane, remembers him today.

Dear Chris,

I was lucky enough to visit with you on your last day in this life.  As your family and I stood around your bed sharing stories and telling you how much we loved you I realized how much I was going to miss you.  A year later, I miss you more everyday and I want to share with you how much you influenced my life, as well as others’.  It is amazing the things we take for granted on this Earth, and sad that we sometimes don’t realize it until it’s gone.  So, here goes…

I miss my hiking buddy.  I loved the outdoors before we met, but you took that love to a whole new level.  It was always a new adventure and I learned quickly to always bring a headlamp because you can hike just as well in the dark as you can during the day.  When I was in your company, the outdoors made me feel as though I could do anything.  You gave me confidence in the woods, as you would always insist that I was the Trip Leader.  I can now read a topographic map like a pro thanks to you.  I think you loved looking at maps more than anything other than the views.

I miss that positive attitude and smile.  I tended to see the glass as half empty until I met you.  I think my close friends could attest to this.  You made me see the good in people, places, and things when I thought they were crap.  You even tried to convince me once that mosquitoes really aren’t that bad.  During bowling league you would always high-five me even when I knocked only 1 pin down.  It used to drive me crazy, but now I would give anything for that little spark after rolling a gutter ball.  I miss the jellyroll too, by the way.  No one will ever be able to throw a ball like you!

I miss the little ways you spoiled me.  I always loved the way you would pick me up and swing me around after we hadn’t seen each other for a while.  I don’t know if I ever told you that but I looked forward to it every time.  And you asked how my day was everyday, which I don’t think a lot of people have in their life.  I learned that taking the time out to sit down and appreciate the day with someone is very important – all thanks to you.  I could list many other things but I like to cherish those memories on my own.

I never told you what a truly amazing biologist you had become.  I admired you for the passion you had in the field.  Your work with the black-backed woodpeckers, raptors, and beavers still goes on strong.  Watching you in the blind on Chelan Ridge was always a good time and I loved listening to you talk to the birds to soothe them as you banded their little legs.  Remember when I was taking Ornithology and I came home one day and told you that I couldn’t stand birds?  Well, you helped me see how precious birds are in this world, and if you asked me today I would tell you that I absolutely love them.  Sharpies are my fav!

There are two things that you have given me that mean more than anything. 1) The Street family and 2) an incredible strength.  Your family and I have grown very close this past year.  Without them I would not have survived as well as I have.  You would be so proud of them.  Your parents are backpacking masters and your mom could out-hike any of us.

Liz and Brian have hiked Machu Picchu, and Liz ran a full marathon!  Jeff had an incredible summer near Babb, he climbed Going to the Sun Mtn in honor of you, and he became friends with some of your favorite people.  We all take care of each other very well.

Chris, I have always known that I am an independent, strong minded woman, but the strength I have carried this past year is all thanks to you.  I am strong because you were strong.  I feel as though I can go out into this world and do anything I want all because of the strength you have given me.  I live each day as if it was my last, and I live it not only for me, but for you too.  It’s as if you are always on my shoulder, sometimes guiding me, and sometimes just watching the world through my eyes.  I miss you my babe!  Thank you for making me a better person.  I love you.

Layla Bird

Memory can tell us only what we were, in

company with those we loved; it cannot help

us find what each of us, alone, must now

become.  Yet no person is really alone; those

who live no more echo still within our

thoughts and words, and what they did has

become woven into what we are.

Jewish Prayer

2010.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All rights reserved to Layla Dunlap.