Hi Ernie, I know this letter will catch you by surprise. We didn't really know each other in high school but from afar I always admired your kind nature and, of course, your skill as an athlete. And, since being with Rick, I heard lots of stories about your times together in Wyoming. I don't know if you remember but we all got together at the Bristers when Quinton was a baby and our first born, Carlee, was about two. I loved meeting Kristine and getting to know you a little better.

Today, we were in Conifer at Marshdale Elementary, watching my youngest play soccer. Before the game, we walked with Rick over to the mortuary across the street to try to find Dave Schutt's plot. He told us the whole story about what happened to Dave and we took our time reading the headstones. It put me in a reflective mood and I thought a lot about my mom and dad and their passing.

During halftime, Carlee said, "let's go buy a drink". We quickly drove to the little cafe/gas station close by and I saw one copy of your book left. I had been saying that I wanted to read your book and promised myself I would do it this summer, when I had more time. I felt overcome with the need to buy that last copy and I did.

After coming back to Denver, I sat on the couch and read it from cover to cover. I was totally blown away, Ernie. It's more than just coincidence that I was led to read this. I got goosebumps throughout your book - even reading that Quinton went to Marshdale Elementary, where we happen to be today! What a special little boy and what amazing strength you and Kristine and Cheyenne have to pick up your lives and then spread his message like you have.

My mom died in 1990 and I still hear her voice at times and have very vivid dreams of her. I tell her stories about my girls and know that she revels in their sweet natures and accomplishments. My dad died only 2 years ago and the wounds are still fresh. Reading your book brought me tremendous comfort as I still grapple with the meaning of all of it.

I also have a strong belief that our loved ones are with us. I have some little signs that have appeared before me as well. They are always re-affirming and uplifting.

I just wanted to let you know that you have touched me with your enlightenment in this journey. May you and your family continued to be blessed.

Thank you, Ernie.

-Shelley McMillan Flanagan

PS You need to replace the supply of books at that gas station now! :) [:)]   May 6, 2012