Part 1: Spreading the Ashes of Corrie Van Luik, our Sister
On October 11, 2009, the ashes of what was once Corrie (Jacoba) Van Luik's body were spread into the Colorado River at an undisclosed location.
She was my sister and youngest sibling. It was a sad occasion to learn of her passing on the 16th of September of 2009 from causes as yet undetermined, but no doubt related to an eating disorder that caused her at times to become extremely malnourished.
It was also a sad occasion to receive her ashes, sent by my brother Jack and his wife Carol, to allow me to place her ashes by her mother's.
The location on the river is near a tree. Under that tree, and very near that tree, is where her mother's ashes, as well as her father's, were spread some years ago. The differences in location were dictated by the water level: there has been a 9-year drought in the region: falling water levels are the result.
Corrie was born in Nijmegen, Gelderland, the Netherlands on March 5, 1955.
She was the fourth and last child of Jack and Adriana Van Luik, the daughter our mother had longed for after the first three children were all boys. I remember her saying that now that she had her girl, the family was complete.
There are three photos of a young Corrie on this website, on the page where I take my last trip to our home town, Nijmegen.
Spreading her ashes was also a sad occasion. I was urged to speak to her as I did so, by my wife, and told her I was sorry we had always been separated by age (10+ years) and distance, and so never were really close. I also told her that whatever her existence is now, I sincerely hoped it was a great improvement over what her existence had been these last few years.
Corrie had some very good years in her life, and some very bad ones also. Not that different from most of us, except that the bad was caused and aggravated by a long-standing addiction to several drugs. Those addictions were overcome, years ago, but lately she had developed an eating disorder causing serious malnutrition at times. That is thought to be what caused her body to simply give up.
Her life was made more bearable by her long term companion, Steve. But once one is in the grip of an innate inability to eat normally, when one sees food as an arch-enemy, there is precious little that can be done. It is a very deep-seated phobia.
She was affected by the loss of our mother, 4 years ago, likely more so than the rest of us (male) siblings, and my speculation is that this is what may have triggered her bouts of depressive anorexia.
Since I have not posted photos of the spreading of our mother's and father's ashes, I will show those occasions here after showing Corrie's ashes dispersing in the river.
It was my mother's idea to place our father's ashes in this spot. I told her that if this was the place she chose for "Pa's" ashes, it is also where her ashes would go.
She thought that was fine, but "not too close," she liked her freedom (gallows humor on her part, not mine).
As it turned out, falling water levels dictated they be separated a little, and subsequently the same was true for Corrie, she is about 9 feet directly below where our mother's ashes were placed, and hers were about 30 feet from where our father's ahses were placed.
So here are photos of Corrie's ashes dispersing into the slow-moving Colorado at an undisclosed, but scenically fitting, location (the tree by the water's edge at bottom right of photo):
This is the same tree (below) near and under which our parents' ashes were spread (see next page):
Dispersion of the ash was very slow, given the slow rate of water flow:
The view from beneath this tree was very nice:
Finally, the ash cloud was being dragged downstream by the main current:
A sad last look back as we leave this family memorial ground (perhaps the sunlight in our faces is a sign of a brighter future for Corrie, and all of us?):
May she rest in peace.
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