by Mary Pat Haddock
For the past week, local residents have joined the Charrette family in grieving the tragic loss of two year old Axel Charrette, who was killed in Sayulita, Mexico on Feb. 28. During the week, meals were cooked and delivered, Axel’s brother Kalden celebrated his eighth birthday surrounded by friends and family, housing was offered to the Charrette family, plans were laid to name a local mountain biking trail after Axel and a memorial fund was established which will help the Charrettes with their costs as well as help get young children out and riding bikes.
On Tuesday evening, community members joined the Charrette family at the 4H Center to celebrate Axel’s much lived life.
Chief Ouray’s great-great-grandson Roland McCook complimented the attending crowd of over 500 for their support of the Charrettes. “In times like this my people have done the same as you, rallying around the family,” McCook said. “It brings a time to reflect. A life is a life, it doesn’t matter whether you are white, red, purple, green. It’s a life, it’s what we value.”
McCook offered mourners a peaceful image of Axel’s departure from this world. “We know that the minute his heart stopped pumping that he pulled himself out of his body and he took on the wings of an eagle and he became like an eagle as he soared, as he rose, every powerful thrust of his wings as he rose way above like an eagle, he passed into the next world where it is calm. Everything is calm, everything is good.”
Family friends spoke, describing Axel as “stubborn, curious and happy.” Close friend and family spokesman Brian Scranton said Axel was “the most lived two year old you could ever meet.” Axel’s accomplishments included meeting Mickey Mouse, riding the mountain bike trails at 18 Road, competing in the Strider Cup at the Pro Cycling Challenge, riding support for his brother in Sun Valley, as well as traveling the American southwest, New England, Costa Rica and Mexico. He was considered by many to be the best hugger of all time.
For those individuals, locally and nationally, who have asked in chat rooms, bars and living rooms why the Charrette family went to Mexico in the first place, close friend and final speaker Brian Scranton gave a direct reply. “They were trying to show their kids something more than Ridgway. It’s called experiential learning. They were trying to introduce Kalden and Axel to new cultures, new countries, new languages, foods, coasts. They were trying to show them something they couldn’t get here.”
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, posts information on its website regarding regional zones considered dangerous for American travelers. Sayulita, Mexico, where the Charrettes were visiting, is located in the southern region of Nayurita and does not carry a warning. The site specifically states, “There is no recommendation against travel either to Riviera Nayarit in the southern portion of the state or to principal highways in the southern portion of the state used to travel from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.”
Violence can happen anywhere, at any time. It is a sad fact of living on the planet Earth in the year 2013. Healing can also happen anywhere, at any time. Those blessed enough to be living in Ridgway should be both acutely aware of this opportunity and challenged to pursue it.
An audio recording of the memorial service is available at http://charrettefamilyinformation.blogspot.com/ for anyone who was unable to attend the service and wishes to listen to it.