Finding Precious – a Tribute to Axel Charrette

    I feel like this topic comes up on the blog a lot – slowing down and making time for family.  Maybe it is because I need more reminders than anyone else.  Our life is busy, and I like it that way.  But, sometimes my kids do not .  They need days of snuggling and just playing on the floor with trucks and balls and making up silly songs and dances.

    Don’t get me wrong – my mission in life is not to put them in every activity possible so I can “prune” them to be the men I hope they one day will be.  I will leave that up to God.

    Instead, I am the one trying to keep up the house, find my creative outlets in blogging and crafting, love them and make our family life as full and rich as possible.  I fail often.  Really, they NEED me to forget the laundry, deal with the floor being muddy, turn off my phone and computer and just focus on them.  Completely on them.  Not every day or every moment, but enough to fill up their little love tanks so they can happily go about their day.

    charretteI haven’t been able to sleep well for the past week or so.  I am haunted by a million thoughts and emotions and motherly instincts after hearing about the tragic passing of sweet Axel Charrette, the 2 year old son of fellow blogger, Jen of Velo Mom.  I am wrestling with how to sort out in my mind the why, but know also there is no answer to that question.  It reminds me that these children are not mine, but instead on loan to me from God.  I have been given (along with my husband) the daunting and glorious task of doing my very best to bring them up well in a not-so-perfect world.  Every moment is precious and we can only protect them from so much.

    I know that there are people that think we are crazy for doing some of the things we do with our kids (and then write about here.)  The risk is there, the work is daunting and the kids rarely appreciate it as much as you hope they will (at least in the moment.)  Things can happen, things DO happen, but I refuse to live in fear (though lately the temptation to do just that has been great.)  I am torn between wanting to give my children room to spread their wings and hold on desperately tight so the world may not touch them and hurt them.

    I love this quote that Jen has on her blog – it is so very fitting:

    “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect.  Everything gets reduced to essentials.”  ~Meryl Streep

    I never had the chance to meet Axel.  In fact, I have never met Jen, her husband Randy or their other son Kalden.  And yet, their lives have touched me, even before they were changed forever.  They are inspiring because they are living life to the fullest.  I like to believe that Axel is beautiful and joyful in Heaven and inspiring thousands of families to remember what really does matter most.  He lived a full life of adventure and travel with his family, however short it was.

    Tomorrow marks the Memorial for him in his hometown of Ridgway, CO.  You will find countless other tributes throughout the outdoor blogging community in the next day or so.  It is proof that his life (and death) has great meaning.  I share this today because his life matters, and so does yours and the lives of your children.

    I challenge you, in Axel’s memory, to love more, deeper and fuller.  Plan the trip you have been putting off, do something you have never done before, get outside where there are no distractions, laugh, smile, hug and stop nagging.  And stress less (this one is for me…) – most of it really doesn’t matter.

    I encourage you to leave thoughts on this blog post.  The conversation is good for all of us.  Leave them as an outlet for yourself and feel free to leave plenty of love for the Charrette family – oh how they need it now!

    Go – love on your kids, your spouse, your family.  The world is waiting for you.


    If you want to help, the Charrette family is accepting donations.  UPDATE: We just got word from Jen of Velo Mom that all donations to the fund set up for Axel Charrette will be used to get kids on bikes (because biking was such a huge part of his life, and continues to be a big part of the Charrette family.) Please continue donating to such a beautiful thing after such tragedy.

    Checks can be made out to:
    Axel Charrette Fund
    c/o Alpine Bank
    119 Liddell Drive
    Ridgway, CO 81432

    © 2013, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

    (Visited 265 times, 1 visits today)


      1. I was Axel’s daycare provider here in Ridgway and watched him from a tiny baby to the point that he was riding his strider bike before most kids can walk. He was such a joy and he always stopped by my house when he and his family were going on their rides or just checking the mail. I loved him so much and I feel a great loss but nothing in comparison to what his Mommy, Daddy and Brother are feeling. The Charrette’s are an amazing family and I pray that with time our community can help ease the burden of grief for them. Thank you for such a touching tribute to our little buddy. He is greatly missed but I too believe that he is in heaven smiling down upon all of us. Jen Classi

      2. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Charrette family. Challenge accepted.

      3. Hi Amelia,

        Thank you for a great post and tribute to the Charrette family. I too have been haunted by this story all week. I cried for days and I didn’t even know them, nor had I heard of them before this tragedy. I can only imagine what the family is going through. It is just too awful.

        Thank you for brining this story to your readers so they can send love and support their way.


        Drive Me Crazy Family Adventure

      4. Thank you for writing this beautiful tribute. The last week I’ve thought often about the Charrette family. My heart and payers are with them. I’ve spent my time hugging my little one closer and deeply feeling my love for him.

        -Amanda Davis
        The Davis Family’s Adventure

      5. My heart has been so heavy since I heard the news of this horrid tragedy. Like you I have never “met” Jen or her family as I know them only from their blog, but my thoughts and prayers are with them, their families and friends. Amelia thank you so much for this lovely tribute. Sending hugs to you!

      6. Marley Bain says:

        Like many, I’ve never met the Charrettes or their sweet Axel, yet have been touched in ways I could have never imagined. I too have cried for days, felt tremendous heartache, and strongly questioned the world that I’m raising my children in. I’ve thought for countless hours over the past week how to honor Axel’s precious life and his family I’ve never met. Thank you for the challenge. I will hug and squeeze my boys tighter, I will laugh more with my family, and I will worry less about the little things that take away from our precious moments together. I will honor Axel’s life by replacing fear with adventure, love, and laughter.

        My heart and thoughts are with the Charrette family.

      7. Thank you for writing this post. I am another mom who never met the Charrette family but was so inspired by them. I have been in tears and lost in thought over this tragedy. I have been praying daily for some sort of peace for them. Your post gave me a way to honor this precious child and he will forever be an Angel in my heart, to remember to embrace the smallest moments in life to the grandest adventures with my own children. I will continue to send love, light and prayers to the Charrette Family.

      8. Such a beautiful tribute to sweet Axel. I did not know the family and found out about his story on a Sayulita newsletter. I too have been haunted by this story. I can’t begin to imagine the pain this family is facing. I just want to share that our family has traveled several times to Sayulita, as the Charettes did. We love the little town and also rented a home. I felt comfortable enough to let my 4 kids walk freely around town visiting and going to stores etc. It is just that kind of place. That this tragedy ever happened is just so unimaginable. A family living life to its fullest. God bless the Charettes and may the memories of their adorable son be always close. You are all in my thoughts daily.

        • Thank you so much for commenting about Sayulita – I am sure I am not the only one that doesn’t know that part of Mexico that was wondering…. And thank you for commenting. 🙂


      1. […] and all donations will be well-used.  Interested in donating?  Find more information in our Tribute post from earlier this week.  We will share more details of the program as we learn […]

      2. […] spring a family lost their precious boy to a senseless act of violence.  I wrote about Axel and the Charrette family back in March and now continue to be deeply moved not by the tragedy (which no parent should ever have to live […]

      Speak Your Mind