Following a 14-year absence, my husband and I went to Alaska to visit my mom last year. Dad had passed away in those years, while I’d still been estranged. His passing allowed me the freedom to return to my roots and rescue my younger self in a very tangible way.

As part of my healing, I brought some rocks to leave behind.



For me, rocks symbolize strength and power.

Think David and Goliath, Alcatraz, Stonehenge, the Pyramids.

My rocks were that important to me. They would declare my presence, my survival; even after I departed once again.

Fingering them on the plane brought a sense of peace as I visualized this next leg of my journey. Three rocks with no particular significance, yet they held the power of reclamation.

As we stepped out of the Anchorage terminal to our car rental, I relished the satisfying crunch of the powdery snow underfoot. It was a tangible reminder of home, something I constantly miss even though I don’t want to move back. It’s a strange conundrum, missing something I don’t want.

Alaska is in my blood.

Though I’ve lived in Washington longer than I lived in Alaska I still feel the longing of home at times. The wide open space, crisp clean air, and slower pace of life beckon me. It is ingrained.

We left the airport to deliver my rocks before heading to mom’s house. I had some serious business to settle. I was going to take back something that had been stolen from me. The rocks symbolized the stronger Washington me, coming back to reclaim the young Alaskan me. There were three locations I needed to mark; each having to do with a single horrific event.


Dad had some accomplices in this life-altering event. As I set my rocks down at each place, I told these men what I thought of them and what they did to me.

I said I was strong enough to take care of myself now. I informed them they no longer have the power to hurt me and I was not afraid of them anymore. I had a lengthy, albeit one-sided, conversation with the remaining living accomplice –right in front of his prior residence. It was incredibly empowering.



Setting foot on the soil of so much pain somehow divided the pain yet multiplied my strength.

I felt renewed, reborn. I was back, on my own terms, and no one could ever take me to that place of powerlessness, fear, or fragility again.

My rocks remain, silently declaring my reclamation.

How about you? How have you reclaimed something from your past?