Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 11-26-2005 by
Kay MacKenzie
Luke Floren
December 10 1983 - July 30 2005

Song: Round Here (Counting Crows) July 30, 2006
BIG MOUNTAIN, Whitefish, Montana
After a few weeks of blue skies, dry, hot weather, we woke up on July 30, 2006, to clouds, light rain and gusty winds. Just the kind of weather Luke loved! By the time Luke's family and friends gathered to once again celebrate his life and share memories of happy times, the weather had cleared up and it was a nice sunny, yet mild day (except for the intermittent gusts of wind). This is a picture of the famous picnic table on which Luke carved his name only days before his accident last year. He loved coming to this spot; I am sure he felt tremendous peace here. Further up the mountain is the ski hill where Luke loved to snowboard.


The view looking out from the picnic table down onto Whitefish Lake.

WISH YOU WERE HERE So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil? Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground. What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Pink Floyd


Enjoying a peaceful moment at Luke's picnic table before the others arrive. WISH YOU WERE HERE LUKE!


Luke's carving of his name on the picnic table a year ago. We sang the lyrics to "Round Here", Luke's favorite snowboarding song.

"Round Here...we're carving out our names..."


Gwen starts the ceremony. I am passing out the programs (shown below). We started by singing ROUND HERE (Counting Crows). Luke listened to this song many times while snowboarding this very mountain.

ROUND HERE Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog,
Where no one notices the contrast of white on white
And in between the moon and you
the angels get a better view
Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right
I walk in the air between the rain
through myself and back again
Where? I don’t know
Maria says she’s dying through the door
I hear her crying Why? I don’t know

Round here we always stand up straight
Round here something radiates

Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand
She said she'd like to meet a boy who looks like Elvis
She walks along the edge of where
the ocean meets the land
Just like she’s walking on a wire in the circus
She parks her car outside of my house, takes her clothes off
Says she’s close to understanding Jesus
She knows she’s more than just a little misunderstood.
She has trouble acting normal when she’s nervous

Round here were carving out our names
Round here we all look the same
Round here we talk just like lions
But we sacrifice like lambs
Round here she’s slipping through my hands

Sleeping children better run like the wind
Out of the lightning dream
Mamas little baby better get herself in
Out of the lightning
She says its only in my head
She says shhh I know its only in my head
But the girl on car in the parking lot says
man you should try to take a shot
Cant you see my walls are crumbling?
Then she looks up at the building and says she’s thinking of jumping
She says she’s tired of life she must be tired of something

Round here she’s always on my mind
Round here hey man got lots of time
Round here were never sent to bed early
And nobody makes us wait
Round here we stay up very, very, very, very late
I can’t see nothing, nothing round here
Catch me if I’m falling
Counting Crows


Front cover of the program I created for Luke's first heaven anniversary: WE REMEMBER LUKE.


The inside of the program. On the left is the poem, IN THE LIGHT and on right page is the following:

July 30, 2006
Anniversary Memorial In Loving Memory Of
December 10, 1983 — July 30, 2005

"And we all shine on, like the Moon and the Stars and the Sun”
--John Lennon

Shine On Luke!

Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
Round Here (Counting Crows)
Candle Lighting
Bang The Drum Slowly (Emmylou Harris)
In The Light (Author Unknown)
Child of Mine (Carole King)
When I Get Where I’m Going (Brad Paisley)
Balloon Release, Messages to Luke
Imagine (John Lennon)
The Best of Luke V
"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness,  but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love."
Washington Irving

Mimi (standing) with the Reids on the picnic table bench (Stacia, Sherry, Jeremy and his girlfriend, Savannah). Gwen and David in the background.


Chris and Michael watching on as I read the poem.


A shadow flickered; it is me.
I told you I wouldn’t leave. My spirit is with you.
My memories, my thoughts are imbedded deep in your heart. I still love you.
Do not for one moment think that you have been abandoned.
I am in the Light.
In the corner, in the hall, the car, the yard—These are the places I stay with you.
My spirit rises every time you pray for me, but my energy comes closer to you.
Love does not diminish, it grows stronger.
I am the feather that finds you in the yard, the dimmed light that grows brighter in your mind.
I place our memories for you to see.
We lived in our special way, a way that now has its focus changed.
I still crave your understanding and long for the many words of prayer and good fortune for my soul.
I am in the Light.
As you struggle to adjust without me, I watch silently.
Sometimes I summon up all the strength of my new world so you can notice me.
Impressed by your grief, I try to impress my love deeper into your consciousness.
As you should, I call out to the Heavens for help.
You should know that the fountain of youth does exist.
My soul is now healthy. Your love sends me new found energy.
I am adjusting to this new world. I am with you, and I am in the light.
Please don’t feel bad that you can’t see me. I am with you wherever you go.
I protect you, just as you protected me so many times.
Talk to me and somehow I will find a way to answer you.
Mother, father, son or daughter, it makes no difference.
Brother, nephew, lover, husband, or wife, it makes no difference.
Whatever our connection - friend or even foe, I see you with my new eyes.
I am learning to help wherever you are, wherever I am needed.
This can be done because I am in the Light.
When you feel despair, reach out to me. I will come.
Our love for you truly does transcend from Heaven to Earth.
Finish your life with the enthusiasm and zest that you had when we were together in the physical sense.
I love you, and I am IN THE LIGHT.
(Author Unknown)

Spreading wildflower seeds and some of Luke's ashes onto the mountainside.


BANG THE DRUMS SLOWLY I meant to ask you how to fix that car
I always meant to ask you about the war
And what you saw across a bridge too far
Did it leave a scar
Or how you navigated wings of fire and steel
Up where heaven had no more secrets to conceal
And still you found the ground beneath your wheels
How did it feel?
Bang the drum slowly play the pipe lowly
To dust be returning from dust we begin
Bang the drum slowly I'll speak of things holy
Above and below me world without end

I meant to ask you when everything seemed lost
And your fate was in a game of dice they tossed
There was still that line that you would never cross
At any cost

I meant to ask you how you lived what you believed
With nothing but your heart up your sleeve
And if you ever really were deceived
By the likes of me

Bang the drum slowly play the pipe lowly
To dust be returning from dust we begin
Bang the drum slowly I'll speak of things holy
Above and below me world without end

Gone now is the day and gone the sun
There is peace tonight all over Arlington
But the songs of my life will still be sung
By the light of the moon you hung

I meant to ask you how to plow that field
I meant to bring you water from the well
And be the one beside you when you fell
Could you tell?

Emmylou Harris


Luke's buddy, Chris, reflecting on the day.


In the Light - Shine On Luke
This is a picture of the jacket of the CD I created for Luke's anniversary. It has many songs that Luke enjoyed, most of them with a theme of heaven or the other side. Some of the songs weren't necessarily "Luke" songs, they just made me think of him. Break On Through .….….…........ The Doors
Calling All Angels …..……........... Train
Rock and Roll Heaven …..........… Righteous Brothers
So Damn Lucky …………...…..…Dave Matthews Band
Kashmir…..…………….....…….. Led Zepplin
Wish You Were Here ……......…. Pink Floyd
Santeria …………………..…….. Sublime
With or Without You …………… U2
Freedom …………………......… Jimi Hendrix
Comfortably Numb …......……… Pink Floyd
Star ………………………......… Bryan Adams
Landslide ……………...............…Fleetwood Mac
Lonely Day ……….............….…. Phantom Planet
Hey You ……………….......….…Pink Floyd
Into The Mystic ……….........…… Van Morrison
Mother ………………………..… Pink Floyd
Lukee In The Sky With Diamonds... Beatles
When I Get Where I'm Going...........Brad Paisley


Ella is loving all the beautiful red balloons!


Sherry, Kay and Ella


Michael, Gwen and David playing HAKEY-SAK, a favorite past-time of Luke and Michael's (with Aunt Gwen!).


Sister Gwen and the dragonfly balloon.


Gwen and I with William and Diane Boley from Havre.


Mother and Son (David and Kris Martens)


Stacia with daughter Ella.


Grandpa (Brian Reid) with sweet Ella.


Father and Daughter (Brian and Stacia)


Michael and David


My long time friend and neighbor, Kris. Here comes another gust of wind - what is Luke up to now???


Michael, Mimi and Mom. Sure, we'll smile for the camera, but we sure wish Luke could be in the picture with us - we miss our bro!


Time to release the balloons, I know Luke is anxious to mess with them as usual!






Smiley face and the other balloons have decided to hang out in the trees for awhile.



"And we all shine on, like the Moon
and the Stars and the Sun”
--John Lennon

While the burgers were being cooked, we listened to many of THE BEST OF LUKE songs, including his very favorite, All Along The Watchtower. Luke told Chris last summer that he had to be sure it was played at his funeral.


There must be some kind of way outta here
said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion...
I can't get no relief

Business men they drink my wine
Plowmen dig my earth
No one will level on the line,
nobody up in this world, hey, hey

No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But, uh...but you and I,
we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us stop talkin' falsely now
The hour's getting late, hey, hey
All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants, too
Outside in the cold distance
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl

Jimi Hendrix


Everyone has left Big Mountain. Time for volleyball and horse shoes at the Reid's house.


Michael and Chris, cut it out!


Michael, Carlos, Chris, Aric, and Jeremy getting ready for a game of horse shoes.


Chris and girlfriend, Stephanie (Luke certainly would have approved!!!).


Michael and Chris


Mimi (in the background) with Sherry and Ella.


"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love."
Washington Irving

Accident site just off Highway 93. Dragonfly is flying high as we remember Luke through the week. Luke's red pickup is in the background.


The bittersweet memories
of those days that used to be
The smiles and the laughter
are the visions that I see

This pain so deep within us
No words that can express
How bittersweet the memories
can cause us such distress

Looking back in time forever
When life included you
It is now those bittersweet memories
that will have to pull us through

Bittersweet the memories
Yes they will have to do
For you will not be coming home
We must wait to come to you

In memory of all our kids
Lyndie Sorenson
Copyright December 2005


Rest in peace my sweet son. Forever you will remain in my heart and soul. I will miss your beautiful face and beaming smile every day of my life, even though I know your spirit is always close. Your loving Mother

Although you see the world different than me
Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see
All the new colors and pictures you've designed
Oh yes, sweet darling,
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine,
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

You don't need direction, you know which way to go
And I don't want to hold you back, I just want to watch you grow
You're the one who taught me you don't have to look behind
Oh yes, sweet darling,
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine,
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Nobody's gonna kill your dreams,
Or tell you how to live your life
There'll always be people to make it hard for a while
But you'll change their heads when they see you smile

The times you were born in may not have been the best
But you can make the times to come better than the rest
I know you will be honest if you can't always be kind
Oh yes, sweet darling,
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine,
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine
Child of mine, child of mine,
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine.

Carole King


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