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KELLY HAYES: Hi, I’m Kelly Hayes from genconnect.com. I’m happy to be joined by Art and Allison Daily, both here from Aspen. Giving takes many forms. And I think, in your particular case, the writing of the book, Out of The Canyon, A True Story of Loss and Love has been a way of giving back to people. Can you tell me a little bit about the book and how it came to be?
ART DAILY: Well, you’re absolutely right. The essential purpose in putting the book out there was to share what we’d learned about how you move through a process of deep grief, and in my case, terrible loss. Allison’s too, in a different way. And we began separately writing down our stories. And then somehow, serendipitously, we decided, let’s try to weave these stories together into a more, kind of, a coherent pattern and presentation. Because the essence of the story became, for us, a great message of hope, and how you come back from this kind of loss.
And we said, let’s try to share this experience with others. Grief is so present throughout all our lives. And sometimes there just aren’t very many messages on how you move through this stuff.
KELLY HAYES: To get to the genesis of all of this, you were involved in a tragic accident in the canyon, hence the name, Out of The Canyon. Can you describe what happened?
ALLISON DAILY: Sure. I was coming home from a youth hockey team one Sunday afternoon. And then we’re driving back from Vail. My youngest boy had just played in his first away hockey game. And I had both my boys with me, Tanner and Shea. They were 6 and 10 at the time. And my wife, Kathy, was sitting next to me. And a large boulder fell off the high canyon walls and crushed the Suburban I was driving. And ultimately it killed all three of them, and left me untouched. It’s just where I was sitting in the car, and where the boulder hit. And it there were other reasons for that, they’re beyond me. But that’s where all this really began, was in the canyon.
KELLY HAYES: And Allison, you, too, have suffered loss?
ALLISON DAILY: I did. I had a brother that committed suicide. So what happened is when, after my brother committed suicide, I felt like there was a part of that was just changed. It was different. And I came to Aspen, and was just living here and I heard about his loss. And something inside of me just said, I have to reach out to this man. But I didn’t think it was important that he know who I was. I just wanted him to know that I was feeling his pain. And so, I actually begin to pray for him. I just said, if I had so much pain just from losing my brother, then he must be experiencing so much more pain. So I just wrote him an anonymous letter.
KELLY HAYES: So enormous compassion that you all came together, shared. And out of that, you decided to tell people how it is that they can deal with these kinds of losses.
ALLISON DAILY: Yes.
KELLY HAYES: Although, such tragic losses, I’m not sure that people can even relate unless they’ve been in the position.
ALLISON DAILY: Right. Right. I feel like that’s one of the main things. Is that it’s hard to find a lot of hope there in a place like that.
KELLY HAYES: So how do you find hope?
ALLISON DAILY: That’s a good question. I think it’s a day by day experience. I think it’s really about going through the pain, and really allowing yourself to feel the pain. Not judging what you’re going through and taking that full process. I feel like that’s one of the things I respected so much about Art. Is that he really felt his pain completely. I mean he had nights of just on the floor, in a ball, just crying. And so, I would just hold him. And so for him, I feel like he really taught me what that is, and what compassion was. I learned compassion ultimately through being with him. I feel like I learned it at a deeper level.
KELLY HAYES: Well, I’m feeling compassion for both of you, and from both of you as we speak, so thank you. The book, I understand, has been optioned for a film?
ART DAILY: It has, yeah.
ALLISON DAILY: Yes, Ghost Town Ventures.
KELLY HAYES: And what will happen? How do you feel about this being turned into a film project?
ART DAILY: Personally, I am truly excited about it. When our purpose was to spread this message of hope, and this is an opportunity to get it out to so many more people. Books like this become, kind of, cult classics. And they become word of mouth, and they get passed around. And this book somehow has spread halfway around the world, but only in small pieces. And this movie’s a chance to tell the story to a big audience. And I’d love to reach the audience.
ALLISON DAILY: And the two brothers that are doing the movie– it’s two brothers, Alex and Max Shanker– and they’re so compassionate. And they’re working with us every step of the way as they write the script. They’re asking so many questions. There’s a woman who’s actually writing the script, as well, Alexandra Ryan. And so it’s so neat to have both a man and a woman writing the script. And it’s amazing how they’ve just kept us a part of the whole process.
KELLY HAYES: Well, speaking of process, this has all been a process. From the time in which these tragedies befell you, to getting this message out to people. Is there a purpose perhaps behind the tragedies?
ALLISON DAILY: Would you want to answer that one?
ART DAILY: You know, I think there might be. There might well be. You mean a greater purpose? It’s something I began wondering about that very day in the canyon. Why me? Why did this happen? Is there a purpose in this? I mean, is there anything to hang on to here that makes anymore sense out of this, than this terrible pain?
And as time has gone by, and seeing the lives that it’s touched, and things it’s done for me, and for Allison, and our own kids, I wonder if there isn’t a greater purpose here being served that we’re not given to know at this time. Maybe.
KELLY HAYES: Art and Allison Daily, thank you so much for coming and telling us about it. We look forward to where this moves through the film process, as well. And we look forward to seeing the film and reading the book down the road.
ALLISON DAILY: Thank you.
KELLY HAYES: Thank you very much.
ART DAILY: Hey, thanks.
KELLY HAYES: You can find out more with Art and Allison at genconnect.com.