SPOKANE - The wife of Jess Roskelley, a Spokane climber, has released a statement about the death of her husband.
Searchers recovered the body of Roskelley, and his two climbing partners, Sunday; after they were presumed dead in connection with an avalanche in Canada's Banff National Park.
The statement made by Allison Roskelley can be found, in full, below.
I’ve been struggling to put the right words together to express how I feel. There is so much more that I want to say than this, but here is my best effort in this moment.
First and foremost, my deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of Hansjörg Auer and David Lama. These two men were heroes in the climbing community, and I can confidently say that Jess was inspired by and loved them.
Friends, family, acquaintances, strangers – I have been overwhelmed at the response we’ve received from all of you. The outpour of love and respect for Jess is like nothing I’ve seen before. There are no words strong enough to express my gratitude for your love and support. The stories you have shared bring peace to my soul and a smile to my face through the tears. Please know that although I may not respond, I am reading everything you’re sharing, and I don’t want you to stop.
This last week has been an unimaginable nightmare. My heart is shattered and my chest aches in a way I never knew could be real. My body is weak and my mind lost and confused. We had so many moments and plans that we were supposed to share together that I won’t get to live or remember with you, Jess, and that absolutely crushes my soul. We were supposed to have a kid together and grow old together. You are engrained in every ounce of my life, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to find a new “normal” without you in it. I am who I am because of you.
You loved me in a way that I never knew existed, and you weren’t afraid to share it with the world. You showed me what it means to have a true life partner. You were and forever will be the love of my life, but more importantly, you were my best friend, my biggest fan, my greatest support. You respected me and told me how proud of me you were every single day. Not a moment passed that I wasn’t aware of how much you loved me. You were the bravest man I've ever encountered, but you weren't afraid to be vulnerable. We weren’t just lovers, we did life together, and we kicked ass at it. Nothing in the world was going to stop us. I will never again encounter a love as honest, loyal and pure as yours.
You knew how to send a room of people into laughter with your ridiculous jokes – it’s one of my favorite things about you. You had a way of making a pun out of the most random things that caught me off guard every single time. And the best part is how proud you were of your own humor. It didn’t matter what anybody else thought, YOU knew you were funny, and that’s all that mattered to you. You’ve inspired me to be more light-hearted myself and to own who I am without a care for what anybody else thinks.
Your integrity was as solid as the rocks you climbed. You were honest with me about the risks of climbing from the very beginning, and you helped give me comfort by including me in all facets of your climbing career. Your dream was engrained in your soul, and that is something I never imagined taking away from you. It made you who you were – the man I fell in love with – and balanced the nuances of everyday life for you. I would frequently get asked questions like, “How do you do it, with him being gone for such long periods of time? Don’t you worry about him?” I didn’t have to worry, because you included me at every step of the way. You helped me understand the whys and the hows, and you encouraged me to be strong and independent. I knew your number one priority was to come back home to your family, and although the universe had a different plan for you, I know you would have done anything in your power to do so. You were smart, strong and humble, and I trusted in every one of your decisions.
You introduced me to a life that was unknown to me previously. You made me realize there’s more to this life than what most deem as “normal”, and you encouraged me to fight for whatever that meant in my own life and in our life together. You inspired me to want more, to want to BE more, and you were right by my side at every step of my own personal journey. You made me realize what it truly means to “live”, and god dammit, we lived well. You introduced me to a sport that I’ve fallen in love with and a community that has welcomed me with open arms, and I promise to hold true to that in this next phase of my journey.
Jess, I will miss you every minute of every day for the rest of my life. The road ahead of me is unfathomable in this moment, but I know with each new day you will give me perspective and strength, and I promise not to let you down. I have peace in knowing that you were happy and proud standing on that summit. The look on your face was that of pure joy and contentment, and I’m so grateful I have that to hold onto. You did it, and I am beyond proud of you for it. You had truly achieved your dream, which is such a rarity, and in doing so, you’ve shown others that the impossible can be possible through perseverance. You are one with the mountains now, and I will hold you close to my soul forever. You lived more life in your 36 years than most people ever will. I love you with all of my being, Jess. I promise to find strength again and to make you proud, no matter how long it takes me to get there.
Fortitudine Vincimus – “By endurance we conquer.”