I cannot believe it. The grief I feel is bone crushing.  I have shed more tears in the last few days than I have in my life.  Dry heaves of sobs.  I struggle with capturing the words I want to share, but I’ll try…

Anna Marie Wilson

Annakin -- Mi Hija

January 3rd, 1997 to March 28, 2018

My daughter was born a day after (barely) her mom’s 34th birthday, and she died 21 years later on the day after (barely) my 60th birthday. Anna was God. Anna was magnificent. Anna was light. Anna was love.

I last talked to her on the afternoon of her death. She shared how relaxing and fun her spring break had been so far, and she was looking forward to a concert back at UCSD. She was clearly having an awesome time with Amanda, one of her best friends.  She shared how nice it was that for a spring break mecca, Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) was quite chill and that she appreciated her evolving relationship to alcohol and partying (i.e., it can be fun but it’s not all consuming). Based upon the art project paint supplies we found in their AirBnb, the videos Amanda’s family shared, and the final instagram post, they were having an awesome and surprisingly wholesome spring break after her 2nd to last set of finals at UCSD.

She mentioned she felt safe and free of danger. She also told me that she was reading Eckart Tolle’s Power of Now, which she liked a lot and was struck that it was more negative/realistic than the teachings of Abraham.  I asked her if she talked about the book with Amanda, and she said just a bit. I complimented her on her birthday singing left on my voice message box the day before. In retrospect, I sensed she wanted to linger and talk more.  The last words I heard from mi hija were “I love you too, dad”.

That night I fell asleep early about 9pm. According to Kathy I had a violent dream kicking and fighting some dream enemy. I’m sure I experienced my version of the crash.

At about 8pm that night, Amanda and Anna sent their last videos and instagrams.  They were dancing and drinking and laughing and teasing. They looked so beautiful and joyful.  The story is still murky, but apparently they met a boy named Carlos and his younger brother.  Anna said she was cold, and wanted to leave the beach. Carlos offered them a ride to their AirBNB in his family’s recently purchased VW Jetta.  Carlos apparently was picked on by some bullies and she cared after his bloody nose. Anna suggested that she drive, but they agreed she should not as she had more to drink. He also had alcohol in his blood but not enough for a DUI. Anna was in the front passenger seat, Amanda and the brother were in the back. For some reason, Carlos panicked at some point - drove way too fast for an area sin luz, sped on an open dirt road and ended up entering the paved divided road section on the wrong side of the divider. He lost control, perhaps trying to get over to the right side of the median. His car hit a palm tree head on with most of the impact on the right side of the car; the impact caused my sweet daughter to die immediately at the crash site.  Amanda was critically wounded without consciousness immediately but officially died in an ambulance heading to Tucson just over the border. Both boys were hurt but not critically.  

It took almost a day for me to find out about this tragedy.  After sharing the disbelief and shock with Laurie, Jim, Nick and Zen that night, Kathy and I left at 3am the next morning for Mexico.  We have spent the last few days doing what no father should be asked to do. Fortunately, there were angels in abundance including Consulate Wardens, translators, and random people wanting to help. Kathy is in deep grief too, but she has focused on making sure I’m ok. The police didn’t want us to meet Carlos but after we met with his parents and seeing grief without vengeance in the family members of Amanda and Anna, they let him meet us.  He expressed how sorry he was. We expressed forgiveness amidst our tears.  We signed police paperwork which will help lessen his burdens.  I believe a largely innocent 18 year old boy will not spend his life in jail needlessly but will suffer from the pain he has caused. As Laurie said, Anna would have wanted us to do what we did.  I hope Carlos honors his commitment to talk to me more at a later date.

I have been overwhelmed with the expressions of condolence wide and far.  At this time, it’s still too early for me to feel an expansion that this tragedy might reveal, but I appreciate the healers trying. I notice that most all of the messages have asked what they can do for me.  

Knowing that I may not get what I ask for,  I’d like to answer those questions with this:

Show up. Anna and I both struggle with loneliness. I have never felt as lonely as I do today. Perhaps you do too.  I rarely have a meal or coffee or a walk or a text or email or any fun activity without my initiating. I would hope that you can find it in your heart to reach out to me and touch me like no one else before. Just as I have tried to do with you.

Clean up. I have many future decades with Anna that I won’t be able to realize now, and that breaks my heart. I do feel pretty good about what we accomplished in just over 2. I know most of us have unfinished business.  A promise unkept. A loan to repay. A trespass to forgive.  Or a request to make.  As i type your address I think about these things in regards to you.  I wonder if you do too. If we have unfinished business, let’s reach across the divide and clean up our open loops. If you have things to clean up with others, do that too...and let me know.  And if you have those with Anna, let me and her family know too.

Help me honor Anna.  Today at 8:30am Agape service, Anna will be honored by Reverend Michael. Later this week we hope to have a service in her honor.  I have almost finished my landscaping which was done to honor my dad who passed away a month ago at age 95.  Kathy and I will create a corner dedicated as an altar to Anna where we will have space where those who want to honor Anna with a picture, a flower, a poem, or a few words can do so.

I’ll be honest and tell you that Anna was my why.  When I sunk into depression after splitting with Laurie, my coaches and guides helped me find purpose and I found it in Anna. That was when I discovered that Anna didn’t need just a dad, she needed me.  

My why is gone now so I’ll have to rediscover it.  This appears to me like an impossible task.  I hope you inspire me to find my why.

With love and gratitude,


I love you Annakin - mi hija.  Forever.  

This is how Anna usually showed up with me

And this is how I imagine she really was.