For two young Craig natives, memorials of loved ones lost to life's tragic circumstances are never far away.
Jordan Bailey, 20, a 2006 Moffat County High School graduate and first-year U.S. Navy man, keeps a silver cross containing some of the ashes of his late father, Michael Bailey, of Craig.
Kacie Owens, 18, a 2008 MCHS graduate, has a tattoo of a cross covered in an olive branch with words paying tribute to her late cousin, Cassie Owens, also of Craig.
Both Michael Bailey and Cassie Owens were taken far too soon.
Michael Bailey, 42, died in February 2006 in a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 40, about a mile east of Hayden. Cassie Owens, 22, died in September 2007, after a battle with cancer.
Time, Jordan and Kacie said, and the inevitability of moving on with life has dulled some of the pain and grief the two felt from losing their loved ones.
And, between the wake of loss and the dawn of a new life, the two found more than themselves to move beyond the tragedies.
They found each other.
"She's helped me out a lot," said Jordan, of his new bride, whom he wed a week ago at the Moffat County Courthouse. "And I was able to help her."
"There's some things in life you can't really help, you just have to get through it," Kacie (Owens) Bailey said, while looking across a table and smiling at her new husband. "You have to live your life. : That's what we're doing."
Jordan, the only son of Michael Bailey, is candid about his struggles following his father's death.
The trauma of losing his father, whom he also considered his best friend, and the circumstances of the accident - the second driver involved reportedly was under the influence of methamphetamine - were all difficult to handle, he said.
Without his father, he was without direction, he said. He was lost.
On May 27, he made a decision to turn it around. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
"Basically, after my dad got killed, I didn't have a whole lot left," said Jordan, who returned home Oct. 19 for a two-week leave. "I thought the Navy would be good for my life."
Jordan is a third-class petty officer, and he works in damage control maintenance, where he specializes in chemical/radiological and biological defense. He left Friday for San Diego, where he begins training for a six-month sea deployment next year.
He and Kacie, who had been dating for about a year-and-a-half, talked of getting married and got engaged April 28. They made it official with a small, simple ceremony Oct. 24.
"We kind of just decided that when I came back it would be a good time," said Jordan, who has further cemented his future by stating his intention to make the Navy his career.
Kacie has noticed a change in him.
"He's the same person, but he has different morals and values now," she said. "He grew up a lot. He opens doors now. It's not just sometimes - it's every time."
After a moment's pause to reflect, Jordan added, "I know where my life is heading now. I'm going down a good road. : As well as I've excelled, and as hard as I've worked, I think my dad would be extremely proud."
Kacie, who turns 19 this month, said she shared many happy times with her older cousin, and she looked up to her.
"With everything, I'd try to be a little like her, but still be me, too," Kacie said.
Although Jordan and Kacie understand loss, their experience with it is different.
Jordan said his father suddenly was taken away from him. Kacie said she had to watch as her cousin got sicker and the cancer took its toll.
"Toward the end, it hurt so bad to see her like that," Kacie said. "She was always so bubbly, happy, joking. It was really hard to see her go."
On May 23, 2008, a day before graduating from high school, Kacie paid a blood oath tribute to Cassie, getting herself inked with the tattoo in her memory.
The words, "Cassie - Gone but not forgotten," surround the cross and olive branch, she said.
Like she did for him, Kacie said Jordan helped her through the tough times.
Cassie's funeral was in the same church as Michael Bailey's, Kacie said, and Jordan returned to the church for the first time to be at the service with her.
"He was there for me at the funeral," Kacie said. "It was the first time he'd been in the church since his dad. I think it was hard for him, but he did it for me."
On Friday, the newlyweds parted ways, albeit briefly.
Jordan left Craig for the return trip to San Diego. Kacie, a dental student at Colorado Northwestern Community College's Rangely campus, will join him there in December.
Kacie said leaving each other, even for a short time, is always difficult. But, considering what they've already gone through, and what they have to look forward to, it's a relatively minor problem, she said.
"It's hard," she said. "It's hard every time we have to say goodbye. : But, we've been through a lot together. There's nothing we'll face that we can't handle."