Most of the key emotional ties to Up the Lake are due to the kids. Many adults aren’t visibly upset when the summer ends, until it's time to say good bye to the little ones. Part of the connection comes from seeing the joy, freedom and activeness the place brings out in them, part of it is witnessing succeeding generations enjoy the same things you did, and part of it is watching them grow up as each year passes. I feel a great sense of pride when now adults (that I still think of as kids) come back Up the Lake, and tell me they remember that I introduced them to a game they really enjoyed or a novelty song or comedy routine they still laugh at. Those kinds of connections are what make Up the Lake as special as it is. One of the problems with strong emotional bonds, like anything worthwhile in life, is that the better and stronger attachments you form the more danger there is of being hurt when they're lost.
I still picture Jay as the little boy playing Marvel and Talisman and singing “Shaving Cream” over and over again with his cousins (or belching along to "Its a Gas"). Even though he wasn’t a little boy anymore, he was far too young. Jay was only 22 when a car accident took him from his family. I feel really stupid saying anything about pain and loss, because I know that even though Up the Lake is a family, the effect on his actual family is indescribable.
There are no right words for something like this. None. Everything is inadequate, nothing explains it and there is no justification. As a defense mechanism, I guess, I fall back on quotations of others.