I think sometimes the anticipation of anniversaries is much harder than the actual anniversary itself. I learned when I was going to therapy that this was called anticipatory grief.
I usually go to Golden on February 20th, but this year it just didn’t work to do that. I had no plans for how I was going to spend my day today, and that was okay.
At the beginning of this journey, I was so worried about not doing the right thing or not “celebrating” or “honoring” in the right way. I always put so much pressure on myself until my beautiful widow friend Leah, who at the time was a few years out from the loss of her fiancé, told me to do whatever the fuck I want.
Those words have stuck with me ever since, and I have always vowed to do what feels right and not to try and force anything.
This morning I woke up and I felt good.
There is always a little bit of guilt that comes along with feeling good. I’ve worked so hard for this, and I am so proud of how far I have come because deep down, I know that it’s how Nick would have wanted me to feel; but, good was always the feeling I feared the most.
In the beginning, I was terrified of someday being at peace with all this. I feared moving forward, and I dreaded the day when Nick being gone was my new normal. Those were all very normal feelings, and I know that now.
This feeling of peace did not come easy, and I always try to remember that so I don’t take things for granted. There were a lot of dark lonely days filled with tears and heartbreak. On the darkest days, I never imagined I would come out on the other side, and I never imagined it would look anything like it does now.
I have so many blog entries that described how all of that looked, and although they were so painful to write, they are such a gift to have now.
I didn’t know when I wrote the entry Avalanche, one year after Nick died, that within a month, I was going to meet Scott, and my whole life was going to change yet again. Only this time, it was going to change in a way that was beyond anything I could have ever prayed for. Our life now is far from easy, and we are exhausted most days, but we often acknowledge how lucky we are, and we embrace every moment, even the frustrating ones.
I am so grateful for the relationship we have and how we can go from both of us in tears over something to both of us enjoying life. It’s just that simple now because we know that time is limited, and only we get to choose how to spend it.
I have come to realize that the love I have for Scott is so different than what I had for Nick. Not more, not less but different.
I love Scott as if I am going to lose him.
I can’t tell myself that I will have him forever because I know that it’s just not guaranteed. I was a little naive with Nick, so I didn’t have to love him with that same “knowing”, so sometimes he got the harder version of me. The version that maybe worried a little bit too much about things that just didn’t matter.
It feels like yesterday that he died, and at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago.
It feels like yesterday because those experiences never go away. You carry them differently with time, but they don’t go away. It feels like a lifetime ago because truthfully, I don’t feel like I am living the same life I was four years ago. My life couldn’t be further from what it was, and besides losing Nick, I am so grateful for that.
Nick’s friend Sheldon posted on his Facebook today that he still doesn’t know why he survived the avalanche, but Nick didn’t. Sheldon was buried as well but came home. At the beginning of my grief, I had to work through this question for a long time. Not because I wasn’t glad that Sheldon was alive, but because I couldn’t understand why one could live and the other had to die.
I know now that the answer is because one was meant to live, and the other was meant to die.
Today I feel good.
I miss nick, I always do. I wish there were a way I could have had all of this and Nick. I wish his death didn’t have to be the catalyst to my blessings but what I’ve learned is, that is life.
I have met some of the most inspiring people. I have met people who have lost parents, siblings, spouses, children, and people who have lost all of the above. I have met people who have been through some of the most horrific tragedies and, despite it all, have risen above and now live lives that I admire.
I am always blown away by the stories and the resilience of those who have suffered. Some of these people are my closest friends and I would never have met them had Nick not died.
Some are my family members who continue to make me proud as they know loss far too well and yet still live this life fully and bravely with kind hearts.
I have been blessed with this outlook on life, and these stories of inspiration that continue to empower me to live on purpose.
The compassion I have for those who have suffered is much stronger than it was before because now I feel it in a way I couldn’t have felt before.
Yesterday a young girl lost her fiancé. I didn’t know him but he was from my hometown. Through mutual friends I was notified of this heartbreaking story and it touched my heart more than it ever would have before Nick died.
Even though I don’t know anything about that family, the pain in my heart is still so real. I can’t imagine being on day two. Day two is the first day you must wake up to realize the reality of what has transpired.
I still remember howling and not knowing what the hell was going on. I remember the women in my family (who all happened to be nurses) placing Ativan in my mouth because they didn’t know what else to do. I am pretty sure the Ativan belonged to my Grandma.
I remember the arrival of family and friends and phone calls pouring in and not wanting to see or speak to anyone because that meant I had to acknowledge what had happened.
I remember making the phone calls that shattered my heart.
I remember it all just like it was yesterday, but the pain is no longer as sharp.
I feel for the girl and her family who are suffering as we speak, and I hope that it can be a reminder to us all that if things are going relatively good today, embrace it and don’t for a second take it for granted.
Scott has this weekend off, and we have no place we need to be. This doesn’t happen often, and I’m excited to spend it with him and our amazing boy. Our boy reminds me of how sometimes things happen that don’t make any sense, but if we never give up and we have a little bit of faith, it might be okay.
For me, it’s been better than okay.
I enjoy the little things that I used to take for granted. Some days I put a really nice book on the shelf, and I think to myself, man, that’s a gorgeous book. It seems silly to write about, but I remember looking at things similar after Nick died, and everything looked grey.
Nothing brought me joy.
I have always been one to prefer a tidy home, but these days the mess reminds me that this messy house is being lived in. Nick always used to tell me that. Meg, we don’t need to live in a show home.
I’ve learned to embrace the mess because a messy house filled with love is far better than a tidy house that is empty.
Let’s face it, one of my biggest regrets after Nick died was having done all of his laundry the day before, so there was nothing left with his scent.
Today Scott and I drove out to Elbow Falls. Nick used to love going there. I had some ashes that I had leftover because I always wanted to spread some of them closer to home. Nick always wanted to be everywhere, and I decided today was a good time to take him back to Elbow Falls.
I am a believer, so I know that Nick is with us no matter where his ashes are, but I also find so much peace in these types of rituals. We found a peaceful secluded spot, played Go Rest High On That Mountain, and shared a moment for Nick. Then we drove home.
The day was simple, but it was perfect, and I couldn’t have asked for a better man to share it with.
This day was far different than what it was four years ago.
Scott is truly a gift from the heavens.
It’s been four years since I lost you Nick. My connection to your soul deepens more and more every single day. I take every chance I get to speak your name, and I often shed tears of gratefulness when I think about all I have been given since your death. I wish you could have experienced this life too, but I have no doubt you are better than okay, and I will see that someday.
I speak for all of us when I say I love, I miss you every day and thank you.
Meg Roberts is an experienced life coach in Calgary offering grief support and life coaching. As a Grief Recovery Method specialist and as someone who has overcome her share of grief, Meg is an empathetic coach with a unique perspective on love and life. Book a Free Consultation with Meg to get started on the road to healing and recovery.