It’s 12:25 pm and I am still in bed. Not sleeping just sitting here trying to figure out what to do next. I used to think dragging myself out of bed to go to work was hard, but now I would give anything to have the strength to do that. Now I am trying to drag myself out of bed to face a day of pain, loneliness, loss, fear, and worst of all reality.
It has been 16 days since Nick died. 16 days I have gone without talking to him, seeing him. kissing him and laughing with him. 16 days it’s been since my life was perfect. I’ve come to realize that when Nick was alive, we had everything perfect. I probably wouldn’t have said that before because we always say nothing is perfect, but now I look back at the last two and a half years and I can only see the positive memories. I can’t remember our fights or disagreements or nights we slept in separate rooms. I mean I can remember them, but I can’t remember how I was feeling during those times. I can only remember the days that were good. The days that my heart was in love, madly in love. If there is one thing I have learned out of all of this, it is that nothing is worth holding on to if it doesn’t make you feel good. Nick and I never let anything go longer than a few hours, at max a day. We had way too much to be happy about and to live for to spend more than a day upset with each other.
My days are becoming less chaotic. The funerals are over, I am back from Ontario, my phone isn’t blowing up with messages anymore. I can’t even find the words to explain the amount of support I have received over the last 16 days. To all of my friends, colleagues (CPS and MHPS), neighbours, CFD, and family, Thank you. Thank you will never be enough for the help I have received over this time. I only just started sleeping in my bed alone but before that I had my Mom, cousin Melissa, cousin Tammy, and cousin Kendra. All at different times of course. For the first few days, I couldn’t eat, drink, or get the motivation even to bath myself. From the help of my amazing Family, I have managed to stay alive during this battle.
When I first found out what happened to Nick, I was not surprised. The day before when he drove away I knew I was never going to see him again. I had this feeling in my stomach that I had never felt before. Being someone who has suffered chronic abdominal pain you tend to notice when something is a little different. When Nick drove away, he looked out the window and waved at me with a smile. It was the same smile I received the first day I met him. Something told me that was it. I texted Nick and said, “I don’t know why I feel so sad.” He said, “Awww you are going to miss me, we can facetime.” I headed to the mall to pick up our wedding rings. The ladies at the store told me the next seven months were going to go by fast so we better enjoy it. There was something about that that made the feeling in my stomach even worse. Even when I went to yoga that night, there was something keeping me from feeling completely at peace. I just couldn’t get rid of this horrendous feeling in my stomach. When I was in bed that night, Nick and I were talking via text, and I said to him again”I don’t know why I feel so sad today, I wanted to cry when you left.” I then said, “Maybe it’s just my hormones.” Nick and I talked for about an hour, and I told him I needed to go to sleep. We both said I love you, and that was the last time I ever spoke to him.
Saturday morning I still had that same feeling in my stomach. It just wouldn’t go away. I took an Advil, drank some green tea, and had a hot bath. I was putting all our laundry away, and when I placed a pair of Nick’s boxers in his drawer, I thought of an article my partner Sarah had shared with me a while back. It was about a woman who lost her husband and found comfort in wearing his underwear. I was pulling out clothes to pack for my Vegas trip but something kept telling me, “you are not going to Vegas.”
My mind keeps going back to the moment Ashley said the boys were in an Avalanche. I never panic. I have always been a calm person and find value in it. This time, I had no control, I full on panicked and called my Mom. I just knew he wasn’t going to be okay. I had been knowing this for over 24hrs. My life changed at that moment.
On Sunday Nick’s friend Kyle dug up Nick’s sled and brought it home. I don’t know if he will ever know how comforting that was for me. I went to Brad’s shop that evening and just sat on it. I never felt more close to Nick than in that moment. The snow was dripping off his sled, and it was as if the sled was crying too. Nick’s sled being home will help me cope through this process.
When Monday rolled around, I was receiving calls from everywhere. I spoke to the Coroner first. She told me Nick’s cause of death was asphyxiation. How do you comprehend that? How do you tell yourself there was nothing anyone could have done differently when time was the difference between Nick dying and living. The answer is, you just do. I know in my heart those boys out there did everything they could and time was against them. I also know in my heart that when it is your time it’s your time. I don’t know why this had to be Nick’s time, when everything was so perfect in our life, but I have to believe it anyway. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to get through this thing they call grief.
The next phone call was from one of Nick’s co-workers Logan. He told me he was trying to get the courage to call me for two days. Logan said he and the rest of Nick’s co-workers were just moping around the shop not knowing what to do. At this moment I had the first burst of energy that I had had since the moment I found out Nick was gone. I said to Logan, “I am coming up there, I need to talk to you guys.” Logan was surprised, but he said see you soon. I jumped out of bed and got in the shower. My family members were surprised and said, “are you sure you want to do this.” I knew I had to. Nick was giving me the strength to go there and talk to the boys and tell them what Nick would have wanted them to hear. I sat down with about 20 guys in their lunch room and the first thing I said was “I know about the drama around here.” The boys laughed. Nick always told me about the drama and the silly disagreements that went around the shop. Nick wasn’t innocent either. I wanted Nick’s co-workers to know that life is too short. Each day needs to be cherished and time should not be wasted on negative thoughts and relationships. I don’t even remember everything I said to them but I had their full attention for about twenty minutes. Later that night Logan sent me a text message saying thank you for what I did. He sent me a picture of the whole crew out for a beer for the very first time. Logan said this one is for Nick.
On Tuesday I went to the funeral home. That was when it hit me. I have officially gone from wedding planning to funeral planning. There are times you can be strong and get done what needs to be done, but this was not one of those times. I strongly depended on my parents, Sandy, Sarah, and Keely. This was one part of the process I did not want to be a part of. I did want to write the Eulogy, though. I loved Nick more than any other living thing. I needed to make sure that people remembered him for the fun, loving, and amazingly hard working man that he was. This was one of the most difficult things I had ever had to do, but I would have done anything for Nick while he was alive, and I will continue to do anything for him now that he is gone.
The day of the funeral is a blur. I remember bits an pieces of it but for the most part, my body was numb. I do remember though that the service was absolutely breathtaking. Nick deserved every bit of it.
I was able to see Nick the night before, and I am still not sure if that was the right thing to do or not. I knew it was only Nick’s body, but I knew I needed to touch him and kiss him one more time. I tried to fix his hair because it didn’t look how he would have wanted it to look. I sat beside him and played what was supposed to be our wedding song. “Thinking of you” by Dierks Bentley. The words in that song have become even truer.
That night after the funeral we all went back to Brad’s shop and shared memories of Nick. They presented me with a gift that was from many of my close friends and family. They placed the gift in my lap, and everyone’s conversations came to a stop, and everyone gathered around. At the exact moment that I started opening the gift the song “You should be here”, by Cole Swindell came on the radio. We all knew exactly which song it was, and I immediately felt Nick’s presence. The gift was beautiful, and I will post it here for everyone to see.
On March 4th I headed out to Ontario with my parents to take Nick home. This was an experience I can’t even explain. Taking Nick back home was one of the hardest things I had to do, but something I knew I had to do. Nick loved home. His Grandparents were buried back home. Nick needed to be home. The three days I was there is a blur. I felt so much pain being there without Nick. Being in the airport, to the plane ride, to the time we spent at his Uncle’s just brought back so many memories from our trip last summer.
Today I am sitting in bed. What to do next? I have no idea. Each day I have taken five minutes at a time. I cry, I scream, I laugh, I stay silent, and I just keep holding on to the love I had for Nick and the love he had for me. I can’t do anything more than that at this point. My psychologist told me to start journalling my feelings, my dreams, my days. I will continue to do that to not only to give me something to do but to keep Nick’s memories alive.