On Friday when I got home from dropping my Dad off at the airport I was hit hard with loneliness. I was alone in my house for the first time while awake. My parents had left here and there while I was sleeping but were always here when I walked through the door or came out of my room. I thought to myself, well I may as well just go to sleep. I went upstairs and grabbed the blanket off my bed and made my way to the couch. I sat down and looked at the picture of Nick on my piano and instantly broke down into heavy tears. I cried out to Nick and could barely catch my breath. Many of us would call this “ugly crying.” I decided I am crying already and having a terrible day; may as well watch P.S I love you. I turned on Netflix and the movie “Do you believe” immediately caught my attention. I had never heard of this movie and had a strong urge to watch it. It was all about God’s magnificent plan and how we are all put here for a reason and someday we will find out what that reason was. I can’t help but ask myself, did Nick lead me to this movie?
Last night I went out with some of my girlfriends who I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with over the last month and a half. When we went for dinner, we chatted and laughed and enjoyed each others company. Everything seemed normal and as if nothing had ever happened. The way we interacted was no different than any of the other times we had gone out for downtown dinners like this. Jody picked the restaurant (as usual), we all shared wine, we all picked one meal each, and we shared everything. The moment I realized the difference was when I went to text Nick and tell him how a great of a night we were having it occurred to me, I couldn’t. I realized, going out with my friends and having fun isn’t the problem I am going to have to face in this new life. The problem I am going to have is not having the ability to share it with Nick because I shared everything with Nick. It is very hard to come to terms with not being able to communicate with Nick. Before Stacey and I left Jody and Lisa for the night, I hugged them both. Stacey hugged Jody and said to Lisa, “I will see you tomorrow, we can hug then,” I said, “No Stacey, you guys need to hug now.” Please remember everyone, tomorrow may not come.
This morning Stacey and Lisa delivered me a coffee and food to my room and told me they were leaving now. We hugged and said I love you. We have always hugged, but we don’t often use the words “I love you”, not because we didn’t feel it but because sometimes you just don’t think to say it. I would strongly recommend that if you love someone, no matter how awkward you may feel saying it, just say it.
I felt that instant pain of loneliness again after the girls left, the same feeling I felt on Friday. I decided to listen to some music and maybe just have a good cry. I went to youtube, and the first one that popped up was Vince Gill’s “Go Rest high on that mountain.” This one came up because I had listened to it over and over and over the first week after Nick died. I decided to see if I could find a solo piano cover of this song with sheet music. I started finding several videos of Vince Gill performing this song live and realized I could not find one with him not crying. I love Vince Gill and always have and after watching all of these videos I have gained an even stronger respect for him. You know a piece of music is moving when not even the writer can get through it without crying. My band teacher used to tell us that if you can make the audience cry you have done well. Vince Gill wrote this song for his brother and he said he had no idea it was going to help so many people cope during tragic times. Vince, I can tell you this song will forever be my song used to send Nick home. Everyone interprets music differently, and here is how I understand this song for Nick.
“I know your life on earth was troubled, and only you could know the pain. You weren’t afraid to face the devil; you were no stranger to the rain.”
Nick’s life was not troubled to the point where he didn’t enjoy his time on this earth. Nick loved being alive, and he loved to have fun. Nick did, however, worry about everyone and everything and wanted everyone to be okay. Nick struggled with things like being away from his family, not having an endless bank account, and not always knowing what the right thing to do was. Nick and I were excellent at having the heart to hearts, and we did this often, which is how we learned so much about each other, and the things that caused us stress. Nick had to work for everything he had, and he took care of me even when we were both struggling to make sense of this life.
“Go Rest high on that mountain Son, your work on earth is done. Go to heaven a shoutin’ Love for the Father and the Son.”
Well, obviously this verse is appropriate. Nick went to sleep on a bed of snow and as painful as it is for me to picture him I know through what his friends said he looked peaceful. I can only hope that when Nick found out where he was going that he was filled with Joy and found instant comfort in the company of God. Nick and I have often wondered what it looks like when we leave this earth. Neither one of us is overly religious, but we thought there has to be something beyond this earth. I am envious of God for being able to see Nick’s smile and beautiful blue eyes light up. I can only hope Nick was at peace and did not feel like I would be mad. That was one of the things I repeatedly said after I heard the news. “I don’t want Nick to think I am mad at him; I am not mad at him. I need to know he is okay.”
“Oh, how we cried the day you left us, we gathered round your grave to grieve. I wish I could see the angels faces when they hear your sweet voice sing.”
I see this verse as the day we gathered at Bill’s Mom’s house as soon as we found out the boys were in an avalanche. We were all together when we heard the news and that day will be one none of us will ever forget. I was that woman who was wide-eyed and crying out in a way that will haunt you for the rest of your life, and none of us will never be the same after experiencing this type of loss.
I know that this song kept cutting out at the funeral, and I believe it was Nick saying, “Okay people, that is enough”, but this song is still the song that I will sing every day for Nick whether he likes it or not.
Today the boys started a Facebook group to start planning a trip to the mountains to spread Nick’s ashes. When I first looked at the group, I cried and thought, “are we really having to plan this.” The boys have always had a group text with all of the sledders. Anyone who is married to anyone in this group knows that they spend a lot of time chatting with their group about their trips. It absolutely breaks my heart that these boys have to plan a final trip for my sweet Nick, but I am also so grateful that Nick had so many people who loved him so much and that we will be able to go and experience Nick’s passion together as we say goodbye one last time.
Tonight I went to church with Sarah. I asked her on Friday if I could go with her because I desperately needed help. God knows I am angry at Him, and I am not ready to forgive just yet, but I thought if I went to church, I could show I am still listening even though I am not sure yet what I am supposed to hear.
I don’t believe in coincidences, so I was amazed to find out the entire service tonight was about finding your calling and how we are all on this earth to serve. I have been asking the same questions over and over the last few weeks. “Why am I still here? Why do I have to do this alone? What is my purpose? What was Nick’s purpose? How do I possibly go on when I have been through so much pain?”. I sat with Sarah, and we listened, and we sang, and we cried.
There are so many decisions I have made this weekend that led me to open my heart to God even though I was so lonely and in so much pain. There is no doubt in my mind Nick knows the truth now, and he is giving me the strength to find my way.
Not only did those decisions help me to feel Nick by my side but I had two special little girls who absolutely made my day. When I was visiting Kyle and Katie, their daughter asked if she could hug me when I left. I had only just met her this once, and she wanted to hug me. I thought it was so cute, but when Sarah’s daughter asked me after church if she could give me a hug and a kiss I knew that these little girls weren’t just precious, I knew Nick was using these little girls to help deliver his love to me.
When I got home from church I looked at my calendar from Nick, and this is what today’s said:
“The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave and determined spirit” – Mark Twain