On Thursday, I decided to go out and get a manicure and a pedicure. Since Nick died all I have heard is, “Meg you really need to do something with your feet.” I find it quite funny because the last picture I ever sent to Nick was of my feet after he told me he was going to surprise me with a pedicure in Vegas. I said that’s great because I sure need it. That was after he sent me on a scavenger hunt to find his hidden card. Have I mentioned Nick was fantastic?
When I got to the salon, the lady introduced herself and sat me in the chair. She asked me if I had any big plans for the weekend. I told her I was heading out to Golden for the weekend with some friends. She said, “Oh that sounds like a lot of fun.” At that moment, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. I decided I may as well share my story because I knew I was going to be spending the next few hours with this woman and it would eventually have to come out because I haven’t been good at controlling my emotions lately. I said, “We are going out to spread the ashes of my fiancé, he died on February 20th.” All the woman said was, “Oh honey, I don’t know exactly what you are going through, but I do know pain.” She went on to say she lost her Mother and nine-year-old niece recently in a very tragic car accident. Her mother was a beautiful and respected Doctor in Syria, and her niece was a sweet young girl who died too young.
Immediately after she told me this I had an instant connection with her and I knew Nick sent me to her. She and I talked about the pain we had both experienced, and we talked about God. This woman and part of her family migrated from Syria and had experienced pain and suffering and things that many of us could never even come close to imagining. I felt connected, and I felt that there was a reason I met her.
On Friday morning, I woke up in a panic which has become part of my new normal. I knew I had to get up and pack for a trip I really didn’t want to make. Nick’s friends and I were heading out to Golden to take Nick back to the place he always wanted to be, Gorman Lake.
Katie and I traveled to Golden together. The mountains were beautiful, and I couldn’t help but feel like It was Nick shining a light on us to make sure our trip was safe. As we left Calgary the song “Humble and Kind,” by Tim McGraw came on. I turned it up so Katie could listen to the words. I wish I would have known this song existed before because I would have played it at Nick’s funeral. This song describes Nick and the man that he was.
Friday night Katie and I sat in the hot tub and talked about everything. All I could say was, “how did we get here?” I only met Katie and Kyle the day after Nick died and I already feel like they are family. Nick always wanted us to meet, and I wish somehow we could turn back time so that our new friendship could be under different circumstances.
Saturday morning was terrible. I barely slept, and I was dreading what we were about to do. Katie came over to my hotel room with some coffee, and we talked about what the day was going to look like. My first task for the morning was to remove a portion of Nick’s ashes and save them for Heather and Rian. This was important to me, and I wanted to make sure they could have their own day to honour Nick in a way that was special to them. What we did next was an experience none of us will forget.
Kyle opened up the box with a screwdriver, and we all just stared at the bag that was inside. None of us had ever seen ashes before, and we just kept saying this is so fucked up. Kyle opened the bag and grabbed a ladle from the drawer, we laughed. I apologize if this next part of my blog is uncomfortable for anyone, but this is just part of those real experiences that you get to be a part of when you lose a loved one. Kyle scooped the ashes while I held the zip lock bag. How do you not laugh when you are discussing how many scoops to place in the bag? Are we actually talking about how many scoops of Nick we want to save? We just laughed because what else are you supposed to do? It was only 11 am, but I already had a glass of wine to help me through this unimaginable day. Katie and Kyle have done so much for me over the last two months, but I have to say this is hands down the most surreal experience we have had together thus far. I know for a fact Nick was with us, and he was probably having a hoot watching how uncomfortable we were.
We loaded up the truck, and we headed towards to staging area. Only a kilometer down the road from the hotel we saw a mamma bear and her two cubs. I was so happy to see them, and they were right outside the truck. Every time Nick and I were in the mountains, we hoped we would see a bear. I knew Nick sent these bears our way to make a stressful day a little bit more peaceful.
When we got to the staging area, I almost lost my breath. Everyone was waiting for us, and I said to Nick “You should be here.” The weather was fantastic, and we were all stripping off clothes and soaking up the sun. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how we were ever going to find snow but the boys assured us, we would see.
As everyone was loading up getting ready to go, I asked Jarret how he managed to get the short end of the stick. I don’t know if Jarret actually realized how important his job was that day. Nick always wanted me to get on a sled and go with him to see the beautiful sights he sees during the sledding season. It was one of those things we always talked about but never planned. That day Jarret was not only responsible for taking me up that mountain for the “first” time, but he was also taking Nick up that mountain for the “last” time. Nick was in my backpack, and there was something so unbelievably profound about doing this for the love of my life. Thank you Jarret for taking me up there, I can assure you Nick will Thank you when he sees you again.
When we were on top of that mountain, I felt like I was dreaming. Nick always showed me pictures and videos, and I have been in the mountains before hiking and skiing, but I am telling you until you are in the backcountry, you have never seen the mountains. As soon as Jarret stopped the sled I took a deep breath and I had tears rolling down my face. All I could say to Nick was, “I get it.”
We enjoyed the day and had some drinks until we decided it was time to celebrate Nick. The last time the boys were with Nick they were digging him up but today they were digging a hole to bury his ashes. I poured the ashes into the hole; I gave Nick one last twisted tea, and we all scattered snow and said our goodbyes. We played the song “You should be here”, and wrote his name in the snow where he will rest.
On New Years Day Nick called me from a bowl right near where we buried him, and he said, “I have service, and we need to move to this exact spot and build a shed.” Nick was so excited about this area and had to call me even though it scared the shit out of me to see him calling so early in the day. Nick loved that area in Golden, and that is exactly where he would have wanted to be.
I can not thank everyone enough for being there on Saturday. This day was harder for me than the funeral. Nick’s funeral was a day that I barely remember, and it didn’t seem real. Nick spent so many hours in those mountains and being there without him made it very apparent that he was gone. The day couldn’t have been more beautiful, and I know Nick was with us enjoying the day.
Nick, please rest high on those mountains, and know that we will be there to visit you again. We love you and we always will.