Over the last month, I have had several conversations with people who have said the words, “I don’t want to bother you with my problems when you have so much worse to deal with.” Some people in my situation may be bothered by others problems or life struggles, but I want to make it very clear that I DO NOT want to be “shut out” and “protected” from the things that are important to me. Being there for my friends, family and others who may have less desirable things occurring in their life, is still, and will always be, important to me.
I have two very close friends and a cousin who are struggling with fertility, and I know they have all felt guilty about being completely open with me about it over the last couple of months because they suddenly feel like it isn’t important compared to what I am going through. For the record, it was important before Nick died and it is still important now. Luckily I have had the opportunity to sit down with two of them and make it very clear that I WANT TO KNOW. That goes for you too cousin :). If I can’t be there for the people that are important to me when they have real life problems then what is even the point of still being here?
Yes things can always be worse and yes I suffered one of the worst types of loss imaginable, but I am still here, and I can still feel. In fact, I think I can even feel deeper than I did before. One of the things I have learned is that we have to make the best of the time we have left, and one of the things that have always been important to me is compassion, and I still have it. When my friend gave me the news she received from the fertility clinic the other day, I got off the phone and cried. When my other friend told me the struggles she is having with IVF funding, I shared my frustration with her regarding the issue. These are the things that make me feel like I am still alive and that I still have a reason to be here. I need to have a reason so; please don’t feel bad about talking to me about things that are causing you grief, unless it’s packing for a vacation that is stressing you out because that is just stupid. These are the things I want to teach people not to stress about ;).
I recently re-connected with a friend of mine Todd, who I worked with while I was a school resource officer. He told me that he was recently diagnosed with heart issues and that he has been off work. (Keep in mind he is very young and only three years ago him and I completed a GORUCK challenge together. He is a healthy and active guy). He said the prognosis was not good, but he is now confident that with some procedures, life long meds, and lifestyle changes he will have a better prognosis. We went on to talk about how yoga, positivity, and mindset is all so important and can have a huge impact on the quality of one’s life. He said he believed great things can happen with the power of the mind.
The one part of that conversation that hit home for me was when he said, “as you know, it is unfortunate that sometimes we need a sledgehammer over the head to wake up and start living.” He said, “I feel my diagnosis day was at first the worst day of my life but is now the best thing that has happened to me if you know what I mean.”
Yes, Todd, I do know exactly what you mean. Don’t get me wrong, Nick and I lived a very good two and a half years together, but there were a lot of things we could have done better like not worry so much about the unimportant shit. I responded to my friend by saying this:
“It totally made sense what you said about it being the best thing that happened to you. My situation is different, but I already feel like a completely different person since Nick died. Not that I wasn’t happy with who I was, he made me the best person I could be, but I truly feel this has opened my eyes to things many people aren’t “lucky” enough to see, and that is the beauty of our lives and how precious they are. You now know that too, and I’m so glad you are choosing to live instead of dwell. It is inspiring. “
We consider ourselves lucky and this is something many will never understand.
It is people like Todd and friends and family struggling with fertility, and others who have reached out to me over the last few months that inspire me to keep on going. Nick’s death was unfair, too soon, and I feel for him every day for being robbed of his life. The reality is, though, this life is only a very small portion of our soul’s journeys, and if I don’t make the best of it, Nick will kick my ass when I see him again.
I have honestly had hundreds of people reach out to me on Facebook and in person to thank me for writing my blogs, and as far as I am concerned, I should be the one thanking everyone for reading them. The initial purpose of them was to document my thoughts and experiences throughout my journey in hopes of it being therapeutic, but it has become much more because of the people who are taking the time to read them and then sharing with me what they have learned through Nick’s death. It makes me very happy so thank you.
On Saturday, I had some friends over and my goal for the evening was to go into the garage. I hadn’t been in there since Nick died and that space is Nick’s space, and I knew it was going to be difficult. Once again Katie and Kyle’s little girl found a way to make something that could have been very painful look a little bit more fun. I looked over and saw her dancing around and singing having the time of her life in the garage, and I just had to go in. I was also concerned about the ax that was on the floor just feet away from her, but the real draw was the way she made that garage look like it was calling my name. Little kids truly have no idea the impact they make just through their innocence.
Thank you, everyone, for sharing that experience with my parents and me that night. It was another step I knew I was going to have to make, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of a few good people. I know Nick was in there, and I bet he wanted to know why there was only beer in the fridge and no twisted teas. We love you Nick, and I think I speak for all of us when I say, I felt you there with us enjoying the man cave!
My Calender entry for today reads as follows:
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched…but are felt in the heart.” -Helen Keller-