BE SAFE- For your loved one’s sake

“Sweetie, you are going to do much bigger things than policing.”
-Auntie Nadine-

Oh, how I wish I knew what she meant. Did she foresee something in my future and she was only granted the gift of telling me because she only had a few more days before her death? I thought I would never know for sure, but I have a strong feeling I am beginning to understand.

Today I went to pick up my wedding dress from the seamstress and what an experience that was. I need to have it ready because I have a photographer booked in Nashville for my “Wedding Day”. The lovely lady helped me into the dress and then walked me up onto the pedestal. I looked in the mirror at the woman standing in front of it and for the first time in over five months, I started to recognize who she was. She was not the woman she was when she bought this dress, but she was a woman who was beginning to feel alive again. I bought this dress because it was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen and I wanted so badly for Nick to see me in something other than jeans, t-shirt, and a dirty old hat.

As I looked in the mirror, I cried. I looked at the portrait of Nick on my shoulder, and I thought to myself, “what does this mean?”. When I looked at the dress this time, fitted so perfectly to my body, I felt like this dress had to represent much more than a great, unimaginable, and painful loss. This dress represents that of a woman who is beginning to feel powerful. A woman who is beginning to feel like she can make a difference and have a voice for her sweet Nick. A woman who undoubtedly believes that she can prevent even one or two phone calls saying, “The boys/girls were in an Avalanche.” This dress is a powerful reminder of what people in the backcountry leave behind when they do not go out prepared.

Today I didn’t feel weak, and I didn’t feel the need to go home and hide in my room with a box of kleenex and a bottle of wine. I am not saying those days are over but what I am saying is today I felt empowered.

The seamstress looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, ” you are a beautiful woman.” We cried and we hugged and it was a surreal experience.

Today my Doctor filled out the return to work papers. I go back next Wednesday. I am not sure how I feel about this, and I don’t know how long it will last before I turn in my papers and move on to a new adventure but for now, I am feeling okay. I didn’t realize the woman in HR didn’t know why I had been on leave for the last five months. She asked me how things have been. I told her things are feeling more familiar, and I am feeling good about some of the things that have been happening recently. She asked me to elaborate, and I told her I have been sharing Nick’s story with those in the snowmobiling community, and trying to raise avalanche safety awareness. I said I really feel good about what I am seeing. I went on to tell her  it’s one of few things that is motivating me to get up in the morning and I think that must be a good thing. She followed up by saying, “did you lose someone in an avalanche,” at which point I responded, “Yes my fiance, he was 30 years old.”

We talked about all the avalanche deaths there were this year. I took a deep breath, and I said, “I know there have been so many, and I am going to do what I can to change that.” THIS IS NOT GOOD TO HEAR and I have been hearing it a lot.

This isn’t going to be a long blog tonight but what I want to share is how grateful I am for those of you who have not uttered the words, “Meg, you need to let it go so you can heal”. “Meg, don’t think about the circumstances of Nick’s death.” “Meg, Nick died doing what he loved.” Meg, “It was Nick’s time”. “Meg, it was a freak accident.”

Although some of these statements may have a small bit of truth to them, they are not helpful. I would not be doing this earth or anyone on it any good if I chose to believe those statements. If it weren’t for people like Trish Drinkle, Jeremy Hanke, Erik Anderson, Kathy McCoy, and many other complete strangers I have met who have shared their stories, I would still be lying in my bed a couple of bottles of wine down trying to make sense of Nick’s death. All of these people have suffered tragedy and experienced worst case scenario in the mountains, and all of these people share a common goal with me, and that is SAFETY. If you are one who spends time in the backcountry, please consider checking out Soul Rides and my friend Trish’s new blog at sledmomma.wordpress.com (it’s brand new, but it will be fucking awesome). Trish and Jeremy are two of the most amazing and inspiring humans I have ever met, they are going to save lives, and I have no doubt probably have saved lives already. So now you have it, the information is there now go ahead and PREPARE YOURSELF.

A couple of weeks ago I still didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but I am beginning to realize that we are all dealt certain cards for a reason, and I have to play those cards right if I am going to make this life beautiful again.

If you ever need a reminder of why SAFETY is key in the backcountry, have a look at the photo attached to this blog. I can’t think of anything more compelling than a photo of a wedding dress that will never be seen by the groom and a death certificate of a 30-year-old man.

I was supposed to receive a marriage certificate not a death certificate.

PLEASE BE SAFE and don’t be the next victim. This comes from the deepest part of my heart.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mohandas Gandhi-

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