Sometimes I am not sure which day is harder, the 19th of every month or the 20th. The 20th is obviously a hard day because it marks the anniversary of Nick’s death, but the 19th marks the anniversary of the last time I had seen and spoke to my sweet Nick.
Six months ago today I said goodbye to the love of my life and kissed him for the very last time. I have wondered every single day for the last six months, should I have told him not to go? The answer to that is still, and will always be, No.
I can’t believe it has been six months. I still remember mine and Nick’s conversation after he drove away about how hard it was going to be to go a week without seeing one another. I laugh now when I think about that. One week? Easy.
I have learned a lot over the last six months. I have learned so much about myself and the human body. I have learned about grief, love, and compassion. I have learned about what is important and what is merely a waste of valuable energy, and most of all I have learned so much about the concept of life after death. Yes, contrary to what many of us believe in the early stages of grief, there is in fact, life after death.
Important things I have learned since Nick’s death:
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is real and not just a theory.
Let’s start with the physiological needs. Air, food, and water. As I have mentioned in other blogs, breathing is so crucial. I still remember as I look back on the early days when I would find myself gasping for air because I just simply forgot to breathe. When people say just breathe, there is a reason, and it is so incredibly important when your body is numb. It was definitely one of the most painful things I had to do at the beginning because my heart was literally broken and breathing hurt so bad. Why should I get to breathe when Nick no longer can?
Food and water. I can’t stress this enough. This is becoming clearer to me now that I am beginning to get my health back. I understand the importance of nutrition but at the beginning, I could barely get down bite size pieces of watermelon. Not everyone gets’s to experience the power of love in which I encountered in the early days. It brings me to tears as I type this because I can say, without a doubt, my family and closest friends kept me alive during a time that I didn’t want to live. If this isn’t a blessing or a silver lining, I don’t know what is. I am lucky, and I know that more than ever now. Those who kept me alive in the early days, you know who you are, and I am forever indebted to you.
Safety is the next basic need among humans. There are so many reasons I felt unsafe over the last six months. Financial reasons, emotional reasons, the excruciating pain I felt from being lonely. I felt unsafe because of my thoughts, my nightmares, and my inability to control my grief. I felt unsafe because I lost trust in the universe, in God, and in my own faith.
The feeling of safety only just came back a few weeks ago when I met someone who allowed me to feel everything that I was feeling without judgment, without trying to fix it, and without uttering the words, “Meg just don’t think about that.” Nick was buried alive, and that is everyone’s worst fear. Having to live with that, and the nightmare he must have experienced made me feel so unsafe and so terrified. Having someone who can hold space for me and who knows very well what Nick went through, brings me a sense of peace and with that a sense of safety. You know who you are, and I thank you.
Next on the list of needs. Love and belonging. How do you feel a sense of belonging when your entire world collapses? I am a 30-year-old unwedded widow. Where in the fuck does that type of woman belong? Friendship? Sure I still have friends who love me and who will be there for me no matter what and they have proven this time and time again, but I still feel envious and hurt when I see their lives progressing when mine has completely fallen a part.
Intimacy? Well, there is a fun thing to think about when the love of your life, which you planned to spend the rest of your life with, has died. How do you even think about being with another man when the man you love is dead but is still the man you love. Is it okay to find someone else attractive or am I cheating on my dead lover?
Family. Well, family is crucial. They don’t have to be blood but without family, I have no idea how anyone would get through this type of journey and come out on top. My family is my life line, and as I have already said, I would have been dead if it weren’t for them. I am serious when I say this, by the way; I would have been dead, because I would have killed myself. This is real and should not be overlooked when you know someone who is grieving.
What’s next Maslow? Esteem. Self-esteem is something that dwindles real quick after you lose your person. My hygiene was no longer important, shaving my legs was no longer a priority (not that it ever really was), and as long as I didn’t leave my house without pants on, I was having a pretty good fucking day.
I am only just starting to get my self-esteem back. I went from being a bride to be, to a single unwedded widow. How in the fuck did this happen? Lindsay and Greg, does this mean we have to go through my wardrobe again because no man will ever love the comfortable, hat wearing, potty mouth, stubborn, bull headed woman that I am? Nick loved every part of who I was, and he was the only person on this planet who let me be exactly who I was and still kissed my forehead every night and every morning and told me that he loved me. When he died, my self-esteem disappeared, not to mention I went through a period of extreme depression, alcoholism, and uncontrollable crying outbursts in the middle of public places and I could no longer control my thoughts. When you feel like a hot mess, your self-esteem takes a pretty big ass kicking.
The final need is self-actualization. Well, sort of, there is more, but I am not going to get into that today. Self-actualization is by far the hardest need for me to talk about at this stage of the game.
Over the last six months, I have gotten to know myself in a way that many people don’t ever get to experience. As horribly confusing as this sounds, I feel lucky. I now know, with out doubt, I am capable of surviving anything.
I have had to dig deep so many times in the last six months and remind myself why I am still here. I have been completely honest about my thoughts of suicide, and I will continue to be honest because it is a very real thing. I had to tell myself so many times that there are things that are still important enough to live for. I had to dig deep. I had to acknowledge those things that I am grateful for, and I had to remind myself of it daily so that I could fight my demons.
PLEASE DON’T WAIT. Please don’t wait until tragedy erupts and you find yourself at the bottom of a bottle trying to figure out why you shouldn’t kill yourself. Dig deep now. Dig deep today and remind yourself what you are grateful for. What is it that sparks joy in your life? Whatever it is, hold on to it. Hold on to it so tight. When you feel like life is heavy, take a moment, cry it out, and then tell yourself this; nothing is permanent. You can do this. You got this, and as long as you have air, food, water, safety, love, a healthy self-esteem, and a true understanding of yourself, you will survive, and everything will be okay.
I have survived six months without my sweet Nick. I still cry every day, I miss him everyday, and I wish everyday that this would never have happened, but I have survived and I am truly amazed.
I am skipping ahead a little bit, but the August 20th quote on my calendar from Nick says as follows:
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely” -Auguste Rodin.
This experience is not one I had planned and not one I ever thought in a million years I would have to endure, but I promise you, I will live, and I will learn and Nick’s death will not destroy me. Nicks death will strengthen me and one day I will understand the reason and I will say thank you.
I love you my sweet Nick with all of my heart and six months later not a day goes by that I don’t miss your face, your touch, and your beautiful soul. xoxoxoxo
Raw and real. Telling it like it is, the nitty-gritty, and not holding anything back. You have my respect, my appreciation, and my thanks for sharing your journey.