It’s 1 pm, and I just got out of bed.
When I started writing these blogs back in the “early” days, I had no idea how many people would end up reading them. I am completely blown away by the amount of support I have, and the daily messages I receive from random strangers who are truly thankful for my honesty. So here we go, let me be honest.
When I came back from my trip at the end of October, things changed. I was hit hard in the face with the reality that I had just come home from my “honeymoon” without my husband, but I was hopeful and determined that I would be able to get through it.
I am strong remember.
The snow started falling; holidays were coming, and my sledder friends Facebook feeds were filling up with countdowns, trip plans, and pictures, but where in the hell is Nick? Oh ya, he’s still dead.
Here is the thing. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time, and I made a decision at the beginning to embrace the beauty in this journey and to find a way to make Nick’s death meaningful. This was a crucial part of my healing, and I wanted to learn and know everything. I was told many times just to let it go and stop diving into avalanche safety as it would only prolong my pain, but I knew in my heart this was what I needed to do and it was helping.
I had so many questions.
What was Nick thinking? What was the last thing he said? Why didn’t he deploy his avalanche bag? Why were they there? What discussions did they have? What could this have possibly been like for him?
I needed these questions answered but unfortunately I was getting nothing. I was told right from the beginning; it was a freak accident and Nick shouldn’t have moved from the spot he was sitting.
It was Nick’s fault. That’s a hard thing to hear as the woman left behind but that was all I was given.
As an investigator, it is in my blood to know everything and to find out the truth, and I told myself I wouldn’t stop until I had the story from start to finish. I needed this for my own peace of mind, and so I could have a purpose by sharing and educating. Learning became my fuel, this was what got me out of bed, this was what kept me from killing myself, this was what kept me moving forward.
I wrote in one of my recent blogs about Nick’s avalanche bag and the issues that I learned relating to this bag. Boy, would I have loved to know the trigger pull wasn’t exposed ten months ago? I was told by several people, “well I just didn’t think it was worth telling you because it doesn’t change anything,” or “we thought you knew.”
This information doesn’t change anything but it took me back down into that dark hole that I worked so hard to get out of. I started drinking heavily again, and I couldn’t get the images out of my head of Nick trying to deploy his bag but realizing he couldn’t.
At this point, I realized I needed help. I have been fighting the idea of anti-depressants for four months, and my Doctor has given me three different prescriptions that I refuse to fill, but now; now I am scared.
I have once again lost my appetite, and was drinking myself to sleep. Getting up out of bed has become just as hard as it was ten months ago and I knew it was time I recognize the physiological symptoms I was experiencing. I had a conversation with my friend who just happens to be a doctor and I told her my concerns about my drinking, my lack of appetite, and that my eyes were starting to turn yellow. I even had a friend comment on them a couple of weeks before that which is when I realized; I have a fucking problem.
But I am still strong.
For anyone reading this who has the same reservations about anti-depressants I want to tell you, I am sorry. I am sorry for adding to the stigma of mental health and openly sharing my opinion on anti-depressants in a negative way. However, with that said, I do believe trying other things like exercise, yoga, and other herbal remedies are a great first option, but I am at the point where I can barely get myself out of bed and was becoming dependent on alcohol. I can’t knock anti depressants while at the same time drinking myself to sleep every night. I started a very low dose medication on Monday, and so far I haven’t needed to drink. In fact, I have had no desire to. The other night I was given a glass of wine, and I had maybe four sips.
I didn’t choose to be depressed, I didn’t choose to lose my appetite, and I didn’t choose to depend on alcohol. This is the truth about situational depression, and other types of depression as well, and I promise to continue to be honest about my journey even when I feel embarrassed because I know there are several people who read my blogs as a tool of hope. We are still strong when we ask for help because we are choosing to get better and we are recognizing we can’t do it on our own.
Alcohol is not a better choice than antidepressants and it took me a while to realize that.
So just when I thought I was on track to get my life back in a positive and healthy way I received a call from the Coroner. I was sitting in the bathtub drinking tea feeling relieved about my decision to get help.
The coroner apologized to me that I hadn’t received a copy of the report yet, but wanted me to know that he was just waiting for the video so he could complete it.
EXCUSE ME? WHAT VIDEO?
The coroner paused and said I am so sorry to drop this on you this far down the road. He told me it was his understanding someone was filming during the incident.
Let’s just say this, Mag instantly went into cop mode and wanted to know what the fuck was going on. I will tell you right now there are a lot of people right now who don’t know that I am aware of this video and they are likely finding out from this blog. I can’t bring myself to tell them because I am completely disgusted. I am disgusted that everyone knew about this video including those who love me.
I found out from the fucking coroner in the fucking bath tub.
I eventually learned that Nick was filming the climb that ultimately resulted in his death. I also learned that the video no longer exists because someone else took it upon themselves to delete it.
To say I feel betrayed at this point would be an understatement.
So this particular blog is for both people who suffer depression and for snowmobilers. This blog is about honesty and integrity. This blog is to remind everyone how important it is to be truthful not only to yourself but to others even when you feel shame or embarrassment.
To find out about this video ten months later is a blow that I can’t even put into words. I have basically sat in my house for the last two days trying to figure out how to manage this new information. It brings a whole new perspective on where Nick’s head was at and what his possible thought process was. It also makes me so sad for him. So sad that those who took possession of the video, found it more important to protect themselves, then, to be honest to the person who Nick loved more than anything in this world.
To my family members and friends who knew about the video. I forgive you. I forgive you because this was never a situation you should have had to be in in the first place. It was not your responsibility to tell me about the events of that day. That responsibility rests on those who were involved. I have spent the last ten months trying to be sensitive in the way I share Nick’s story because it wasn’t only him involved but now I have found out that things have been deliberately hidden from me and that makes me so incredibly disappointed.
For the snowmobilers reading this. I wanted to piggyback Trish Drinkle’s article she wrote today.
I am quite certain she wrote it as a result of an extremely emotional conversation she and I had yesterday morning regarding this new information that came to light. Here are some of her questions to herself as a rider about an incident she was involved in:
What if he had died in that avalanche? Would I have explained to his wife the mistakes we had made? Would I explain that all of us knew the situation was potentially unsafe with huge consequences yet we still continued forth? Would I explain that we made poor terrain choices and were unable to bring her husband home alive? Would we sugar coat it and use a phrase like, “at least he died doing what he loved”? Would we be able to face her? Would we embrace her? Would we tell the truth? Would we share this event with others so the same mistakes could perhaps be avoided?
As the widow left behind, I am feeling an insurmountable pain right now. Many people may choose not to know specific details about their family members death, but I am not one of those people, and I have made that very clear right from the start. I am a person who needs detail to heal so I can replace the nightmares and day dreams I have with the truth.
I was not given that. I was betrayed, and so was Nick.
I will leave you with another excerpt from Trish’s article. Please please please take this to heart. If and when you are involved in an avalanche it will not just be about you and your healing. It needs to be about the family, the friends, and the other snowmobilers who can learn from what you were lucky enough to come home from. This is about respecting a sport and a community enough, to be honest even when it is difficult. Please be safe out there everyone.
Be a rider of integrity and truth. While you may feel shame and perhaps ridicule when sharing your poor choices, you can help create a safer and stronger snowmobile community by doing so. -Trish Drinkle-