2016. What a year to say the least. I am sure many of you reading this are glad it’s over, and to be honest, as the new year was approaching, I thought that was my view on it too. However, the more I have been thinking about 2016, the more my perspective is changing.
I went into 2016 believing it was going to be the best year yet. Nick and I were going to get married, I was going to have a successful surgery, and we were going to try our best to get pregnant. It was going to be amazing, and we were so excited.
2016 will always be the year that Nick died. It will always be the year on the right-hand side of the dash under his name, and it will always be the year that my heart shattered. Nevertheless, 2016 will also forever be the year that I began my journey down a road to a more abundant, authentic, and meaningful life.
As much as I wanted to throw all of 2016 into a bonfire and light it up with dynamite, a part of me felt it was important I recognize the accomplishments and blessings of 2016.
I went from planning a wedding to a funeral, and I had to notify people of Nick’s death while at the same time letting them know they could disregard the wedding invite that was on it’s way in the mail. I had to go from picking out a suit for Nick for our big day to just over a week later picking out an outfit for him to wear in his casket. One minute I was kissing his beautiful warm face to kissing his lifeless, cold, makeup covered shell. I will never forget the moment I placed my head on his chest while he lay there in his casket and the first thing I thought of was the t.v show Homeland. Nick and I were obsessed with that show, and when we would watch it, I would always have my head on his chest. His heart would beat so fast from the intensity of it.
As I placed my head on his chest that final time I noticed immediately, there was no heart beat. Of course, there wasn’t, he was dead. Nick wasn’t in there; it was just his body. I realized at that moment just how strong humans were capable of being. I hugged him and kissed him and told him I would love him for the rest of my life and I promised him I would be okay.
I knew that Nick and I would some day be parted by death but I never imagined it would be this soon and I never imagined seeing his body so young and so lifeless.
That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I did it and having seen him like that reminded me just how short life is. We might not all make it to 95.
2016 was filled with debilitating pain, disappointment, disbelief, and very difficult decisions, but through out all of that, I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of surviving. It hasn’t been easy, and it has taken the help of a lot of people to get me to where I am now, and to say to hell with 2016 would be like I am saying I don’t recognize how incredibly important this year has been in the development of my new normal. My new life. My new chapter.
“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.” – Marianne Williamson-
I read this quote a while back, and it resonated with me because this is exactly how I wanted to approach Nick’s death. I never wanted it to be the end of me; I thought at one point it was going to be, but I never wanted it to.
I never thought I would laugh again and I have laughed. I never thought I would be excited about life again, and I have been excited, and I never thought I would love again, but I am loving. I am loving harder and deeper than I ever thought was possible. The feeling of love is amplified when you know just how badly your heart can hurt. You appreciate those feelings and emotions when at one point you never thought you would feel them again.
2016 was a year of devastation, but it was also a year of devotion.
I lost Nick, but I also gained so much. I built new friendships, new experiences, new knowledge, and a new outlook and appreciation of life. I was a part of some of the most intense and life-changing conversations in 2016, and I experienced moments that many people will never get to experience. Moments where I realized how truly lucky, I am to have the people I have in my life. I knew this before but not to the level I do now. I know now that I can hit rock bottom and have no desire to keep going and when that happens, those around me will swoop in and pick my ass up and with no judgement. This realization is with out a doubt one of the most beautiful things that came out of 2016.
In 2016 I learned that I am more than just a job. I am more than a police officer; I am more than a University Degree, and I am more than status and material things. I also knew all of this before, but this year I let go of it all. For some reason, I was holding on to it for I was fearful of change. In 2016 I acquired the courage to take my life back and design it in a way that works for me and for my soul. It’s not going to be traditional or comfortable for a while, and it may never be again, but I can assure you it will be meaningful.
In 2016 I realized maybe I was meant to do more. Maybe I wasn’t meant to live forever in one place in a “forever home.” Maybe I was never meant to have children, and maybe my life purpose is beyond anything I could have ever created for myself, without some sort of massive disruption. Like Nick’s death. Maybe this is all exactly how it’s meant to be and if that’s the case;
I am going to do this right.
There will always be a “before Nick died,” and an “after Nick died” and both of these era’s ended and began in 2016.
My relationship with you begins today. I want to promise you that no matter who you place in my path this year, I will love them. I will be kind, real, and genuine to all those who I encounter. I promise to take any experience you set in front of me and learn from it. I promise to try my hardest to live in the moment and not worry to much about what is to come, because I know whatever it is, will be out of my control anyway, and worrying will only take away from the NOW. I promise to be gentle on myself and only do what is true to my soul, and I will no longer settle for what is comfortable. I promise to have fun, make memories, and cherish every moment I have, and I promise that no matter what you have in store for me…..
I WILL SURVIVE.
So long 2016. So long to the year that everything changed.