Almost one year…

Yesterday morning I woke up to my nephew decorating my $6000 piano with Paw Patrol stickers. I realized at that moment that I no longer sweat the small stuff. I wanted to kill him and my parents for being terrible babysitters but at the same time….

It was so damn cute.

Last night I laid in bed for several hours trying to figure out how the hell to turn my brain off. I even tried meditation, and I am telling you, I am terrible at it. I wish somehow I could invent some kind of device that could capture all of my thoughts so I wouldn’t have to sit up every five minutes to write them down in my journal. This no sleep thing is seriously getting old.

It’s interesting because I often try to sit down to type a blog but then my mind wanders so badly I can’t type anything out. I have noticed this since I started taking my anti-depressants. Although it’s a small dose, I have noticed a change in my ability to stay on one thought for a significant period of time. Those close to me have probably noticed this.

This is good in a way I suppose because I can’t fixate on the thoughts that remind me so much of the anniversary date creeping up on us so quickly. It’s a good thing I suppose but also a restricting reality for me as someone who wants to share her thoughts in a constructive and positive way. I am sharing this because I wanted to be honest as to why I haven’t been writing a ton lately.

Last week I turned in my resignation. I turned in my gun officially, my badge (which I will get back in a case), my uniforms, kit, cell phone, key card, warrant card, and basically my entire identity. Shanda and Theresa, you are both gifts from God. I mean that. I know there is no way I would have made it through that day without the two of you. I was in a way numb to the whole day but at the same time relieved and excited that I was finally in control of something. It was an amazing day, and everyone was so supportive. I can’t tell you how important that is.

My S/Sgt Rob made me cry just by looking at me and saying the words “you suck.” There is a connection I will always have with him as he stood by my side just hours after Nick died and provided me with support that no one else could. His knowledge relating to avalanches, and his ability to sit by me with no judgment was appreciated beyond measure and I am so grateful to have had that.

My Sgt Darren finally accepted my future as he tried so hard to make my job as comfortable as possible so I would stay. He sat with me on one of the days that will go down in history as one of the worst and just held me. I was playing Go Rest High on That Mountain on repeat with a pile of Nicks notes surrounding me on the floor. I hadn’t showered, brushed my teeth, and probably looked like a pile of shit; but it didn’t matter. He bore witness.

These two supervisors deserve a medal. I would not be in the head space I am now if it weren’t for their constant support. There are others that I plan to write about as well, but today we will stick to those who were not only my supervisors but also my life lines. Thank you.

As it get’s closer to February 20th I find myself reflecting on that day more and more and remembering bits and pieces of it. Some pieces are so sharp and so painful, but other parts make my heart full. I am going to spend the next few blogs leading up to the 20th sharing some of the most amazing moments I experienced during the early days of my grief and my new normal.

So stay tuned 😉

I spent last weekend in Saskatchewan. I went to Dierks Bentley for the fourth time with my sister cousin Melissa and her/my friend Erica. We had a blast. Dierks was once again phenomenal. I honestly cant even describe how good he is live. He is so humble, genuine, and talented and I will most definitely see him again. I missed Nick, but I have a feeling he was with us.

Melissa and I were walking through the mall in Saskatoon the next day and while walking through the Bay I was caught off guard. I noticed a mannequin.

Yup that’s right a mannequin.

This mannequin looked just like Nick. His body anyway. It was even wearing the same shirt Nick wore to the gym. I just kept staring at it. Melissa looked at me and said, “are you okay?” I wasn’t. It was one of those moments that take over you. This is when the crazy comes out in the widow. I said to Melissa, “I just want to hug it. Should we take a picture?” Of course Melissa didn’t think that was crazy at all and was nothing more than on board to take the picture. If anyone wants to know how to treat a widow, you can learn from Melissa. No judgement. We took the picture and it was morbid and ridiculous as fuck but it made us smile like crazy.

While in Saskatchewan my cousin told me I had to meet someone. A gal she knew wanted to see me and had something to give me. I had never met this woman and had no idea she knew who I was. Her name is Eloise, and she lives in Outlook, Sask. My cousin and I stopped by her house, and I am not going to lie, I felt a little awkward. Why would anyone want to meet me? I am just a gal telling her story. Immediately after we arrived, she invited us into her back room. She started to cry. She told me she had been reading my blogs and that I inspired her. She presented me with a necklace with charms inside and went on to tell me what each charm represented.

I was blown away. She had read every single blog and placed charms inside the locket which represented some of the most important parts of my journey. It was beautiful. We cried, we hugged, and we reflected on Nick’s life and what his death taught me.

Thank you, Eloise. You are a beautiful human, and I will remember this gesture forever.

Today I sit in my room, and I am sad. Yet another young man was taken from us as a result of an avalanche. I don’t know him but I know people who did and regardless of his education, knowledge, common practice, or decision making, he is gone. He went out for a day of fun, and now he is gone.

I try to tell myself each time I see a headline like this that I will not let it get to me, but I fail each and everytime. Each and every time I am haunted by the memories of the day Nick was taken from us. It shouldn’t be like this. These people are just trying to have fun, live full, and come home.

I have heard the details relating to this incident, and I will pray for the loved ones. I will pray they can sleep and I will pray they can find comfort knowing that their loved one will be surrounded by those who shared his passion. I will pray that they will get through the sharp-edged reality that they will find themselves in for a long period and I pray they will be okay.

I have become very close to many people who spend each day out in the backcountry, and I am on edge every single day thinking about them until they send me a message or I see they have posted something on Facebook. Most times I don’t even realize I am on edge until I get the notification they are safe and I feel a weight lifted. It’s amazing how you become so accustomed to certain feelings that many will never feel in an entire lifetime.

But I wouldn’t change a thing.

These people are living lives that are remarkable. I admire their passion and their dedication to educating those in the mountains, and I truly believe they have saved lives. I will continue to pray for them each day, and I will continue to pray for those families who allow their loved ones to live free.

Be safe out there everyone. The weather is crazy and Mother Nature, as beautiful as she is, can be one raging bitch.

“Living and dying is not the big issue. The big issue is what you’re going to do with your time while you are here.” – Bill T. Jones-

xoxoxoxo <3


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