-a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.-
One thing I have learned is that you cannot let your emotions dictate what you do (or don’t do) in this life.
In the last week, I have experienced emotions that were far from easy but did not stop me from creating new memories.
Last week I went to see Garth Brooks. I have wanted to see Garth Brooks my entire life. I honestly don’t remember a time in my life where Garth Brook’s music wasn’t in it. I grew up listening to country music with my family, and it was a memorable part of my upbringing.
In grade four my friends and I choreographed a dance to “Standing Outside the Fire, ” and in grade twelve our grad class insisted “Friends in Low Places” be our theme song.
When my Aunt died, we had the words from “The Dance” ironed onto t-shirts that we wore to Craven the first year after she passed away. Her face was on the front, and we wore these t-shirts in her honor and to celebrate her passion for country music.
When Nick died, I listened to “If Tomorrow Never Comes” on repeat many many nights that were filled with tears and loneliness.
When I met Scott I couldn’t help but think of the song “Unanswered Prayers, ” and I soon learned that he knew the words to every single Garth Brooks song ever written.
Garth Brooks has been a big part of my life, and I knew that seeing him live was going to be an absolute blast but also a night filled with emotion.
I was terrified.
The whole time leading up to it I was excited but also really sad that Nick wasn’t going to be there. We always wanted to see Garth Brooks live. We had seen everyone else live, but we wanted to see the Legend.
While I stood in the stands and listened to the voice of a country music legend, I took in the sound on an extremely emotional level, and I thought to myself, “I miss Nick, and he should be here.”
In the same moment, I thought, “What an amazing first concert to experience with Scott.”
It was impossible not to recognize that the last time I was at the Saddledome was with Jennie and Nick at the Brad Paisley concert.
When Trisha Yearwood sang “How Do I Live Without You”, Jennie and I had our arms wrapped around one another while we serenaded each other. Pathetic I know but I have had Jennie by my side since I was four years old and I can’t imagine having to go through this life with out her.
I never, in all my years of going to live concerts, experienced a concert to this magnitude. It was unreal, to say the least. You could tell from the looks on everyone’s faces and the intense sound of people cheering that this was not just an inspirational show for me, it was indeed a night that will be cherished by many.
Mr. Garth Brooks, YOU my friend are beyond talented, passionate, and the best entertainer I have ever seen. Thank you.
This past weekend Scott and I went to a wedding in Spruce Grove. I remember the day he showed me the invitation for this wedding. I tried to hold myself together while I picked a sticker off a basket of some kind. I remember trying not to show him my tears because I was embarrassed. I remember thinking he is going to think I am nuts for crying over this. I remember feeling an intense amount of envy and anger that someone else was going to be getting married and I WAS NOT. The first thing I thought was, “I hope they both make it, September is a long way away.”
The next thing I thought was, “I wonder what everyone did with the wedding invites they received from Nick and me?”
I was honest about my fear of attending this wedding. I was honest about the uncertainty I had regarding how I would react to that type of environment. I was honest about the fact that I had regrets waiting so many months to marry Nick and that weddings for me represent wasted time, wasted money, and a misunderstanding of what getting married should really look like.
This is only how “I” feel, and not everyone has to agree.
When we arrived at the wedding, I quickly realized it was very much like the one I had planned. It was an out door ceremony with barn board signs and an indoor reception in a rustic venue. Even some of the decorations were the same, and I couldn’t help but look at the table with the photos of those the bride and groom had lost. Nick and I were going to do the same thing, and I thought, “if I were to get married, would it be weird to have Nick’s photo at my wedding?”.
There was a sign that said, “All because two people fell in love.” My thoughts were, “hmmm in my case it would read, “All because someone died tragically.”
After growing comfortable with the environment, we sat down. Scott gave me the outside seat that conveniently had an easy access path to exit. I knew I would never bail during a ceremony, but having the option to was a relief.
The wedding began, and it was apparent this couple was so in love. I, of course, had tears in my eyes but I always have tears in my eyes at weddings, so it was nothing unusual.
During the vows, I kept thinking about all of the widows I have gotten to know and how many of them said these very vows not knowing that their love story was not going to last “Forever.”
I thought of all those unwedded widows I have met who weren’t blessed with the opportunity to recite those vows, and although they never uttered the words “till death do us part,” they still honored those words to a whole new level when death did, in fact, part them. We didn’t get to vow our love and our unconditional commitment, but we were given the opportunity, through death, to show our undying love and our constant commitment to sharing their memory, to make sure it lives on.
I sat next to Scott while I envisioned a wedding that I never had. I imagined Nick standing up there waiting for me to walk down the isle. I envisioned that beautiful smile on his face and the tears that I think would have rolled down his face when he saw me in my dress for the first time.
The beauty of this was, I didn’t feel guilty. I knew, that Scott knew, that there was no doubt, I was thinking about Nick and he is okay with that. At the same time though, I was thinking about how lucky I am to have someone who is so incredibly understanding to walk with me unconditionally through this grief journey and who I am so blessed to have met.
I admire Scott for his ability to do this, and it should not be overlooked.
The wedding was gorgeous, and although I had a lump in my throat for many parts of it, I had a blast. I had so much fun dancing, mingling, and enjoying the presence of people who were in love. It was a small wedding, and you could tell that those who were invited all had an important role in the couple’s lives. They were each selected with love and appreciation.
We danced the night away, and I went home feeling like I had accomplished yet another first.
Don’t let emotion, or fear of uncertainty keep you from doing anything in your life. There has been so many days, anniversaries, and events that I have been terrified to face and each one of them have proven to be difficult, but also possible to overcome.
I still get anxious thinking of future firsts that I will experience with out Nick, but rather than focusing on my sadness and anxiety, I try my very best to focus on the blessings and the memories I will make.
Nick is gone, and that will always be a hard thing for me to swallow but knowing that I am not alone, and I have people walking alongside me who are compassionate, understanding, and willing to face these firsts with me is something I am so grateful for.
As I have said many times before this, surround yourself with those who understand and allow you to honour your hard times, grief, or whatever it is you are working through, because each time you are able to do this, the closer you will be to healing.
Anniversaries, firsts, and memories will always be hard, but if you face them, you will feel empowered and in control and that is something to be proud of rather than afraid of.
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” – Robert Frost”
Live Fearlessly <3
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