Everyone returned to their normal routines today… Everyone except Ian and I. We don’t really know what our new normal is. In ways, today was truly the first day of the rest of our lives without you. I felt your absence a lot today thinking about what our usual Mondays used to entail… me, struggling to get up, watching you get dressed for work, make the coffee, bag your lunch up and then kissing me before you head in, always way earlier than your work required you. Then I would go on an adventure with our son, decide what to make for dinner, watch Jack and wait anxiously for you to get home… I tried to stay busy today like I used to but I felt your absence with every turn. And then I opened our garage to pick up a few more things with Ian and he goes “Daddy’s car is here…is he home?” My heart shattered all over again. I wanted to say, “I wish…” but decided to try and explain to our boy again that you are physically gone now. It sucks so much honey. I miss watching you two together so much. I miss our lives together so much. Every time I let my mind go to the fact that I won’t see you again for a very long time, I feel an ache in my chest reminding me that half of my soul is still gone. I miss you more than I could possibly say, Nate. Everything. All of you. I miss you. I miss your voice of reason, your comfort, the security I felt knowing you took such good care of us. I miss your humor, your love… All of it. I want you here and I’m so angry you aren’t. I love you and would do just about anything to tell you to your face one more time. I. love. you. Wherever you are, I hope you see and know how much you are missed and loved. I always knew how I felt for you before you passed, but since that day over two weeks ago, it showed me how very deep our love was. If it weren’t for Ian, Nate, I think I probably would want to join you. Living with this constant heartache is overbearing and all-consuming. I need you so badly. But I’ll keep trying and keep going for our son. I promise you. I love you…Forever and always.
I remember writing this journal entry to Nate like it was yesterday. I always tell people that the worst day of my life was when Nate died, and that the second worst day was that Monday after everybody had went home and “went back to normal”. The pure shock of realizing that that normal no longer existed for us was debilitating.
I wrote Nate almost everyday for those first 6 months..He was my sounding board for everything in life, and going from having that everyday to nothing in a matter of minutes, was torture. Writing him made me feel as though maybe he could hear me, or at least feel me, as I poured my heart and soul and pain and sadness onto paper. I will always remember that first entry…As I said when I wrote it…Truly, it felt like the first day of the rest of my life without him.
This journal entry is one moment in long, blurry, line of moments that have made up these past two years.
This is the last picture I took of Nate alive. We had just arrived at the airport and i was shoving my phone in my purse and somehow accidently took this shot. It used to be so hard to look at, but now I can appreciate the beauty of it. My handsome husband after four amazing days together on the west coast…
This is a moment about a month after I signed up to do the Spartan Race in Nates memory alongside his friends and family. I ran and I began working out as an attempt to keep my mind busy and focused on a goal…And it helped. But often times, I would break out in tears in the middle of a run, as my mind would venture to memories with Nate. The pain would come out of nowhere. I remember wanting to take these kinds of pictures because someday I hoped to look back at them at remind myself of how far I have come.
This moment is still surreal…its from January of 2018, when I officially had sold and moved out of the house Nate and I owned and had built our lived together in. In this storage unit is 90% of my life with Nate. The other 10% resides in the spare part of my parents’ basement. I remember taking this picture and being amazed at how 12 years of a life together could almost all fit in 12×12 unit. And then I remember closing and locking it, truly, never wanting to open it again.
Two years. Two freaking years since our world fall apart. Each of these moments almost seem like a dream…Have I really lived two years in this new life?
I think we have all heard that quote about life being made up of moments. As I stood in the emergency room almost two years this month, those moments with Nate like flashed through my mind like scenes being played on one of those old movie reels.
The night we met.
The day he asked me to be his girlfriend.
Our first vacation together.
The night he proposed.
The day we moved in together.
The day we got married.
The day we closed on our house.
The first time I saw him hold Ian.
I saw the small moments too…
Him tucking Ian into bed every night.
Our weekends, cooking next to each other in the kitchen.
Family get togethers.
The laughter. The arguments. The ups. The downs…they all flashed through my mind as I laid my head on his chest begging him to tell me what had happened. How had all those moments lead us up to me saying goodbye to him at 36 years old?
Life happened. Life dealt us a shitty hand, and it’s no one’s fault. Accepting that fact has been one of the biggest challenges of my life.
Somedays two years feels like a lifetime since I woke up as a wife and not a widow. Some days it feels like minutes. But each day I feel myself becoming more of just Marissa, and it’s been a hell of a journey figuring out who exactly she is…But in the same breath, it’s a journey that I have begun to accept and even get excited about. I miss Nate every day. Every. Day. I always will. He is irrevocably a part of me. Of my life. Of my story…And I am so grateful for that. But I finally see my strength. I finally see the beauty of all of the moments and the beauty of all of the possibilities for tomorrow.
Almost thirteen years of moments and memories with Nate, and now almost two years of moments and memories with out him. As I write this blog nearly 2 years since the date I wrote that first journal entry, I can hardly believe the ups and downs we’ve experienced since Nate passed. Life has dragged me down to my lowest of lows and forced me to figure out how to climb my way back up. And I’m still climbing, guys. Probably always will be. But in the same breath, I finally have smiled a genuine smile and laughed a genuine laugh. I have experienced things I once thought I never would want to experience if Nate was gone. I’ve taken trips on my own with Ian. Vacations. Family get togethers. I’ve started back at school and am nearing the end. I’ve felt new emotions and have put myself out there to experience a part of life I never have. I’ve learned to embrace possibilities instead of run from them. I’ve challenged myself and opened myself up to opportunities and to the unknown…And it’s terrifying but I understand the importance now more than ever of living in the moment because you never know which one will flash through your mind when life forces you to your knees. You never know what moment will help determine the person you are and the person you become…and the person you want to be.