Cliff jumping. Taking a ride with him on his streetbike (an element of our first date by the way). Trusting the Universe. Scaling a mountain face to an abandoned mine shaft a day long hike into the alpine. Standing up for myself no matter what. Hiking to hidden hot springs in the middle of nowhere. Living life on my terms. Tenting it in the winter. Skinny dipping. Pursing my passions fiercely. Polar plunges in to the wintery river. Birthing our children. Quitting jobs where I wasn’t valued. Sledding in chest deep snow in the alpine. Drifting his old stick shift pick up down a logging road. Going to therapy. Hiking to camp on a mountain top with nothing but what was in our backpacks. A few of these things may sound wild or reckless to you, but to me they are all ways that my husband helped me to be adventurous and how he gently encouraged me to become the courageous woman writing this today. No one believes in me more than my husband. And yes I used the present tense, because he still walks with me, still believes in me, and he still makes me courageous today, you’ll see.
The beginning of this month marked one year since my beloved husband crossed over into spirit. I was so scared, and torn and an internally anxious wreck (though that is not necessarily what it looked like from the outside) trying to decide how I was going to spend this awful day. How could I honour him? How could I even survive it? How would he want me to spend it? And then it occurred to me, he would want me to be just as courageous as he showed me how to be. So, I packed up our two tiny children and left town for a cabin in the woods. Just us, the clothes and food I packed, and no cell reception. We brought his favourite meals, and went to his favourite place – an almost entirely hidden lake tucked away in the Canadian Monashee mountains. A place that is a several hour drive and even a ferry boat away.
So we hopped in the car, the morning of the dreaded anniversary, and drove, a picture of my husband in the passenger seat as my co-pilot. Now, we live in Canada, and we were traveling in to the northern Kootenays, so conditions had great potential to be challenging, but the Universe graced us with a gorgeous sunny drive and relatively few bumps (or rather ice patches) in the road. When we arrived at the cabin the sun was at the very beginning of setting behind the snow capped alpine mountains (yes the photo above is real, unedited and doesn’t do it justice), and the perfect lake was pristinely covered in smooth and untouched ice and snow. Now normally a hike down the long, narrow and winding snowy trail to an icy lake is not something I would volunteer to do, especially packing an infant and toddler, but just when I had decided against it, my husband whispered in my ear “do it for me.” So I did. And let me tell you, when you just focus on putting one foot in front of the other, its not so bad. When we got to the lake the sun was glowing and cascading over the pristine view and more than ever before I understand why he lived his physical life this way, because the setting Kootenay sun pouring over our cold, tired and grieving faces gave me life, and a new woman was born.
I’ve spent the last year deep in the throes of earth shattering grief. I’ve been in hiding, sitting in the wildly impossible and transformative power of grief, trying to piece whats left of my shattered heart back together and somehow I forgot that he taught me how to be adventurous. I will always grieve my husband, endlessly, but I vowed to him on that day that I will stand in the healing warmth of the life giving sun with him and grieve bravely. I will allow my everlasting love and grief for him to restore me, and I will walk bravely and courageously, with his hand in mine, through all of the adventures of life, until we are together in the same form one day. I’ll do it for him, my adventurous mountain loving man who makes me courageous.