If you would have told me four years ago I'd be where I am now in my life, I wouldn't believe it. Mainly because four years ago, I remember thinking to myself that life couldn't possibly get any better. That I was living the life of my own choosing, racing my bike, in an amazing relationship and living life to the fullest. Ryan and I had the relationship most people dream of - respect, honesty, humor, and passion.
And then the worse possible thing that could happen did. Ryan died in a tragic climbing accident.
Shock, disbelief, sadness, anger. My identity was gone. I didn't know who I was on my own. I started a journey with no clear rules, no direction. Riddled with pain and loss, I had to figure out who I was, on my own.
It never crossed my mind that I would love again. Or that I could be loved again in that way. I experienced some serious lows. There were days when I cried straight through. Days where I didn't want to leave my house. Days I questioned the meaning of life. And months of big hippo tears and sadness. Outwardly I appeared to be holding it together. Inwardly I was crushed.
I spent days searching for some sort of relief. Someway to make time whiz by. I started taking bigger risks, wondering why I was left behind to endure the pain and gut wrenching experience of healing. But I knew the minute I asked that of myself, that there was a reason I was the one left behind. Why I was the one experiencing great loss.
I want to share my story so others who are feeling pain know that there is hope. That life can get better then you can imagine. And there's so much beauty to have known love, true love, than to not know it at all.
Time slowly passed. The year of firsts extremely difficult. Conversations had, relationships nurtured, other lost - all experienced while I was head to toe numb. It took a while to defrost from the deep freeze of grief. I had to feel those lows, to feel hollow and dreadful. Slowly but surely, I started healing. I started to see buds of a new understanding coming to life. They were fleeting at first, but gave me such hope.
And then I stumbled upon the greatest gift of all. The gift of living in the now. The one that values and concentrates on the present. The past is done, the future unknown. All we really have is the now. Good things started happening. Really, really good things. I started laughing more, I started seeing more beauty and love. My heart and soul opened up ready for anything the universe might throw my way.
I started traveling the world, quit biting my fingernails, and met Benjamin. All of those things, all of those adventures and experiences started a momentum in my life. That just when something wonderful would happen, things that I thought were only dreams started to come true, more dreams started to come true. I no longer questioned why things were happening, but I embraced them. I appreciated them and lived them. And more doors started opening. If your heart is open, truly open, anything and everything is possible.
This September marks four years since Ryan's death. And it feels like it's been a lifetime since then. To have gained so much strength, wisdom and knowledge of who I am and how to live has been the biggest gift of all. Thank you time, for showing me that your slow passage does heal all and that living in each moment is the ultimate gift. And thank you Ryan for showing me love and bringing Benjamin into my life.