The anxiety and anticipation of the one year anniversary of Nick’s death was far worse than the actual days. It was hard to breathe on Monday. I felt like wincing most of the day, but I took measures to alleviate the pain.
Even though the actual date of the anniversary is August 13, for all of us, the truly difficult day this week was Monday, the 12th, instead, because it was on Monday, August 13, 2018, that he died.
On that day last year, Nick and I woke up together, had our breakfast, and shared some beautiful morning time together. Later, he kissed me goodbye and left for the office. It was just a regular Monday, nothing special. He didn’t have any appearances scheduled that day and spent it doing admin work and follow-up stuff. We texted our usual silly texts….we talked on the phone to discuss dinner plans. Then, the remainder of the morning, early afternoon was fairly benign.
Around 2p.m., his secretary thought she’d heard a loud “slam” or “thud” in his office. She was on the phone with a clerk, so she didn’t react to the sound right away. Moments later, she knocked and opened his door and saw him lying on the floor behind his desk, slumped over in an awkward position.
He’d suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and couldn’t be resuscitated by CPR, which the E.R. physician claimed was attempted too late. He said that Nick’s death was likely very quick and that he wouldn’t have suffered too long. I guess that detail was supposed to bring us some comfort? Stupid doctors, what the fuck do they know, anyway…..when it comes to delivering such horrible news? I know they do their best, though, and I’m sure it’s not easy giving the worst possible news to people. Still, though….
So, coming back to this painful, dreaded week, it really was not as bad as I thought it would be. Spending the past few days with Nick’s family has helped me so much, hopefully as much as it helped them. His mom and sister and I spent hours together, cooking, laughing, talking, crying. We will forever share a common bond, our love for Nick.
One thing that was hard was facing the stark reality that his mom outlived him. And his sudden death at 56, was way too premature. But we talked about all of it. And we left things in a very peaceful way.
His family announced this week’s get together on FB. As such announcements often do, it garnered a ton of support. Many more people than I had ever imagined showed up on Monday. I recognized many from the funeral and even two of the partners from Nick’s firm showed up.
I got to reconnect with some of my old workmates and the managing director of the firm made me promise to have lunch next week. I have a feeling he wants me to come back because he was pretty transparent in his hints. It’s a nice thought, but how can I go back to the place where I fell in love with him…the place that also took him away from me?
Another thing that was weird to contend with were two women who seemed to want to stir up a little trouble. They were friends and one of them claimed that she’d met Nick just a few months before he died and that she was sad that he’d been taken away from her before she really got to know him.
She asked me whether I’d ever dated Nick and before I could even answer, she just started carrying on and on about how she’d met him and felt a deep, deep connection with him, blah, blah, blah! She said she couldn’t believe that someone so good had to die so soon. She also said she was sad because she really saw a beautiful future with him.
Apparently this girl and her friend had no idea that Nick and I were engaged for four months before he died. =)
I just listened to them politely and let them “grieve.” I know that grief affects people very deeply and I felt so close to him this past week that I didn’t feel even an iota of anger toward that woman. I just felt sorry for her. It seemed so blasé, like a Lifetime movie! Drama at the memorial tribute for a very beloved man.
But let’s get back to today.
I feel so happy and secure to have the understanding and encouragement and total support of his family, who knows all of the details of us. We talked about the engagement party they threw for us last Spring and they expressed some very deep sadness that we never got to exchange our vows. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that we weren’t even planning a wedding. We both felt like it was just a formality and he understood my need for something just barely formal, since I don’t have any real family besides Alex.
All in all, this past week’s tribute was a ritual that will not be repeated. Life is meant to be lived in love and light… not lived in dread of painful dates and anniversaries. I’m looking forward to getting past the darkest parts of my grief and getting back to living. The one thing Nick and I always agreed on was our love of personal freedom and independence. It was important to each of us that we COMPLEMENTED each other’s lives and that we didn’t take away from each other in any way.
Things didn’t always turn out like this ideal, though…I’ll explain later.
Thanks for listening cronies. My heart is still stuck in my throat right now, so I’ll write more tomorrow, maybe.
Wishing you the kind of love that sees you all the way through…