I can still tell you exactly what I was doing when I got the phone call on June 28, 2013. I can still tell you exactly what I was wearing. I can still tell you exactly what I was eating. I can still tell you exactly who called me and what each text said. I can still tell you exactly what time I fell asleep that night. I can still tell you exactly what I dreamed about. Some days, I can still even feel the exact pain that I felt when I got that phone call.
In these past 4 years, I am afraid some days that Nicole’s memory is slipping away from me. I think about her everyday, however some days I am scared that all I can remember is June 28, 2013. In all honesty, some days I am afraid that I will forget about her. For me, the pain does not crash over me as often, but when it does, it tears me apart. I get so angry that I cannot call her on the phone and talk to her. I get so upset that when I go home to McKinney, I have to go visit her grave instead of going to her house. I get so upset when I think about my wedding and having kids and having the reality set in that she will not be there to share in those moments with me.
But then, just when I think that I am about to lose her, she shows up to let me know that she truly has never gone away. She leaves me signs so I know she is still with me.
Tax on breakfast….33 cents.
Order number at Jason’s Deli….33.
Talk on the phone with my mom for…..33 minutes.
Get a text from my dad at……3:33.
Gate at the airport…..D33.
Watching a basketball game and how many points did Steph Curry have……33.
Friend leaves her door cracked and what number is written on the side in pencil….33.
Got in my car this morning and how many miles did I have until E…..33.
Woke up this morning at….6:33.
When I think her memory is fading, I subtly get reminded that she is not really gone. I cling onto any sign I can get, with the hope that Nicole is watching over me, just waiting for me to get it. Matthew 5:4 states “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I have to rest assured that Nicole has been with God these past 4 years in Heaven, and that is something to rejoice over. I have to cling to the hope that God wrapped Nicole up in his arms on June 28, 2013 and carried her peacefully back to her eternal home. That is what I get the most comfort from, knowing that Nicole is with God and away from this broken world. Oh, how I wish she were here with me everyday, but how selfish am I to want to take her away from where she is now.
For now, all I have is her memory. I can still hear her voice. I can still hear her laugh. I remember her smile. I remember how funny she was. I remember how she was always there for me. I miss getting her advice. I miss driving around in the car with her. I miss everything about her. But, I will carry her in my heart until the day we are reunited again.
I miss you so much Nicole.
[I will leave you with this. It is long, but definitely worth the read.]
“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive. In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, bu they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything, and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life. Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out on the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out. Take it from me. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive those too.”