People aren’t supposed to die young… I mean, yes, I know it’s possible and it happens every single day but it’s not something that’s supposed to happen to people you know (if you know what I mean)… God has a purpose for all of us whether it’s to be on this earth for a day, a year, 17 years or 97 years. I get that but that doesn’t stop the pain, the tears and the thoughts that we feel here on earth when something like this happens. My plan for this morning was not to start crying and have it continue for most of my morning but I went to a women’s event at church on Saturday that was amazing… Amazing stories all around and then we were given questions… Well, when it came time for me to speak I had no idea what that would stir in me and what may come out of my mouth. I didn’t know it would bring me back to my past and how I’ve been so close to death so many times and I certainly didn’t plan on sharing with everyone that I had lost someone so dear to me at the tender age of 17… My cousin Nik. I’ve been able to tell this story a million times but for some reason, it was different this time. Maybe it was that I had a 17 year girl sitting at my table listening to my story, maybe not. I have no idea but I cried as I relived this story and shared my heart with these women and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since…
Friday was an amazing day… I caught up with an old friend on the phone, took Camden to the park and got a little workout in… I had a date night that night with my husband to the Blazers vs. Lakers game and it was nuts! So much fun and the interaction between the fans, players and refs was so amazing! Arguably one of the greatest games I’ve been to yet which says a lot… Here are a couple of pictures of the park and game…
So like I said, Saturday changed things for me… I am flooded with memories and feeling a HUGE loss of somebody that I loved so much, was a tremendous part of my life and Nik was family and we were always supposed to have each other… We shared dreams, talked about our crushes and what it would be like to get married and have kids and how we’d always have each other and how our kids would grow up together like we had… We were the same age (17) and we spent that whole summer together hanging out everyday talking and hanging out… It was so much fun, until that dreaded August Day… I got a phone call early evening saying to go home right away and that my brother was going to be picking me up… I thought something had happened to one of my grandparents. I’ll never forget this day and the moment that I arrived at Nik’s house. I must spare details as I’d rather not have this personal experience for everyone to read but it was gut wrenching and heart breaking and I had never felt such pain! I was in shock, didn’t know what to do with myself and I sure as heck didn’t know, at 17, how to respond to handle such an excruciatingly painful circumstance. But this was my reality… My cousin, at 17 years old, died of natural causes. What? No car accident, no accident at all, but natural causes? I certainly didn’t know how to process this either and lived for many years worried that this could happen to me too. The end of that month I left Oregon and went back to Utah, to boarding school, for my senior year. I was alone, but I knew I had to go on. I had to live without Nik, and try to make sense out of complete nonsense! Away from family I clenched on to the only thing that could keep me going, my faith in the One true God. I gave my life to Christ that year and it still amazes me to think that there was something good that could come out of such a horrible, disgusting thing. I miss this boy every single day of my life and I still dream about what it would be like if he was still here with us… I dream about the family that he would have had, the kids he would have had and how we’d take family vacations together. I dream of that bond and friendship that would have grown even stronger between us and how he would get along with my husband. I miss hearing his voice and talking to him and asking for advice and just having him around… He was such a funny guy and I just miss him so much! The absence of his presence is definitely felt in our family and our family as a whole has never been the same. :(
They say it is better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all… So true! I had 17 years knowing an amazing person, was blessed by an old soul who didn’t have a mean bone in his body, and because of him and his death, it has helped shape me into who I am today!
I have seen death, witnessed it up close and personal, heard it, smelled it, and there was even a time on 9/11 that I very well could have been on a plane that would have killed me. My body aches today at these horrible thoughts but I know I have a purpose here on this earth. :)
Life is not always what it seems to be and you need you need to live each day as if it could be your last… Because you never know when that day is coming for you, or the ones around you. My last words to Nik were ‘I love you.’ and ‘Goodbye.’ And those were also the last words he spoke to me which brings a smile to my face every time I think of it.
Nik, thank you for being such a BIG part of my life. Words cannot even begin to express what you mean to me. Thank you for your life, the example you were to me, your kind heart and spirt and the encouragement that you always gave to me. I strive to be half the person that you were in your short life and if I could have been the one to lose my life on that dreadful August day I would so that you could be here! I miss you so much and am so happy to have had those 17 years being your cousin, your friend, and your confidant. I will never forget the times we’ve shared and will continue to think about what life would be like with you still here. Your birthday is coming up in one month from today exactly and you would have been 31. I will celebrate you and your life and what you mean to me. I love you and will NEVER forget you! Thank you for being such a huge part of who I am!
There is a song that came out that I listened to that whole summer Nik died… You can listen to it here. It always reminds me of him when I hear it. :)
I just went up to the cemetery and got some beautiful pictures… I stood there and wept as I stared at the mausoleum that he is buried in… So much pain and heartache for me because I still feel such loss. Here are some pictures and the poem which is engraved on his tomb… I love the view from up there and I also love that as I walked away back to my car, it started to hail on me. That is just SOOOO Nik!!! :)
To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me
When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be thankful for our many beautiful years.
I gave to you my love. You can only guess
how much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
but now it’s time I traveled on alone.
So grieve awhile for me, if grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a time that we must part,
so bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near
and if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear
all my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and say-
RIP Nik!!! <3 Always loved, never forgotten.