Now, last time I blogged, I told you about losing two family members within 3 weeks of each other. That experience made me think about how I processed their deaths. I don’t think I got the chance to fully process for long enough.
After hiking out from Tehachapi, I decided to call my then husband while I was hiking, because I unexpectedly had service. Nick had been sick, so I didn’t think much of it when the voice that answered my phone call didn’t sound right. Turns out it was my best friend Ethan, who informed me that Nick was in the hospital getting an MRI done because he had chest pains. All Icould think of is Nick had a cardiac event at 24 years old, and he wouldn’t be out of his MRI scan for another hour or two.
I told Ethan to give my love to him and I told Ethan how grateful I was to have him in my life because I knew he would take good care of Nick while I could not. 2-3 days hiking forward or backwards faced me, so I chose forward. No service for three entire days.
This was the hardest time emotionally, in 2019. I became frantic, uncontrollably sobbing while I hiked, exhausting myself mentally and physically. I pushed myself harder, hoping to do a lot more miles than previously. Yet with the racing of my mind and the continual crying of all the water you’re drinking through the Mojave desert, I quickly ran out of steam. I slowed down in my daily mileage and was very out of it by camp (at like 4-5pm).
I contemplated Nick and I’s relationship and how we got married so young, I felt like I was a bad wife for not being there when he was possibly dying. How could I be selfishly going along my journey while he, who was so good and supportive of me, was suffering without me? I couldn’t even talk to him before this, so, as my brain was running low on hope by the evening of the second day, I was wondering if he was dead.
I was trying to wrap my head around what I would do about everything; the house, the cats, and his family. The young love of my life, leaving me to go through a life that I didn’t understand too early.
When I got to Kelso Road, I had gotten service, and the dings of notifications from my phone had never brought me such relief! I immediately called Nick, his voice made me fall to my knees on the trail and more tears began. He was alright!! The days of worry and mourning his possible death were for nothing. He had a bacterial infection and it had started to attack his heart, so it was a good thing he had gone to the ER!!
He told me all about how they put a needle from his arm to his heart. The guilt built in me but he assured me that his brother had flown out to take care of him, for he was on bed rest for the most part for a few weeks as they watched to see how he responded to the medication. He told me he loved me and that I should finish my hike to the best of abilities. He was proud of me and wanted me to see me succeed since he was being taken care of.
So I did.
I continued for months.
I couldn’t believe how much he wanted my dream to come through even if he didn’t get to be with me. Sometimes I still feel guilty. Although, we have just now signed for our divorce. We have come to realize that what we want from each other isn’t completely being fulfilled by one another. We remain amicable and friends, both knowing that our relationship has changed, but it is not over.
I felt like I had already processed his death when going through all the emotions at varied intensities. It was so strange to face that disconnect twice. The death of our marriage, the second time.
In death, comes new life. New chapters can be intimidating, but we must move forward. We don’t have a choice. So move with purpose into the unknown and continue to be grateful for the opportunity to live.
Until next time,