Copyright Nik Bonkoski 2019

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I took my tears to the trail.

June 14, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

643 days. 

 

643 days ago my world blew to pieces. 

 

643 days ago I became a widow, a solo parent, lost, and broken all in one day. 

 

643 days ago I started the journey to finding out the truth of who I really am, of what I am truly capable of, of what matters to me in my life and what doesn't. 

 

643 days ago the man that I relied on for almost everything in my life: friendship, love, comfort, stability, adventure...............643 days ago he died. 

 

643 days ago I had to sit on the porch I am sitting on right now on the couch I sat on that day while a very kind medical examiner told me that my husband had shot himself in the heart. He handed me his wallet. A wallet I still have. A wallet that had the pictures of our wedding, of me, and of our children missing from it. The wallet is packed away. The wallet makes me want to scream. Where are the pictures? I'm guessing my best friend had them out to look at before he took his life. I'm guessing they got disposed of just like the clothes he was wearing that day (old blue jeans I had just bought him at the thrift store, his old Red Wing Shoe t-shirt that he got from my Dad, and the tennis shoes he had for over 10 years that had holes in the sides.......even though just two weeks before he did something he never did...he bought himself a brand new pair of tennis shoes all on his own......I donated those shoes when he died), and part of my heart. Part of my heart got thrown into the universe....never to return. It's a small piece but I'll never get it back and I don't think I would want to. It's the space that he took up for all those years. It belongs to him. It holds our stories. It holds our love. 

 

643 days ago my heart lit on fire. I spent days going into my basement to scream. This makes tears roll down my cheeks right now to bring up those memories. Am I crying because it still hurts like hell or am I crying because I feel so much sadness for that woman who had to hide away in her cold basement all alone screaming and crying like a little child. I spent hours on that cold basement floor. My cheek pressed against the cold concrete. His old clothes in piles on the floor around me. I would retreat to that basement to yell and scream and wail. I would retreat to that basement to smell his clothes. To try to bag up his clothes. To wear his shirts and scream out to him...."Why the hell did you do this? Why? I miss you! Come back home please!" 

 

643 days ago I started on a long, hard, and painful journey of finding out what my insides are made of. I have found out that I am resilient. I have found out that I am strong but yet I am also very, very fragile. I have found out that I am one damn good mother. I have found out that my self-love burns bright and strong. If it didn't? I wouldn't be where I am today. Where am I today? I'm sitting on that couch....on that porch that I sat on 643 days ago when that gentle soul of a man medical examiner told me that my husband was never coming home. He held my hand. We both looked around the porch at all of the children's toys and looked back at each other. 

 

Over the past 643 days I have fallen and gotten back up thousands of times. Millions of times. That's the thing about grief.....It's not 5 stages that you go through and you're done. It's healing this and then healing that. It's thinking you're healed and being knocked back down by sadness. Do I have all the answers? No. Each person's grief is individual to them and the person that died. 

 

How have I gotten through the past 643 days? How have I started to not only survive but thrive and love my life again? 

 

Self-love. Self-Compassion. Learning. Reading. Connecting to like-minded souls. Believing in myself and my own worthiness. Taking action to heal my heart through yoga, nature, QNRT therapy, and personal boundaries. 

 

I believe I still have a purpose. I have work to do here on earth before my soul is set free. I choose to love myself on the days I feel down, depressed, and darkness comes. And I choose to love myself on the days that I am filled with joy, ideas, inspirations, and happiness. I now know that life is both even if you don't have grief in your heart. Life is dark and light. Both are teaching you something. Both are important. Both will bring you to the truth of who you are. 

 

643 days ago I met myself. A self I had never met in all my life. I wish this suffering never happened to her or her children, but I love her. I love her with all my heart and I'm going to help her not only survive but thrive. I'm going to allow her to move forward and have big dreams. 

 

And that basement? I don't go down there to scream anymore. Where do I go to let out the pain when it feels like it's too much? I put on my hiking boots and I hit the trails. I go to nature to be healed. I put my bare feet to her dirt, let her wind play with my undone hair, and let my toes touch the cold rocks in her rivers.  And you know what? It's working. It's saved me from what broke me.......it's saving me and healing me from what tore me down..........643 days ago. 

 

 

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