I have been a skier since I was 11 years old. I would eagerly save my paper route money and head straight to the hill to hang with friends. I switched to snowboarding when I was 18 and was an avid rider until we lost Marley.
Naturally, things that once brought pleasure were unattractive. I lacked the motivation to get all geared up and head to the mountain. I wasn’t sure I could even be a snowboarder again.
For the last 4 years I have gone up a handful of cranky, unexciting and unfilling times, and even called out to my family that “I am done with the sport altogether”.
Fast forward to this season, a season filled with the skiing accomplishments of our 11 year old boy. I suddenly felt like I was really missing out and decided to reinvent my relationship with the mountain and the sport, and ultimately with life’s enjoyments. I realized in December that seeing our boy enjoy himself and succeed at a sport he loves was too important to miss.
Once up there and strapped in I remembered that THIS was a part of me, a part that didn’t have to also die in the crash that killed Marley. A part that could very much BE brought back to life, enhance my connection with my son and husband and allow me to create meaningful memories with the ones I love most.
Additionally, cold air and sweeping views ease the broken heart no matter what…
My son and I have spent a few days, just the two of us, adventuring to his favorite jumps and celebrating his risks and rewards. We laughed and had fun. Both things that seemed out of reach for so long, and still sometimes do.
The real flip, though, is how grief is never more than a story, a breath or heartbeat away.
While riding the chairlift with my husband he was lovingly sharing how our youngest daughter has brought our family so much love and hope.
My grief-mind started to wander and I was hit with the grief-wave.
It came so fast and was so disorienting that I struggled to offload from the chair and needed help (real help, like my husband had to grab me). He screamed “are you okay? What is happening??” I burst into tears and sat atop the mountain thinking of Marley and knowing I am always separated by the thinnest veil from the deepest grief.
The experience was real, unavoidable and is the nature of the relationship I/we have with her now.
I don’t wish those times away, I am grateful for the experience the last 4 years has given me in that I have a relationship with the wave and disorientation…I know what to do with the wave and I know it will soften.
Remembering that I liked to dig in the dirt after abandoning my yard for 4 years is similar to relearning the joys of skiing or really anything. Learning to walk with this new version of myself is challenging and scary and not fair…but, alas, this is me and I am more than my grief.
Marley is more than my grief, she is my inspiration, (one of) my deepest loves and my beloved child.