Death steals so many joys from life. It’s like looking at your future from a strange new vantage point and wondering what you did to deserve the death of the one you loved, and the death of the future you had planned. Death steals life, promise, and hope.
My life before October 2009 was beyond blessed. I traveled the world with my job and my family often came along. We white water rafted the Grand Canyon….twice. We sailed the Caribbean and hiked every mountain we could find. Adventure was the norm and the future promised to be just as exciting and just as beautiful. Then it all changed in the blink of an eye. I lost my best friend, my children lost their father, and I lost the future I had planned for over 15 years. Loss like that is breathtaking, excruciating, and exhausting.
I remember the first few days after he passed being the longest days of my life. Contemplating what would come next, feeling like I would never travel, never explore, never DARE to live life that fully ever again. How could I go forward when half of me was dead? Then I remember having some quiet reflective moments just shortly after everyone started to head home and back to their normal lives. I remember a small flame that stoked someplace deep within my soul…a burning to not only survive, but to live every dream, every adventure, every moment as fully as we both wanted. The flame grew over the next few days and then the next time I had some quiet moments I pulled out a paper and started to write….our list. I wrote down every dream he had, every wish we shared, and every opportunity we wanted to take. The list was long, creative, scary, and awesome. By the time I finished the list, my small flame had grown into a smoldering fire that has been propelling my life forward ever since.
This special list became our combined bucket list, and in that moment I vowed to tackle the list in his honor each year for the remainder of my life. The list is special to me…not because of where it takes me, but because of what it gives me; hope, a passion for life, honor for a man who loved life in the fullest way possible. The list is my living legacy to Mitch and my gift to our children.
To date the list has included a half and full marathon, a hike down to Havasupi Falls, skydiving, and summiting some amazing peaks. The future list will take me swimming with sharks, hiking the Canadian Rockies, swimming the Blue Hole and many, many more trips of a lifetime.
This year, the trip will take me to the Na Pali Coast of Kauai for an 11 mile trek through some of the most beautiful shoreline in the world. This hike was a dream of his, and I am excited to live it in his honor, and especially on the date of his death. These adventures are called “TEAM MITCH”, and in the coming years it is my dream to bring these and many more adventures alive for other grieving individuals to help spread Mitch’s love of life and adventure!!
Mitch is gone but I have chosen to live. That is his legacy, and my gift to our children.
Live, laugh, love….life is waiting!!