A few days before Nick died, he was joking about how he could easily scare Carly from heaven. I made the comment that if he tries to reach out to me, it would have to be a really big gesture, I don’t get subtlety. I really don’t. Other than the message he left me in Florida, I have only sporadically felt his presence, although the memories and the feelings associated with them are very present. However, the last two weeks have been very, very interesting, although maybe only to me. But what the heck, I’ll share with you, anyway…
It all started two weeks ago when I got a message from one of Nick’s closest friends, Kelli (she is the one pressed against the glass on the left). She recently got engaged and asked me if I would be ok with her selection of January 17th as her wedding date (Nick’s birthday). Ok? It’s perfect!
Then, I got an email from Jennifer Olbrish – she and her adorable daughter Preslie, received Nick’s Courage award last year in Dallas. We gave Preslie a stuffed Buzz Lightyear and told her it was Nick’s favorite superhero. We saw them again last month in Dallas. but she was still super shy. Here’s what Jen said: “I wanted to tell you Preslie picked out a Buzz Lightyear ornament for her tree last weekend. I have a little pink tree I have put up in her room since she was a baby. She changes out the ornaments each year with things she likes. She buys ornaments on vacation to remember trips and special moments, or princesses to replace the Elmo’s…. I love that she picked Buzz out this year and she asked some questions on her own about Nick. “Mom I want to get this one for Nick!” and “Mom, did he and dad go to heaven at the same time?” Just wanted to let you know we’ll be thinking of you all this Christmas.” (Preslie is on the right)
The next day, I got a package from Dana Farber (hospital in Boston where Nick worked with a couple of doctors). They had contacted me a month ago asking for pictures to include in their video they were going to show at a honorary fundraiser (they we’re including pictures of all their patients). I emailed them a few. In the package, I found this picture of Nick in a cool frame.
THEN… the weekend before last was our church education “feast week” and Lee was one of the speakers, of course. After his first presentation, this cute little lady came up to me. Her name is Kathleen and she used to be the stake Relief Society president. She touches my arm as she says, “I haven’t ever met you, but I’ve loved you for years.” Huh. Well, thank you, I say. Then she went on to explain she supervised a topiary project with the young women back in 2007; they had made 3 arrangements and the girls wanted all 3 to go up to Nick at the hospital. She told them, “Well, let’s try to spread the joy – there are so many others that need your lovely gifts, too.” The girls told her, “But Nick’s mom needs one, too.” (Ok, that one made me cry.) She still encouraged the girls to select 2 other recipients and as she is telling me this, tears are rolling down her cheeks, too, and she finishes by saying to me, “I’m so sorry I didn’t send it to you, too.” I told her that I was always supported by so many people that love me and that Nick really was the one that needed the surprise gift – it was the day before he got his feeding tube when he weighed 125 pounds, he couldn’t speak or swallow and was so, so, so, so sick. I remember it like it was yesterday, heartache included.
At this same meeting, another woman came up to me and said, “I was watching some various tv programs yesterday when all of a sudden, here is Nick on the screen! I ended up watching the entire program, it was beautiful!” The program is “Turning Point” – a mini-documentary on First Descents.
Here’s another… Erik Ahlswede – I just wrote all about him in my prior posting. His Ironman race was last weekend and he raised over $10,000 for Wacky… ON HIS OWN merit!
And another… I ran into one of Nick’s close friends (Kyler is right of Nick) at the grocery story on Monday. He gave me a big hug and asked for another camo NWR wristband as his is almost worn through. I was so touched that he (another close friend, Kory – far left) have been wearing it all this time.
Last Sunday, I had a long, personal conversation with one of our FD camp “kids” – I just needed to be a kind ear for her. She is facing some enormous challenges and had I not have had my own experiences with Nick, I wouldn’t have known how to just listen. I honestly felt like he was sitting on the couch beside me listening, too.
Last week, I got a phone call from a woman in Chicago who is honoring her dear friend (who passed away from cancer a few months ago) at an event hosted by her office. She said her friend’s favorite charity is Wacky and wanted to know more so she could promote us at her event. Note – Lee, Nick nor I had never met her friend (Lee coaches her friend’s husband).
Kelsey doesn’t say much about her feelings for Nick, but when I was browsing Instagram, she had posted this picture and comment a couple of days ago: “I play for my brother. In honor and memory of an amazing guy. Miss you, Nicholas.”
And finally, yesterday at church, I ran into one of our neighbors. She reached into her purse and said, “Oh, here – I have something for you…” and handed me a card and then we went off on our own paths. I assumed it was an invitation for a holiday something or other. I read it (during services, mind you), and the tears brimmed while I read her words. She wrote about her favorite Nick memories, and there were several. She is our friend that coordinated the decoration of our entire neighborhood for Nick’s funeral and has joined us on several Wacky events. I made Lee read the card right then, too, so I wouldn’t be the only bawl baby in church.
Nick did good. He’s making grand gestures and I get it! I really do.