Grief can be a difficult thing to manage when you’re dealing with the trauma of losing a loved one to an accident. You feel like your life has been shattered and nothing can ever be the same again. But, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to find resilience in the face of tragedy. Through therapy, determination, and a lot of hard work, I have been able to slowly start to piece together the broken pieces of my life and learn how to cope with the trauma.

The Tragic Event That Changed My Life Forever

My fiancé Brent and I found a hobby that we loved to do together, and that was riding our motorcycles. We loved going on long sunrise and sunset cruises around the valley of St. George, UT. After putting about 10,000 miles on our bikes in 6 months, my fiancé wanted to do a long road trip to my hometown in Northern California.  I was hesitant about going because I knew once we got up into the mountains it would be cold, especially in October, but we decided to go anyway. The 15-hour road trip on our motorcycles was filled with so much beauty, and despite the cold, it was fun.When we were ready to go home, we decided we wanted to leave early in the morning so that we could make the trip all in one day and get home sooner before starting work the next day, Monday. We were about 3 hours away from home. I remember it getting dark, and Brent asked me if we should pull over and spend the night in the small town we were riding through. I was extremely exhausted and just wanted to sleep in my own bed, so we agreed that we would ride the next 3 hours to make it home that night.

As the sun was setting, the colors were absolutely beautiful; it almost felt like we were riding in a little piece of heaven. Over our headsets, on our helmets, we spoke about how beautiful it was. At that moment, everything just felt right in the world.  As dark approached we began our ride on extraterrestrial highway in Nevada. As we got to the end of the 98-mile stretch of state highway out of nowhere, it was as if someone had dropped a massive black cow right in the middle of the road. If I had been riding just a centimeter to my left, I would have hit it. Unfortunately, Brent didn’t have enough time to maneuver his bike.  He collided at full force directly into this unexpected road block.  I ran down the road in the pitch-black darkness looking for him amidst the debris of a shattered motorcycle. When I finally found him on the side of the road and knelt beside him, I did everything I could to wake him up. I couldn’t feel a pulse. Calling 911 only reminded me of how alone I really was as I then realized I didn’t even have cell service. The next town was about 30 miles away. So I just held him, calling for help, even though I knew no one could hear me.

This tragic event changed my life forever. Little did I know that in an instant, everything would be turned upside down. It was a night filled with shock, despair, and overwhelming grief. I felt like I would never recover.

Dealing with the Initial Shock and Grief

The initial shock and grief that I experienced after losing my fiancé was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It was as if the ground beneath me had disappeared, and I was left free falling into a world of darkness and despair. The weight of my grief was suffocating, and I found myself drowning in a sea of sadness and confusion. During this time, I felt a deep sense of emptiness, loss, and feeling alone. It seemed as if every moment of the day was consumed by thoughts of what could have been, what should have been. I felt trapped in a cycle of sorrow and disbelief, unable to comprehend the reality of what had happened. 

It was during this period that I realized I needed help. I reached out to a therapist who specialized in trauma therapy, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Through EMDR and Lifespan Integration therapy, I was able to slowly process my grief and navigate the complex emotions that came with it. My therapist provided a safe space for me to express my feelings and guided me in finding healthy coping mechanisms. Although the initial shock and grief never fully disappeared, therapy gave me the tools to navigate through it. It allowed me to begin the healing process and find moments of respite from the overwhelming sadness. It also helped me understand that it was okay to feel a range of emotions, including anger, guilt, and even moments of happiness.

Learning to Cope with the New Normal

Right after you lose a loved one, you have friends and family who are there to support and help you. But life moves on, and people have to go back to work and take care of their families. That’s when everything starts to feel very lonely. I reached a point where all I wanted was to escape the guilt and pain and be free from it all. I remember reaching that dark place that I never thought I would be in, but the people who loved me and Brent, looking down on me, made me keep fighting and moving forward. It was a challenging and overwhelming process, and even now, out of nowhere, waves of grief and guilt still crash over me. But amidst the turmoil, there is a glimmer of hope that life can continue, even in the absence of your loved one. While navigating and coping with this new life, I learned that it’s important to give yourself time and space to heal. Acknowledge that there will be difficult days filled with sadness and longing, but also allow yourself to experience moments of joy and growth. By embracing new connections, we open ourselves up to the possibility of renewed life and a greater sense of purpose.

I never expected to be in such a wonderful place in my life. I am lucky to have an incredible husband who loves me and am expecting my first child in the next few months. My aim in writing this blog is to provide comfort and hope to those who have faced or are going through a difficult situation. Life may appear bleak and dire now, but you can eventually rise from it, as I did.