I don’t always talk about that day …and this is my first time writing about it. I didn’t feel like I could be truly authentic and avoid the trauma of that day.
I can be in a room full of people and my mind will still go there. My mind will completely transport to the bewilderment of the faces around me, the way time slowed, I can go back and feel my heart shatter. Sometimes it’s first person – sometimes at bird’s eye.
I’ve heard people say “insert name is living in the past – they need to move on.” Nobody has ever said that to my face. But I can tell you, that when someone is grieving, that pain is in the present. It’s how they feel right now. The love we feel for our person didn’t die – it lives with us as we move forward. Grief is a form of love and that is the duality of loss.
I won’t share it all. Somethings are just too sacred.
…and there is an ongoing investigation.
I kissed him good-bye amongst the roar of his Camaro engine that morning. The sound was familiar, the mood was not. Like the duality of loss, that morning was filled with love but also stress of our overwhelming schedules catching up to us. It was our wedding anniversary – usually we would sneak away for a couple days but thought our businesses needed our attention more then we needed a getaway. I tapped on the top of the car and told him the day would get better…
I watched as he drove down W. 7th Street. That would be the last time I saw Iggy – had I known, it would have been a better kiss.
By the time I had arrived to work I had an inbox full of what would ultimately be our last exchange. He thanked me, for my patience and loyalty. Iggy died knowing just how much he was loved. I will cherish those text messages for as long as I live.
He was headed back home after a quick meeting at his engineering firm. We had spent the previous 4 years renovating the home my Grandparents built in 1955. I grew up there – and it was the perfect place to raise our future family.
Iggy was shot and killed in front of that home 45 minutes later. No matter where the justice system leads us, I will never fully understand.
After a series of concerning phone calls I wound up on a news website. They had flown a helicopter over our home…photos included.
This moment won’t define me for the rest of my life. It defines what I live for…and that has changed everything.
I can still see the investigators lips move as he told me he was gone. All I could think about was protecting him, but it was too late. I thought if they let me see him he’d come back, I could will him to live. We were a team. I needed to rally and protect the life we built. That moment. The moment I made the decision to fight for us, will be the place I will draw personal strength from in the years to come.
I instinctively knew that this was the beginning of the search for justice. I had no idea what that search coupled with profound grief would do to my heart. The wounds remain open, fresh and accessible.
If you had asked me at any time what I would do if I were to lose Iggy I would have responded with a simple “well, I would die too…”
…but then, to my dismay, I didn’t die. We weren’t going to be one of those couples who died days apart. My broken heart didn’t kill me. I was left to re-build and re-structure while living in a world where the general population doesn’t live.
My soul lives somewhere between universes and somehow I’m left with more to give.
Pain changes you and everything you think you know about yourself.
Maybe you are part of a group of people who ask “Well, he must have done something…” If that’s what you were thinking…I’m not mad. I realize people need to rationalize things they don’t understand, and that’s a very simple way to do it…
So, I’ll just say this. Iggy was not perfect. He made mistakes throughout his time here as we all do. His greatest gift was a flaw. He thought everyone had the same heart as he did. He believed in friendship, family, brotherhood and protecting the people you love. He also believed in forgiveness and second chances.
Now, I’m not quite there yet. But, one day when I know more…I aspire to be.
And this is my journey getting there.