"What's your story?..." 🏁 On Any Sundays
"No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself"
Who should we email our story to if we want to share part of it? I’ve become more and more obsessed with GFDD over the last couple years and some of you wallpapers have become little mantras in some of my more recent adventures. I’d love to discuss and dish. <3
PS: Because I know you’re dying to know. Some of my personal GFDD favorites include, “Let Go For Dear Life”, “Fast is a Feeling.” and “Chase your Fears”.
My story does not belong to just me.
Sometimes we define who we are based on the role we have played in someone else’s life and how their stories have affected our current narrative.
So far, I’ve been the cousin of a soccer player who died from a TBI, the best friend of a young woman who died by suicide, the caretaker for my 27yo husband going through cancer treatment and now, I am Kyle’s widow.
I’ve put this pressure on myself to continue Kyle’s story as a sort of “co-author”- the Samwise to his Frodo. I’ve literally continued writing in his journal where he left off- the pages outnumbered his days. His story feels unfinished so I work to keep it going. But in the meantime, I’ve struggled to draft my own. Or maybe this is my own? The lines are so blurry.
I wonder how many of my unwritten chapters should be focused on memorializing Kyle. I find myself trying to pursue things he was passionate about— trying to adopt his old hobbies like mountain biking and reading or mirror his sense of humor when interacting with friends. I’ve attempted to assume his opinions and I take them into account when figuring out where to move.
Kyle never had these expectations of me, I’ve done it to myself.
Actually, he seemed to get excited daydreaming about all of the ways I could spend my time as a “strong, independent woman not restricted by these shitty circumstances.” (His words, not mine.)
Days before he died, Kyle asked me to spread his ashes along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, a dirt-path bicycle route that goes from Canada to Mexico. I wasn’t a cyclist— I didn’t even have a bike. How do you fix a flat? But after two years of drowning in the brutal realities of caring for a cancer patient, how hard could it be to ride a bike?
Kyle died in January of 2020, and that August I started mile 1 of 2,700 across the country. I was alone with my bike and my husband’s ashes—I had to be content in the silence, self-soothe when I was scared, plan each day on my own and problem-solve when my plans fell apart. As a woman riding alone for eight weeks, of course there were many close-calls: a man trying to get me in his van, getting ground-current from a lightning strike, being rerouted due to forest fires. “Kyle wouldn’t want you to be in danger,” I often heard as a gentle way to encourage me to consider stopping. But I didn’t.
Kyle knew what he was signing me up for. He knew I could handle the chaos, he just wanted me to know it too. He asked me to ride solo so the journey would be mine. For the first time I felt like “Jerrika honoring Kyle” instead of “Kyle’s Widow.” My husband’s story doesn’t have to make up the plot of my own, but damn does it make for some good character development.
That first mile wasn’t just the beginning of a long bike ride.
It was the beginning of MY story, thanks to Kyle.
So yeah, my story does not belong to just me.
But that is okay.