I all of a sudden became obsessed with getting to NV, and then trying to get to CA for Tom's birthday. That was the original plan for this trip but that changed when I moved it up a year with a later start date.
I made my way to 15 S and into Mesquite, NV. I am now officially on Pacific time. I was riding SW at the end of the day, with the temps in the 100's. Topped at 103.4. I did stop and put on my cooling neck wrap, which helped immensely. I will most likely be moving up to the cooling vest for todays ride. At least I will have the sun at my back today. The cross winds along the virgin river were really messing with me, very hard to stay in my lane. I white knuckled my way into town.
Once in my air conditioned room, I open a beer and turn on the TV. Moto-X comes on. I watched and had a nice cry. I am so thankful that Tommy chose me as his mother, I am so thankful that I was able to know him for 25 years, as a mother and as a friend. I miss him like hell. This is the third birthday without him. He loved his birthday, and it was just one day --- unlike his sister, India -- who celebrates the whole month, lol. She IS the princess of July, after all. I loved watching him open his presents, he would get so excited, especially when he was older and he knew exactly what it was.
No musings today, just going to ride --- with my headphones in, going to listen to a playlist that I put together of songs that Tommy listened to. Songs that remind me of being with him. And, of course, I have to listen to Kenny Chesney's "Who'd you be today" but might have to wait until I've finished riding to listen to that one.
As I'm writing this, a message from FB just popped up -- reminding me it is Tom Westerlund's Birthday today.
Would like to share (with permission) something that a young woman I have never met sent me this morning. Her name is Laura Kahn, she lives in California and wrote this on 3/31/14. Thank you, Laura for sharing your writing with me.
"Last summer I received a phone call that I will never forget. My friend Paige and I hadn't spoken in a while, so I was eager to take the call. As soon as I answered the phone she asked me if I was in a safe place. That question alone sent shivers down my spine. Then the words "Tom died" came out of her mouth. From that moment forward my life hasn't been the same.
When I first heard this horrific news I was in complete shock. The room started to spin and my heart was beating out of my chest. I tried to respond to Paige, but no words came out. 'Laura, he was riding his motorcycle and the truck came out of nowhere, it wasn't his fault.' Paige tried to explain. She also said 'He died on impact, he didn't suffer'. My stomach turned inside out. I couldn't comprehend that I would never hear Tom's voice, or see his beautiful face again. I began to question my investment in faith, the Universe, and God. Asking myself countless times a day, 'If there is a God, then why does this happen?' and 'If there is a God, why didn't he stop the truck from hitting Tom?' The more I tried to make sense of it all the angrier I became. Sometimes life isn't fair, and there are no words to explain why these tragedies happen, especially to such incredible people.
As time passed I started to grieve. I talked about the wonderful times we had. He would take me to the beach, no matter how late at night it was, just to spend time together. I went to Tom's memorial to honor his life. He was such a close person to me, and taught me ways of living that I will take with me wherever I go. I met Tom about five years ago through mutual friends. He was someone I instantly connected with. When we first met he kissed me. Within five minutes of talking to each other, I knew he was somebody special. It felt like we had been together from a past lifetime. He introduced me to some amazing artists, including a musician named Ryan Adams. Listening to 'Everybody Knows' and many other songs by him, brought tears to my eyes. He held my hand through really challenging times and I believe he was an angel sent from heaven. I am so appreciative to have had the privilege of knowing him. Tom was so young, and knew that motorcycles were dangerous. But often times many of us say 'That won't happen to me!' unfortunately for Tom it did.
The last stage of ' The Five Stages of Loss' is Acceptance. We are all blessed if we arrive to this emotional state. I finally allowed myself to feel the loss, and then the healing process began. It ultimately created space in my life that I had never experienced before. I was given the opportunity to take a step back, and absorb every new experience with a little more depth and appreciation. Faith came back into my life, and the realization that nothing happens in God's world by mistake. To this day I still ask myself 'What would Tom do?' when I'm confronted with a difficult decision; he guides me through it. I hear him say 'Laura, everything's going to be alright, take it easy.' Tom is always with me, and just because I can't see him doesn't mean he isn't there.
The passing of Tom's life was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I have ever been faced with. But I am incredibly grateful that I was able to overcome the loss. The more pain I allowed myself to walk through, the stronger I became. Tom's tragedy is now a reminder of how precious and short life is. I have continually made an effort to be present in the moment, and appreciate all the gifts and lessons life has to offer. After all, tomorrow is not guaranteed; we only have today."