October 1st marks the day she died, ten years ago this Fall. Both dates are always hard for me.
She would be 27 today. I scheduled the day off from work for a "mental health" day, and went off on an adventure. Because I love nature and being outside, I figured hiking would be the best way to honor Kellie's birthday. So I packed up the pups, and Damien, and we went to Sunday River.
The drive there, I couldn't stop talking about Kellie. The fact that she'd driven a stick shift car. The way she'd learned to drive in her yard. The fact I don't have a single picture of us together.
We stopped at the first chair lift for a water break. Damien cupped his hands while I poured water into them so the pups could drink. Then we shared the 3 liter bottle (it still was NOT enough water for two people and two pups).
There were bugs everywhere, and the grass was so tall, Baxter frequently disappeared. My knees hurt. My back was tired. Baxter kept rolling in mud puddles. We were all being attacked by bugs. But we kept on.
Sunday River has eight peaks to choose from with many trails to hike up or snowboard down. Last summer, I'd hiked with a friend on one side. Today, I'd decided to hike some of my favorite trails. When I got to the top, I sat on a stationary chair lift and looked out across the scenery in front of me. There was a gondola car directly ahead, and the number on the window nearly knocked the wind out of me.
Kellie's favorite number.
I could have picked any peak to hike up. I could have taken any other trail. But I chose this one. It was like she was waiting for me at the top.
People say that time heals all wounds, but it's a lie. Time numbs wounds, turns scabs into scars. They don't bleed out, but you still see them, feel them, remember how you got them.
I miss Kellie every single day. Some days, like her birthday, or her death day, I miss her more. But it's nice to know that when I get to the top of a mountain, she's missing me, too.