Yesterday we went to the crash site for the unveiling of the memorial for Riley. A picnic beach to sit on and a headstone.
We drove up from Dunedin, it’s a nice drive, the hills roll by, the sheep in the paddocks, the ocean in the distance. I could see why he loved that drive. Arriving at the layby I could see the little white cross sticking up from the side of the road. We turned into the rest area (extra carefully). Walked down a little path to where everyone was gathered. It was right in front of the beach, the seat facing the ocean with the plaque with his face resting behind the bench. It was a stunning area really, the group consisted of a bunch of Riley’s and my friends, his family and a multitude of dogs. He would have loved being there. Running around with the children and the animals. Having a BBQ and taking pictures. It was very uplifting and I felt a lot of closure afterwards. This was the second last big step for me. (The very last being the estate closing in March. Which I am dreading and counting down the days till) I went home feeling only slightly distraught. (A nice change for me)
All in all it went a lot better than last time….
Visiting the Crash site. October 15th
For me, this was the biggest thing. This was top of the no-no list. But I also knew it would help to go there, see it for myself, and sit next to the little white cross his sister had put up.
The accident site was about an hour away from Dunedin. A place called Shag point (lololol Riley laughed at that name too) It was named after the whole shag bird thing.
It was about 7am. Exactly 2 months after the accident. My friend picked me up bright and early, we got copious amounts of snacks and hit the road. It was a hard journey. Amelia helped a lot with it talking about normal day to day life stuff. As we drew close my heart closed up a little, my throat dried I was so nervous. I hadn’t been that nervous since I told Riley I loved him for the first time. (Don’t panic, that went really well it turns out) Amelia and I joked about looking for cars as we pulled into the layby. Dark humour is my forte now. I got out of the car, knees weak, arms are heavy (There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti) I walked over to the road. And it washed over me. The anger, the disdain, the loneliness. I looked at the road, it was straight, it was well looked after, there was absolutely nothing wrong with this road. 10/10 would road again. And it took a hold of me. This feeling of despair. There was no reason for this accident, there was no excuse Mr Ma had. It honestly baffles my mind. I then went over to the little cross “Riley Paul Baker 1990 – 2016”
So little words and yet it had the most powerful effect on me. I sat down and I cried. Cars driving past on the motorway on one side and the sound and smell of the beach on the other. He would have loved it. It was the perfect spot for him. There were the birds singing, the sound of the ocean, the smell of the sea and on the other side the roar of the motorbikes, the smell of petrol, the adventure of the open road. I’m sure he would have appreciated the spot a whole lot more if he was alive but really it was a good spot for him.
Now I don’t know if this is how anyone else feels but I know that when I am faced with “talking to Riley” it’s really hard. Sitting in the hospital, looking at the cross, saying good bye at the funeral home” All things that I couldn’t get the words together. Now when I’m home alone curled up on the floor I can talk to him for hours but get me to a place that that is “Significant” and I can’t think of anything.
So instead of talking I listened. They say that sometimes you can feel when someone is with you. Well it didn’t happen to me. I didn’t feel Riley around me. Honestly it was the opposite, I have never felt so alone.
After a little while, it got too much. As a lot of things do these days. So I picked myself of the grass, damp bum and all and got back in the car.
Visiting the crash site was not a big spiritual occasion for me but I did it and that’s all that matters for now. If you have the chance, the energy and the strength I would strongly suggest going to where your partner passed away. It may not be a big spiritual thing but you can tell yourself you were strong enough, you were able to go to the last place they were alive. You can see what they saw, you can see if you feel them around you. Some people swear they can feel their loved ones around them. Everything is worth trying if you think it is going to help.