It’s been 12 days since Kappel’s motorcycle accident. These last 2 weeks have been the hardest of my life. There’s so much to feel, so much to process, so much longing and missing, confusion, sorrow, absolute devastation. But there has been comfort too. Sweet, beautiful friends and family have been with me each day, taking care of me, reminding me to eat, making sure I’m comfortable…and really I couldn’t ask for anything more given what I have to go through right now.
I was texting Kappel’s sister, Lily this morning. We’ve been texting each other a lot with updates on how we’re doing. This morning it was about denial and anger. Feeling everything in order, and figuring out what to do next. How to walk through this in a healthy way. It’s really hard. I feel angry, but when I play that out, I’m not actually angry…I’m sad. I feel cheated, but when I play that out, I don’t actually feel cheated…I’m just really sad. It always ends up at the same place. I’m sad.
Pictures have been really hard for me. When I look at them, I break down sobbing and it’s like I’ve awakened this earth shattering longing to have him here. Crying it out for a few seconds feels right, but beyond that it feels like I’m just torturing myself. So I made a Kappel box that I’ve been filling with those things. It’s hidden in a closet and it’s easy to avoid.
With all of this…the process, feelings, crying, exhaustion, stomach aches, moments of peace, laughter, shock…I’m constantly brought back to this place of contentment where I know I’m on a path now that many others have walked and survived. I have to walk this path. I can be dragged, kicking and screaming, or I can stand up and move.
I shared a line from one of my favorite movies with Lily. It’s from Elizabethtown. Kirsten Dunst says it to Orlando Bloom when she finds out he’s grieving the sudden loss of his father. She says, “We are intrepid. We carry on.” Like…it’s just what we do. Whether we choose to handle it poorly or not. We carry on. So if I can grieve well, feel it all and keep walking…that’s what I want to do.
I spoke at Kappel’s memorial service this past Monday, and I wanted to share what I wrote with you here.
Kappel was my best friend, my partner in work and adventure, a challenge and inspiration to me every day I knew him, and the love of my life.
Being here right now and having the honor to talk to so many people who loved him, as the person who spent every day of the last year and a half with him, is kind of a huge task. But at the same time, I get to do something I dreamed of doing every day I had him next to me…to let everyone know the raging beauty of what God was doing with us, what He was doing in Kappel’s heart, and how it changed my life.
The first thing I noticed about Kappel was his sweet spirit and his soft heart. I felt it the night we met, before we’d spoken two words to each other. We had just sat down for a business meeting at Pinewood Social and all I could think about was how strange it was to feel so fiercely protective and amazed by someone I literally knew nothing about.
It was like God gave me eyes to see his true, pure self before I had a chance to experience him on my own.
Over the next month, we had a few more “meetings”, and found out we had both just been through divorce and had absolutely no filter about our respective commitment-phobias. It wasn’t best foot forward. There was a lot of vulnerability up front about the wounds and confusion we were carrying.
We fell hard pretty quickly at that point, and after a little while, the ugly stuff started to surface. He expected me to run for the hills when I saw it, but I just couldn’t. When he allowed me to see the mess, it made me grateful. I wasn’t looking forward to how hard it was probably going to be, but I was excited about the fact that he was letting me see it, and continuing to come back. It made me feel like I had this incredible opportunity to prove to him how DEEPLY loved he was.
I found myself in the middle of the hardest and deepest relationship I’d ever been in. It changed us both. It showed me such a vivid and real picture of what God’s heart really is for us.
Relationship wasn’t just about romance and fun and creating. The person deep down in each of us, the one that loved perfectly, and served, and sacrificed, and radiated beauty and life…the one that we hoped and dreamed was real, but doubted our whole lives because of our hurts and mistakes and failures…that one was actually called out and SEEN in each other. The goal of relationship was suddenly to be more ourselves each day. To be the ones we were created to be. To speak it out loud and reflect it back to each other. The ugly things were simply proof that our eyes were half closed. The act of putting our depths on the table in front of each other brought true intimacy that I’ve never known with another person, and a desire to love like I’ve never loved before.
My relationship with Kappel put a fire in my heart not to quit on the person God calls me to be, and never to quit on the person God calls the one I love to be. His heart for us is that kind of beautiful. He wants us to have the clearest picture of how He sees us and how He loves us. Relationship was designed to give us glimpses and tastes of what that true love is.
I believe that right now, besides the fact that this is a story we longed to tell together…and with all my heart I wish we could have told it together…the only thing that’s different is that he is with the Father Himself. And there isn’t a doubt in his mind anymore about true and perfect love. He’s not just tasting it anymore. And I will be grateful for the rest of my life that I got to walk through the last year and a half by his side.
I wanted to read this quote that Kappel recently wrote and shared on Instagram.
“Everyone is going on “adventures” these days. Webster defines adventure as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity”. I crave to be in the wilderness very often. Entertaining fantasies about “escaping” from normal life, challenging myself against nature, and letting discomfort become comfortable, have become more and more frequent. But then I realized…in a season of growing, in an intensely emotional way, I have mistaken my wilderness. I have focused on the easy adventure. Is learning to be in deep relationship with others possibly the greatest adventure of them all? Is it possibly the deepest, most uncharted wilderness still available? The wilderness of knowing and being known. The adventure of beating your heart for another to see. Grizzly bears can’t kill you there (you’re in luck, Leo). But you can be left emotionally open. Bare. Vulnerable. And potentially acquire a wound deeper than any wilderness adventure could produce.
Or, on the other hand, the discomfort becomes comfortable. The pain heals. The thought of entering the grizzly of emotion, the freezing temperatures of vulnerability, or the bee sting of emotional pain and healing becomes a welcomed challenge for the warmth of fur it produces when conquered.
I dunno. Just sayin.”
I love you, Kappel. I actually love you.