Three Young Children Lose Mother
Megan was one of the most welcoming people I've ever had the pleasure of calling a friend. As president of a local mother's group, she had the ability to make each and every person she met feel cared for and included. The impact she had on our community can not be overstated. She pulled us together and kept us there with honest stories, creative family activities, and fun DIY craft ideas.
Our local mothering group is hoping to raise funds immediately to help cover funeral costs; anything left over will go towards care for the children. All money will go to the family, minus the percentage taken automatically by GoFundMe.
Thank you for reading this far, and I hope you will be able to help through this most heartbreaking time.
A Message from Jeff Nicholson, Megan's husband:
As many of you may have heard by now, my dear wife Megan Nicholson passed away yesterday afternoon. We had been visiting her family in Henderson, Nevada for the holiday weekend. Our niece, Chloe, continued a tradition of staying with us for a few weeks out of the summer, so we decided to drive her back to Yuma with us yesterday. Because our Equinox only seats five people, Megan's father decided to let us borrow his Explorer for the time so we could drive the kids around.
We were about ten miles west of Parker, Arizona on a state highway with two lanes and few places to pass. I was driving the vehicle at the bottom of a small hill and noticed a dark-colored sedan in my lane driving right toward us. This vehicle was apparently passing another vehicle in his lane across the double yellow lines, from what I can remember. My only option was to quickly swerve the vehicle onto the gravel shoulder to avoid a collision, but I wasn't able to stop the Explorer from fishtailing. It swerved back and forth, and the next thing I knew, we were flipping upside down multiple times, and glass and metal was crashing around us. When we came to a stop with the vehicle on its side, my kids were crying and screaming in the back, and I looked over at my dear wife, who was already gone. I don't remember exiting the vehicle, I just remember that the next thing I was doing was desperately trying to lift the vehicle by myself on to its wheels to get my kids out. Many passersby stopped and assisted me until we were able to lift the wreckage of the Explorer up enough onto a dirt berm on the shoulder of the road so the rescuers could pull the kids from the wreckage. My dear wife laid beside me. I couldn't see her face. She always had thick brown hair that covered everything.
The kids and I were all taken to the hospital in Parker to get checked out. After some time and some treatment of minor cuts and bruises, a gentleman from the California Highway Patrol arrived and informed me of the news that I already knew. My wife had passed on. One of the worst moments of my life so far was having to inform my 4-year-old son Joel that his mommy was with Heavenly Father now. He desperately wanted to see his mommy right then but didn't understand or want to understand why he couldn't. So much tears between us.
Yesterday was the worst day I've ever had. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. It was just a bad day. But I'm grateful that my kids are with me and without injury. My sweet, courageous niece, that wonderful little girl who supported me through this whole thing when I couldn't keep up... I'm so grateful she was there to help me and my kids. She's the bravest kid I know.
And I'm grateful that I'm here. I know I'm a good dad. My kids have me now, and we'll be each other's lives from now on.
We're at home in Yuma now. Megan's parents and her brother picked us up at the hospital and took us to our home. Megan's sister, her boyfriend, and their young son flew and drove from Utah to be with us as soon as possible. My aunt and uncle visited for awhile to ensure we were okay and that our needs were being met from what we could tell. Friends and family have been informed. We're working on funeral arrangements. We're working on getting the things we need to continue on. Our dear friends set up a fundraising account to help us pay for funeral expenses, medical bills, vet bills (yes, our sweet dog Anabelle made it through with a broken leg), and other things that we need. The fundraising account is: http://www.gofundme.com/OurFriendMegan
If anyone feels the need to reach out to me or my family, please do so. I probably won't immediately respond, but I want everyone to know that I love them, and I want to talk when I am able to. I want to remain an open book, and though I'm a complete mess right now, I feel the need to continue to keep myself and my kids connected with the world so that we may heal ourselves in due time.
I miss Megan so much. It's heartbreaking to me that my kids will hardly remember her when they grow up. But it'll get better. I'm not okay right now. But I will be. Thank you, everyone.
Megan's memorial service has been scheduled. The details follow. Thank you for your continued support of the Nicholsons.
Saturday July 23, 2016
11AM-12PM ("viewing"/ family gathering; for family and close friends)
12PM-1:30PM (memorial service, talks from family and friends about Megan)
"Viewing" and memorial service located at Whitney Ranch LDS church (where Megan and I were married): 1551 Galleria Drive, Henderson, NV 89014
Burial located at Palm Boulder Highway Mortuary and Cemetery: 800 S Boulder Highway, Henderson, NV 89015
After services and burial, late lunch will be provided back at the Whitney Ranch church.
I would like to continue sharing Jeff's updates every few days. Starting next week, I will share weekly updates. Thank you again for all the love and support you have shared with this beautiful family. (I have edited out full names of friends and family to respect their privacy.)
Day 5: I had some moments today in which I felt guilty. Guilty that maybe the dark sedan wasn't really that far from hitting us. Guilty that maybe I swerved far too severely which caused the fishtail and roll over. But my dear, sweet, motherly aunt Cynthia reminded me that I did everything I could. It was a bad situation with no good solutions, and the adversary wants me to feel bad about myself. I did all I could. I need to be gentle with myself and let those who have the authority to try to bring the driver passed illegally and caused our accident and Megan's death to justice. I'll take things slowly and look to my kids for peace when I get shocking feelings.
I received plenty of these peaceful moments today. When it cooled down, Bri, Russell, and I took their kids and my kids to a park and just let them run around and be themselves. It was wonderful to just see them alive and playing like regular kids. I'm so grateful for them and those moments. #100happydays
Day 6: I had been feeling some frustrations today over everything, and the kids were being a little bananas at bed time, but I got the opportunity to speak to a good friend on the phone about an hour ago. He hadn't heard anything, so I laid everything out the best I could over a phone conversation. It felt great to just open up after not really talking about things for over a day. Good friends who will just listen when you need to talk are the best.
Regarding the events of the day, we took the kiddos to a splash pad and then to Megan's grandparents house for dinner. Like always, our kids have been the bright spot in my day. Their innocence and want for little adventures keeps me going. #100happydays
Day 7: It's been a week today since Megan passed. As I've reflected on that throughout the day, an intelligent friend of mine reminded me that it's okay to feel weak. A lot of great friends and family have told me how strong I am, and though I agree that I am, I have plenty of weak moments in which I've broken down. And it's alright to feel that way. My good friend reaffirmed that to me when I read his message today, and it was one of the things I needed to hear. I need to cry. I need to grieve. I need to feel sad. I just have to.
Two great moments today. Watching our kids (and I should be saying "our," not "my," they're still Megan's kids no matter what) do their "Harry Potter magic" as suggested by their Aunt Bri. Great entertainment for them and the opportunity for me to be grateful that I still have our sweet little kids hear to be able to live their lives like this.
The other moment was seeing my dear friends Jan and Stefanie here in Henderson. They found out about Megan last weekend while on a camping trip in Utah with no cell service. We were all blessed enough to be able to meet for a little bit as they travelled back to Yuma. Man, I love them and their kids. I keep saying this, but in times like this, it's so great to see comforting, friendly faces. #100happydays
Day 3: First of all, I want everyone to know I've received a lot of questions about the funeral services timeline for Megan. We've elected to have a memorial and putting her to rest in the same day. That being said, we're dealing with the awesome California coroner bureaucracy and all the things they have to do before she can be released to the mortuary in Henderson. I've been told that this may take a solid week, but I will try to press the San Bernardino county coroner tomorrow. So there's all that information for everyone who wants to know. Stay tuned in the mean time. My sister-in-law Bri Solorzano and I will work on telling everyone Megan and I know about the time and place once we know.
So now that's out of the way... We made it to Henderson safely. We took a different route to get here that only added about ten minutes to the normal route I had taken in the past. Megan's dad was kind enough to drive in my stead the entire way. Megan's friend Alyssa Kathryn and her husband reached out to me and offered to bring over pizza for dinner. Of course, the answer is always yes. I was just delighted to have a house full of giggling kids and excited conversations. I haven't smiled that much in some time. And then, of course, my kids show off their goofball senses of humor.
Man, I really miss Megan. I know I can't do this alone, at least not now. But I'm taking it one day at a time, and I'm considering every piece of wisdom, scriptures, and advice that friends have said to me. I take great comfort especially in those who have been widowed and have spoken to me about their trials. It makes me feel less alone in many ways. #100happydays
Day 4: I have these sort of panic attacks at times. It happens when I feel like I'm overwhelmed by everything that I'm working on. But I take comfort in leaning on friends and family. I have to remind myself that it's okay to ask for help when I need it. I stop what I'm doing, breathe in, breathe out, and start over. It's comforting.
The event of the day was taking the kids over to Megan's uncle and aunt's so the kids could swim. I stayed inside and tended to Gavin, and I got a good photo of him (per request) with his cousins. I hope Megan is looking down on him and is proud of how he's continuing to be nurtured and cared for by his family. #100happydays
The first full day after Megan's passing, Jeff chose to start at Day One on a #100happydays challenge on Facebook. With his permission, I would like to share his first two posts with you.
Words cannot express how much gratitude and love my kids and I have felt today. My dear friends and family have called, texted, emailed, and stopped by our house at all hours today. If you haven't heard a reply from me, I'm sorry I haven't gotten to you yet, it's just been so much love from everyone. I've read each and every comment you've all left for us, and I can't begin to tell you all how grateful I am about the money you've left us to take care of these costs that we have coming up.
Though I have challenges moving forward, I feel like I've made a few small steps toward moving on. I have no idea how long it will take.
Our kids are wonderful. I love them so much. They've been the source of my laughter and tears of joy today. I'm so grateful that they are still with me. It might seem like a burden being a widowed father, but the truth is that I couldn't do this life thing without them. They're my three little blessings.
As I said before, if anyone feels the need to reach out to me, do so. If you want to stop by my house or give me a quick call or whatever, I want to see you. If you question if we need something, well, I don't really know what we need. We've been given food, diapers, formula for Gavin, and many other things so far. I guess, if you're wondering about any of this, the answer is yes.
I love you all. I can only imagine that my sweet Megan is looking down upon me, my kids, her family, and her friends with tears of joy and immense gladness in her heart. You have all honored her in so many ways. Thank you.
Day 2: We had several more friends and family over at the house today. Megan's friend Kim came by and talked to me for some time about everything. I felt strengthened by her words. She said that I appeared to be thinking clearly and showing strength with how I'm handling this. I honestly don't think I am most of the time. It's funny how things catch me off guard. For example, we had the TV on and a promo came on for the Olympics. Megan had been saying for weeks about how she was looking forward to the Olympics, especially the swimming competition. It really got to me. So yeah, I guess I am showing strength (I'm writing these words), but the healing will take time. And I'm prepared to be patient for that. My family and I will get through this.
Tomorrow is a significant step. We are traveling to Henderson, Nevada so I can work out paperwork and logistics with a mortuary to put my dear wife to rest. I'll announce her funeral time, date, and location to every single person she and I know. And since I'm sure many of you may be wondering, I will never be driving on California State Route 62 ever again. We're taking a different route to my love's home town.
I'm really grateful for Megan's family (which is really my family, too) with their strengths, their words, their support, and their emotions that they've shared with me and the kids. I'm grateful for the support from friends and the ability to allow healing from their kind words and support. I'm grateful for the donations that everyone has given (including from complete strangers). My kids and I will pull through because of everyone we know.
My words can't say it any better. My kids and I love you all, and we're so, so grateful. I've been telling everyone I speak to that if you're wondering if we need something, if you should reach out to me, the answer is always yes. I don't want to be prideful and turn down help or contact because my little babies are counting on me to succeed. The answer is always yes. #100happydays