But as I drove through Snowdonia on May 22, 2021, I passed through Betws-y-Coed, the place we spent our first Christmas together in 2005. Familiar sights and memories came flooding back. I passed the bed and breakfast we stayed at, the outdoor shop where I bought my hiking boots, and the lake we stopped at for photos. In the past, these memories would have filled me with sadness. Instead, this time the memories of our life filled my heart with warmth, bringing a smile to my face.
I wanted to honour my partner’s memory with a solo hike up Moel Eilio. The weekend weather for Sunday 23 May was predicted to be wet and windy, so I was determined to remember her on the Saturday instead.
As I left the high street of Llanberis, the hike began on relatively flat ground with a gradual ascent. As I followed stone walls and passed disused quarries, I felt an incredible sense of calmness and peace as I absorbed the open spaces around me. This is why I find hiking outdoors so healing. It's as if the mountains absorb all the emotions that comes with grief, such as sadness and despair, and leaves me with feelings of reverence and freedom from emotional anguish.
My ascent up Moel Eilio was steep, but a steady pace ensured I didn’t get tired. The mountain ranges around me were magnificent, and that familiar sense of lightness and peace filled me. And freedom. I only passed a handful of people on my route up, and when I reached the cairn at 726 metres high, it was just me, the mountains, and my memories.
My partner would have loved this view. We shared so many hiking adventures together in so many different parts of the world. By continuing to do the things we shared together, I feel like I keep the memory of her alive within me, as I learn to live life to the fullest, for both of us.
This blog is published for Road Safety Week 2021 in celebration of the road safety heroes who help us make safe and healthy journeys and support people after road crashes. Click here to find out more and sign up to take part.
Brake volunteer, Hiking leader for the Grief Trail Project for bereaved and injured road crash victims