Strength in your heart

This morning I went to my usual morning SoulCycle class with my one of my favorite instructors, Erika, leading the class. I needed some major reflection after the weekend I had and the one thing I love about her classes is she pushes you hard but continues to reaffirm the “digging deep” is for a greater purpose. I like how it’s vague because it leaves room for interpretation because for some it can be to better their fitness, for others to balance themselves out, but for me I needed to hear the encouragement. I was emotionally detached/numb for most the weekend after spreading George’s ashes.

At one point on the bike today she asked us to put our hands on our hearts and take a moment to feel it beating. This is something that’s somewhat mundane at the end of classes, but for some reason today it was a trigger. Tears welled in my eyes as I felt my chest perpetually thump against my hand. Then I remember laying next to George in the hospital beds, watching tv and listening to his heart drum against my ear. Because of the IVs, I had to lay on his left side so I didn’t pull them out on accident or interfere with the nurses coming in to hook him up. Often times we would fall asleep holding each other and the metronome of his heart would be my white noise.

His heart wasn’t as strong though. If it was, he’d still be here and I wouldn’t have this blog. After class I couldn’t stop thinking about my heart and what I’ve done. Having George die is easily the hardest thing I’ll have to go through in my life. He gave me confidence and brought me so much happiness, and without him I lost both those things. So I had to learn how to do it myself and during the process I was introduced to SoulCycle, which certainly helped get the ball rolling. With this “new chapter,” I’m doing what brings me happiness and trying to better myself. I’m trying to strengthen myself physically and emotionally. I’m a work in progress.

After I spread George’s ashes, I was so defeated and sad. I reached out to my friend, Larry, who works as a personal trainer at Definitions and he said he would make a workout for me. With workouts it allows me to become disassociated from what lingers on in my mind on a daily basis and forces me to live in the here and now. Whatever the task is at hand, whether it’s lifting a heavy object and putting it down or swinging a weight, I have to be focused on it and what I’m doing. Cause if I’m not, I’d get hurt. It’s become imperative that I squeeze a workout in everyday.

I knew scattering the ashes was going to be hard, so I asked him to break me with a workout. And he did. It was long and brutal, and I’m still sore from it. Many times through it I thought I couldn’t do it because it was so tough and my muscles were screaming with hot pain, but he didn’t let me give up. He told me to get it done cause the other option of not doing it wasn’t acceptable. So I pushed through. And afterwards I was looking up at him as he was helping me stretch out and he asked if I liked it. I started crying. He broke me, but not in a bad way; I felt good. He also bought me a tropical smoothie afterwards, which ratified his status of the best personal trainer in NYC. Notorized and approved on 7/3/2014.

There’s a sense of accomplishment to overcome what you think would and could destroy you. When I have bad days, my brain can go into dark places. But sometimes I just need to feel my heart and remember there’s something greater out there waiting for me. I just have to find my way out of the grief maze.


About J.

Fitness professional, fitness & nutrition writer, widowed at 28. Writing about getting through grief through self-care, physical activity, and the ​constant feeling of being uncomfortable.
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