Gaining Weight

As of late, I feel so much has been put on me. I’m as fragile as an egg-shell nowadays. I sit in my car on my way to work crying, and when I’m home, I sit in my car just because I feel it blocks out the world for moments at a time. I’ve chewed my nails to nubs, and the burning in my joints to flee are coming back. Cinder blocks are resting on my shoulders from the moment I wake up and get out of the warm cocoon of bed. I am struggling right now, I feel like so much of what’s going on around me is out of my control.

I’m worried about my job. I’m worried about my team. I’m worried about my online class. I’m worried about failing. I’m worried about letting people down. I don’t think I’m doing a good job.

Every inch of me is telling me to find something to distract the growing vines of desolation burrowing inside of me and digging deeper and deeper. But these feelings are fleeting. I know it will get better but weathering the storm right now seems like an inconvenience. So much has happened in a month between my grandmother dying, moving, never having time off, and then having someone I care deeply for be sent away for nine weeks, I feel like the weight of it all is crushing me. Making it harder to get my legs under me and move step by step.img_6167

I went for a run today. My mind was a vacuum and all my thoughts came and went like a flash. But one thing was apparent as I was running. My lows are extremely low and my highs are to the sky. I need balance and right now but there is no fulcrum.

Tomorrow has to be better.

Revisiting the grief

Once in awhile I wonder what was the purpose of writing this blog. I did it because George and I loved blogging together, we had two food blogs, so I felt it was a way for me to continue a connection with him. But over time, the appeal and shine loses its luster. But recently I revisited those old posts and to know how far I’ve come in this journey is incredible.

I’m trying to organize my thoughts and posts a little bit and try some fluidity with them. But very much like grief, things just happen and there’s no control over them. I look at the old posts and they flip flop between miserable, excited, self-loathing, angry, manic, numb, and just getting by.

New Years is around the corner and I haven’t had a lot of luck with New Years. I think my first New Years after George passed was one of my best ones, just because I was with my friend Lindsay just reflecting on the shit year we had (2013) and how perhaps 2014 would be better. Little Chinese food, wine and One Tree Hill. It was memorable and she’s still one of my best friends and I love her for being there to do nothing with me as the calendar year flipped.

Good friends make suffering better. Always remember that. A strong support system will hold you up, even during the worst storms.

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Second wind

image He’s not coming back. I miss him a lot. And I wish George was here tonight. I want his guidance I want him to rub my belly and tell me everything is okay. That I’ll be fine and tomorrow will be better and the next even better than the last.

My grief is really bad tonight so I decided to hit back to the widow boards to talk about what’s getting me down. I had some really interesting responses and it made me hum and haw. The big question I had is why is this break up impacting me so much and one woman stated it best and I felt it was the champion outlook I’ve been waiting for: “the loneliness sucks. The feeling less than is tempting to believe, but what you’re feeling is that you deserve better treatment and you stood up for yourself…. The consequence to ending a relationship is all the processing your brain does while you move on. The kisses and intimate moments and smiles are pulling on your heart strings because it was a life and it’s over. You and everyone here knows the pain of closing doors. Keep pressing forward. You’ll thank yourself at the end of each day.”

I’m not thanking myself at the end of each day. I rack my brain with hundreds of different endings and none of which are truly achievable. I have Bodie to keep me company, he’s such a good pup. Never questions my loyalties and what I’m doing. Just loves me the way I am.

I miss George. He was so good to me, and I love him so much. And I have all this love to give, but it’s not ever going to be reciprocated. It makes me sad, and it’s brought on this familiar hollowness which is slowing making me drown again. I could barely hold a conversation tonight with my friend. dead eyes and flighty thoughts of why am I back here again?

Shadows chasing shadows

I can feel my grief in my muscles. The aches and tightness in my legs are constant reminders of the sadness that creeps into some of my days. I still find my release in fitness, and I grieve more some days, and on those days my body takes the punishment when my mind wants to run away. I’m feeling anxious tonight. This weekend is the first weekend of many recruiting trips. Recruiting plays a huge role in the success of my job, but I haven’t forgiven myself for spending so many weekends on the road when I should’ve been with George during his final weeks. When I got the phone call that he must go into hospice care, I was at a recruiting tournament in New Jersey. It was a Saturday at 9a and I remember getting to Memorial Sloan Kettering to speak with the social worker about hospice by 11:30a.

I hold on to so much regret.

Tonight I felt the uneasiness of grief creeping in so I laced up my sneakers and went for a night run. I am getting more comfortable about Montgomery and my neighborhood so the night run felt good. My sore muscles started to loosen up as I found my stride, and the grit of the pavement under my feet was a sweet reminder of how good it feels to hurl my body throughout the streets until my mind disappeared. At one point, the street lights shined down perfectly and I was chasing my shadow. The dark carbon copy stretched out in front of me, and I would chase her down until she lengthened and fell behind. And then at the next streetlight, she would creep into the lead and I would chase her again. There’s always going to be shadows from my last life hanging around, and I’ve been good about running away, but if I’m going to move past the shadows, do I have to face it head on?

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New nightmares

Lately Ive been having nightmares. Not the kind where you desperately want to wake up from but the kind where you are so disoriented once you do wake up. They leave me upset and confused, and are really pulling at a string that is in the back of my mind.

Im approaching the 1 year mark, and I really miss George. I’ve always missed him, but as of lately when I wake up from these strange dreams and when I get home from work I just want to see him. I just want to talk to him and tell him everything that’s been going on for the last year. As I write this I can picture the excitement in his eyes and his enthusiasm about my accomplishments. He would tell me something funny that happened to him at work or the terrible music his spin instructor played. I just really miss the uneventful moments we used to have. Those seemed like the best moments now that they’re gone.

But back to the dreams. So in my life I’ve had reoccurring dreams. Usually involving a car accident. I haven’t had one of those recently. But lately I have them where I see George and he doesn’t recognize me. I’ll go out and he’ll be at the field or the house and he just wouldn’t know who I am. It really freaks me out. I do not look how I used to. But I know if he were alive he would be so proud of me and be happy that I’m becoming healthier. But without the reassurance I fear that he will not remember me.

During this grief journey I wanted to become someone different. But now that I have, am I afraid of letting go? Another wid asked me this a couple weeks ago and I arrogantly said I have let go. But maybe I’m just hiding and my mind is reminding me. I don’t know. People say those who pass watch over you, sometimes I feel him. When I ran across the Golden Gate Bridge I did. When I go into NYC I feel him sometimes. This grief stuff is really kicking my ass. The lead up to this one year mark has been playing my nerves like a fiddle. I’m cracking as the days crawl closer.

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Favorite time of year

The end of October heading into November is my favorite time of year. I love the colors, smell, festiveness, basketball, cool weather, and everything involving pumpkins and cinnamon. I love the Fall. Halloween and Thanksgiving are two of my favorite holidays and they are less than a month apart. My birthday is November 2nd, and 2 days before Thanksgiving this year is George’s death anniversary. Unfortunately the grim reaper will linger for much longer than just Halloween night. My grief has been getting worse, and it’s impacting my routines. I’m crying in public again, which in itself is humiliating for me because I hate feeling weak. I’ve been shutting my office door more often and I’ve been becoming more reclusive at night. When I go out I need to be home by 10p so I can just be.

I’ve read that heading to the first death anniversary is the hardest time, but I thought I could be the exception. But I’m okay. It’s okay it will crush me all over again. I have different weaponry and perspective than I did the first time around, but unfortunately the reality of this emotional uncertainty is the way of life for a bit. Try explaining that to colleagues. You may have forgotten I’m widowed, but when I go home and cook a meal for one, go to bed alone and wake up on George’s side of the bed, I have that excruciating reminder every day. I put on a good face and take my position in the foxhole knowing I’ll be stronger later.

This morning when I looked at the young widow board a woman posed a question I cannot stop thinking about: “What’s the one thing you’ve turned to during this time of loss that has given you the most comfort and hope to keep moving forward?” She’s not asking for what people are doing to cope with grief because there’s an endless array of combative strategies. I’ve adopted fitness as my strategy to deal with my loss. But the thing that gives me comfort and hope… That’s what had me humming and hawing.

I work out to make myself feel better. I work out to change my body. I work out to focus. I work out to be different than I was before. I work out to control my grief.

When I became more involved with fitness and training, I wished for my body to change. And it did. I’m not physically the same person I was when I was with George. But I had a dream several weeks ago where I visited him in the hospital and he didn’t recognize me. I cannot believe I didn’t write about this yet! I kept trying to explain to him it was me, but George just didn’t recognize me, and finally I went out with my grandfather (who passed away in 2011) for pizza in NYC. So with a drawn out anecdote, I don’t think fitness provides me comfort– at least not in the way I want.

I believe I’ve found different avenues that have given me hope to keep moving forward. My lacrosse team being one of the most important and ever glowing beacon of hope. But as I reflect on what has provided me comfort, I think it’s another sad realization the feeling and idea of comfort is eluding me. But I also may be preventing myself from becoming comfortable. It may be time for a visit to the grief counselor.

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Widow weight

imageI feel like I have a boulder dragging behind me everyday since I got the news George was dying. The day he passed that boulder became a mountain and rather than dragging it, I turned around and stared at it. The unforgiving hopelessness and the perpetual wondering if I can carry on consumed my mind, but eventually the massive rock formation returned to a manageable size, and I’m back to tugging it along day to day. But unfortunately, as of late, it is getting heavier and more difficult to manage. I’m staring down a long windy road, and the shadow of this boulder is darkening the path in front of me.

Ive been getting increasingly irritable and angry as the first anniversaries pull closer. I try really hard to distract my mind, but the beats are becoming louder and the melody is crescendoing. I cannot control my anxiety nor do I believe I should continue to do so. I think this is an appropriate emotional reaction to something so unavoidably damaging. For the sake of how I will be viewed at work, I have been deflecting discussions about my grief. But this week, during a 4 hour sexual assault forum, I became very agitated and I realized that this grief must be felt. So I’m slowly turning around to stare at what I assume has transformed into a mountain. I’ll stare at it and give up any efforts of trying to scale or get around it.  It’s so gigantic that all I can do is hum and haw until I find a new direction.

I find a tremendous amount of comfort in exercising and escaping to my own little world. When the endorphins are pumping I feel at peace for minutes, hours and sometimes days. But lately, my normal routines aren’t enough. I’m starting to increase the intensity and duration. The discomfort fuels me. Today I biked 45km and ran 10km afterwards. When I was running I had a painful cramp in my side for 5km of it but I decided I couldn’t stop and needed to keep going. Physical pain is nothing compared to the emotional pain I’m enduring right now. So I just go. As I plugged along on my run, I do wonder if George would be proud of me. And sometimes I think he would, but other times I don’t think he would recognize me. I barely recognize myself. I’m not the same girl I used to be. I’m stronger now, but because I’m stronger I will crumble slower but I’m afraid it might take longer to build myself back up.

Can someone wake me when this nightmare is over?

 

A ninjas good morning kiss

For the last two weeks, I’ve watched more television and lounged around more than I think I have since December. Those first few weeks after George died, I didn’t know what to do with myself so I simply lost myself in fictional drama and romances. My spring obsession if you recall was One Tree Hill, and it began at the turn of the New Year. Leaving behind one of the most horrific years of my life for another year of pain, rebuilding and eventual growth. I’m still in the goddamn construction phase, to be honest.

Since getting sick, I’ve been unable to occupy my mind and body with exercise so instead I’ve turned my attention to a couple other things. First, I have to be careful of my consumption so I’m scrupulously tracking my water and food intake. Although I’m not currently in training due to the bed rest, I want to make sure my body can bounce back quickly once I return to the saddle. The second thing is American Ninja Warrior. I’m straight up enamored with that show. The physicality and mental toughness is simply mesmerizing and leaves me bewildered of how their bodies can endure that much. I want to be climbing the cargo net and hanging off rings attached to a staircase. These people have stretched their bodies to the limits just as I have emotionally over these last 9 months. I truly appreciate their commitment to bettering themselves for a gameshow, however I’m trying to better myself for a longer duration; the rest of my life.

I saw a couple on the show who both competed, and when they kissed it jolted a feeling that I hadn’t really thought much about. This couples professional life is competing in these obstacle races, and training other competitors. So before one of them went to work, they kissed. George and I always alternated on who wakes up for work before the other, but we never missed a good morning/goodbye kiss. Some days I would be in such a rush to head out the door, but if I didn’t kiss him goodbye, id bust through the door in a frenzy, kiss him and tell him I love him. Usually Bodie would wake up and start barking. I missed it today. Something about those mundane morning kisses were so special and warming that I never realized it until I really thought about it. Somedays, he would press against my face so hard, I could feel his stubble against my top lip for minutes afterwards. Prickly like a Velcro but warm and soft like bread out of the oven. It was the best. I haven’t had a good morning kiss since. Maybe once, but nothing that had lingering meaning behind it anyways. Things I took for granted are becoming my most cherished memories. Those  moments where everything in the world was perfect and pure, have become elusive. The never ending marathon of chasing happiness continues on. But once it’s within reach, I will hang onto it tightly like those competitors do when they see the end line just after that last knob they need to grab ahold of to continue on.

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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.

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Alone in the summer

When George and I first started dating, it was in the middle of summer. Summer was always exciting because it was fun exploring the city together and never have to really worry about if it’s jacket weather. With him passing away in the winter, the weather matched my mood. As I started to turn my life around some bit, Spring was just around the corner as well. Now, with Summer in full bloom I feel a bit more optimistic and hopeful.

One thing about this journey is I’ve really had to learn to enjoy my time alone. In the beginning months, being by myself was maddening. The quietness of the room, where laughter and conversation once filled it, was more deafening than a jet engine. I began to start dating in the beginning of May to fill my time. Was I ready? I don’t know, but it accomplished one thing and that was to occupy my mind and distract me from the perpetual loneliness that greeted me the moment my apartment door swung open. Except now I thrive in my lonesomeness. I WANT to be by myself. Does this mean I’m at peace? Is this the acceptance part of grief?

What I’ve noticed is that there’s an undercurrent of sadness in my days. Mornings are not as brutal as they have been. I wake up between 730-9a every day and the first thing I do is take Bodie out for a long walk while listening to music. There’s a calmness that comes with it. The sadness lifts for those moments when the sun is beating down on my shoulders and Bo is trotting next to me. Maybe it’s George smiling down. I think he’s proud of me. I think he would be happy with how I’m getting by. He would hate my music choices though.

Today when I was lifting I was looking at myself in the mirror like a conceited jock, and I cannot stress how happy I am with my ongoing goal of losing my widow weight. Yesterday (Sunday) I ventured to Morristown to go to NBD gym where one of my former players gave me the biz on working out. I cannot wait to go back soon. If you’re in the Motown area, you need to check it out. It’s friendly and vibrant. I’m hoping to be teaching some Spin classes there once I get my certification. One of my many summer goals besides rebuilding my life, recruiting and being happy.

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