Sunday, November 16, 2014

That which doesn't kill me...

Yesterday was one of those days in this after life that was both incredible and heartbreaking all at once. Earlier this year, I started going to the gym and took up Crossfit to try and get into shape. I hadn't done anything for over a year since he died and was really out of shape. Not to mention I've never really been athletic my entire adult life.

So yesterday was big because I went to my first Crossfit competition. And it was cold. And rainy. And I had a cold. And I somehow still didn't back down and I did all three of my workouts to compete. I was on a high all day... The very fact that I was even there was amazing. The fact that just a year ago I'd never have imagined I'd be doing something like this was so fulfilling. 

I didn't win anything, I did probably somewhere around mediocre compared to all the other women. But that didn't matter. I showed up. And I worked harder than I ever have. And I beat my own practice times by a lot. And I did it with a layer of grief underneath it all. 

My team mates were all so supportive. My best friend came out to cheer me on. My in-laws even came out to watch me... And oh, the sound of his Dad's voice cheering me on is one of the best feelings I've had in a long time since neither of my parents are alive to see me now. It was incredible.

I learned something about myself I never thought to be true too - that I'm quite a feirce competitor. I may not be strong enough to do everything yet, but the fire within me is a lot stronger than even I realized. When that timer went off - I went somewhere else entirely. Razor sharp focus. The feeling of pride I've been given by this experience is amazing. It reminds me to keep on surprising myself and that we should never put limits on ourselves and what we can do.

It's a bit ironic that I needed Crossfit to remind me of the fact that I'm incredibly strong. I mean duh, we have all lived through hell and back losing our partners, yet somehow it's so easy to forget just how strong that has made us. It really has. The kind of fight I have for anything I care about now is tenfold compared to before my fiance died. 

This morning of course, as the excitement of yesterday's events wears down, the deep sadness is setting in. The horrible kind that cuts to the bone with the truth that he isn't ever coming back. That he will never know this newperson I'm becoming more and more as time passes. He will never get to see me as an athlete, and cheer me on from the sidelines. And embrace me tight in his arms after I finish a workout and tell how proud he is of me. Which he would be. So proud. I hate that he would have loved Crossfit too and we probably would have done it together if he were alive still. Then again... If he were alive, I'd have been too comfortable to ever try something so extreme. 

I hate that I can see myself changing - slowly but surely - into a woman who was not the woman he knew. A more amazing and beautiful version of myself that he will never get to have and hold. I really hate that. It breaks my heart.

This all just sucks. It feels incredible to feel so strong while I'm in the arena fighting hard to compete. I feel grateful the entire time just to be there. To have a healthy body that allows me to do this. To have worked hard for 8 months at the gym continuously despite the many waves of grief that have slammed into me during that time. To have not give up on myself and on living again when it's sometimes so tempting to want to do. Don't get me wrong. It feels incredible. All of it. But... 

At the end of the day, I am still a heartbroken woman who misses her best friend more than anything on this earth. And every single new step - no matter how fulfilling - is so excrutiating. Oh how I wish people really understood that. I wish they knew what it took for me to have the courage to do what I did yesterday... Without him there. Or with him there in my heart, as he always is, but "in my heart" is never really enough, we all know that. I wish they knew I was not such a ballsy person before he died... And truly I don't want to have to be, but being this way now helps me through my grief.

I wish they knew that I could barely sleep the night after because my whole body has been raging with grief and anxiety about him never returning. My whole beautiful experience of the day swallowed up by grief once more. It is so exhausting. But I will not give up on me and this life. Or in sharing the good and the bad with you in hopes that we all become stronger together. Somehow... Through this horrible storm, we do become stronger. 

So no matter how shitty it feels this morning, I'm going to hang on to yesterday. And to today. I will not give up on striving for things that do bring me joy, Because to live boldly is the best way to honor his life. I just wish he were here to see it, dammit. 


  1. I understand. I wonder how much my husband would love the new me. You go girl for doing the Crossfit.
    Maria O.

  2. Oh how I love you. Take a read at my Widows Voice from Friday (the Zuba posted it on his FB page as an example of healing !). Although VERY different circumstances, I, too, had a moment of big steps this weekend.

    I love this piece. When I read this part, I started crying instantly, because the new me cries instantly when I feel empathy for another person: "The sound of his dad's voice cheering me on is one of the best feelings Ive had in a long time since neither of my parents are alive to see me now. " My first thought was the parallel that you don't have your mom and dad to cheer you on, and Drew;s parents don't have their son to cheer on. So instead, you have each other. Holy shit, just TYPING that makes me sob. It is just so sad and so beautiful of a thought. Congrats girl! This picture of you speaks volumes.

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  4. Dear Sarah!! My heart goes out to you without any biological family, but it sounds to me that you have special people that are your family... his family... how awesome for you!!! I'm only at 6-1'2 months after the love of my life left... Everything in this life revolved around him... It is so hard going on without him... Thank you for your words of encouragement... At 73 years old, there isn't much left for me, but you are young and have a lot of life in front of you... Thank you for your words of wisdom...