I’ve often heard, and I suppose I believed that the first Christmas (or other major holiday you may celebrate) without someone you love is the hardest, but now I’m not sure that’s true.
Last Christmas, it had been 6 months since Joey’s death, and I missed him so much, but I feel like I was still just in shock so much that I couldn’t quite come to terms with the reality. I had started walking and set my goal to run a 5k in 2013, and these goals were so important for me to keep moving and taking breaths every day, but in some ways they were also a much needed distraction at the time.
This Christmas, however, I have felt the absence of Joey much worse. The permanence of death has set in, and the least of things has moved me to tears. Read the rest of this entry →
Yesterday, I took my first ever spin class. I’ll admit I wasn’t able to keep up entirely with the instructor, but I’m pretty proud of the fact that I managed to keep that wheel moving for 30 minutes. More than 24 hours later, my quads are still pretty sore, but in that really good, making-my-muscles-stronger kinda way. When the instructor called out, “And…that’s a workout!” I practically burst into tears of pride and joy. Working out is totally my therapy. It’s the way I keep taking one step (or one revolution) at a time.
Then yesterday afternoon I went to the salon to get my roots touched up and a trim, and I think this is the best my hair has looked, yet. But then, I think this might be the best I’ve looked in a long time, too. There’s still a lot of work to do, but isn’t that life? None of us ever arrive on this earth. We just keep taking one more step on the journey, hopefully moving toward a better us.
This isn’t a Joey post, I know. It’s a Sarah post. Because Sarah has to keep living. Joey is free.
You may have noticed I haven’t written in a while. Almost 3 weeks ago, I joined the local YMCA, and Noah has started soccer for the first time ever. Not to mention we’ve actually had some warmish weather which when you have 3 boys absolutely REQUIRES time outdoors. So, needless to say, it’s been busy around here.
But the good kind of busy. The busy that includes….duh, duh, da-duh!…starting running intervals!
I’ll be honest, running for 60 seconds at a time is hard for me. I haven’t run since I was in high school, I think. But it’s so good, too. At the end of a session, when I’m still walking on the treadmill with sweat pouring down my face and music in my ears, I inevitably begin to cry. It’s not that I’m sad, though I am sad that Joey’s not here to see this. But I am overwhelmed with bittersweet pride that I am becoming a better version of me…because of him.
For me running, even in 60 second bursts, is the beginning of the Phoenix rising from the ashes. I have been in mourning; I am in mourning still, but there is hope, hope for the day when I run that first 5k race, Joey’s ashes around my neck, knowing that our adventures together aren’t over.
One of Joey’s friends said that he was always the one who did stuff and inspired other people to do stuff. He’d say, “I’m going on a ride.” And they might whine, “I’m tired” or “It’s too hot” or some other lame response. And he’d say, “Stay home, chumps. Chumps stay home.”
He challenged people to be better, but he didn’t push. He just had this essence that made you want to be more like him. I often found myself doing things with my little brother that I’d never consider doing with anyone else – like strapping myself into a metal cage attached to 30-ft cables and catapulted into the air like a slingshot (a ride at an amusement park), but somehow he made the decision to DO something the obvious choice. You always wanted him to respect you, not just because he was cool (although he was) but because you knew you would be a better person if you attacked life the way he did.
Over the last few years, I had grown sedentary in my life. Jobs I’d worked had required me to sit for long periods of time, and I’d gained quite a bit of weight as I’d become “fat & happy” with my husband and 3 kids. All attempts to lose weight for me had been about conforming to cultural norms, being accepted, or fitting in. But something happened to my thinking after Joey’s death. Read the rest of this entry →
When I heard the news that Joey was killed, it felt as if the bottom had fallen out of my sense of reality. My brain couldn’t cope with a world in which my brother wasn’t out there making stuff happen. It just didn’t make sense. I felt a profound sense of loss, but it was more loss of clarity than the loss of his presence at first.
Joe had been living in Austin for the last two years, and I had seen him rarely over that time, though we talked on the phone and texted a bit and kept up with one another on Facebook. He had been home to Nashville just a month before to celebrate my oldest son’s third birthday and visit with family and friends for a few days, and looking back I’m so grateful for those days, though I would have made that hug goodbye last a bit longer had I known it would be my final goodbye.
We didn’t really talk about anything important, mostly we just enjoyed one another’s presence, and I think I saw a look of approval and even pride as he surveyed my little family and the way we interacted. Read the rest of this entry →