Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I enjoy the running habit I have grown into in the last year or so because it has gotten me somewhere I never imagined I'd be. I was not a runner as a child or as a teenager. It was not my thing, and that is putting it mildly. I "ran" track in high school mostly because everyone else did and it was some scheduled hang-out time with my friends. My two events were the high jump and the long jump. I loved the high jump- it was so fun! (Side note: it has been said that my dad was watching the high jumpers of the 1984 olympics in the minutes of my birth as he waited in the waiting room while my mom was having an emergency c-section. I was destined to high jump.) Coach Craig eventually made all of us participate in one of the running events and since the 200 Meter dash was close to the end of the meet, that was usually what we'd all have to run. Anyway- too far off track- I was not a runner. To have run a 10 mile race at a pretty solid average pace in my 25th year of life is quite an accomplishment. One I am very proud of- one I wish Mike could know he was the inspiration for.

Although I am proud of my running and intend to continue running to keep myself (in particular, my heart) in shape, the novelty is wearing off. Somewhere in the back of my mind keeps floating the thought of my rusty, but one-time ideal yoga practice.

About 4 months before Mike was killed we spent a lot of time talking about our future, what we would be like together in our future life, how our family would run, etc. We decided we would have a healthy family, and do as much as possible to control our own health and that of our future children. To do this we thought it was necessary to begin all the healthy habits we could immediately so that it was easy to pass them on. We called it the "Healthy Family Plan." He had a lot more down time and he was working out a lot, and I promised I would try some different workouts and find something that I really enjoyed. I had toyed with the idea of yoga before. The deep breathing, the stretching and building of long, lean muscles all appealed to me, but in that sort of "hip, hollywood" way. After some research I found a class at the Westlake Rec Center and went 3 times a week. I feel in love. What I mean is that the teacher was amazing and presented the practice in a way that constantly appealed to me. I looked forward to going, and on long work days when I wanted to skip the night class I would realize on my drive home that it was so very worth it for me to go. It completely changed my state of mind for the day. It was like a reset button for me. I told Mike how much I was enjoying it, how I had found the workout that not only was making me stronger but that I wanted to do. This concept was so foreign to me.

My yoga classes were on Tuesday and Thursday nights- and Saturdays. Thursday, September 24, 2008 I was in yoga class. I remember what I wore- a navy blue tank top and gray yoga pants. I remember where I sat in the class, on the right side sort of in the middle. I came home after, and wrote Mike an email saying that I was glad I went to class tonight, it had calmed my nerves from a stupid fight I had with my mom earlier in the day. Then I said to him something like, "Baby, I'm really done with this. I want you home. I want this to be over. I don't know how much longer I can do this. I just want to have our wedding, and you back, now." He was already gone. He never received that message. I had no idea.

I know many women who knew something was different in the moments after their husband's death, before they were notified. Because of the time difference and circumstances, it takes a little while for the news to travel. I had no idea. I felt no different, except for my need to be near him, which was not a new feeling in the 11 months we were apart. I wasn't even worried. I say that in the way that those of you who have experienced deployed spouses will understand. I was in a constant state of worry being that he was deployed to a war zone, but at that point I was accustomed to living with that feeling and although I had that constant worry, I was more impatient with the time we still had left. I was more consumed with the thoughts of how amazing our wedding would be if we could only get there. I never, for a second, thought he was dead until I talked to my father, and then his father, the next morning.

So in the moments when he was scared, nervous, in pain, worried about all of us back here, telling his commander to tell me he loved me, in all those moments I was peacefully breathing through some pose with no idea what was happening.

These thoughts have kept me from yoga. When I began to be ready to workout again, I knew that I could not get back into that. I have tip-toed and toyed with the idea for more than 2 years now. I have bought a couple DVDs that I've done zero times. I dusted off an old DVD that I've done once. I downloaded an app that I did for about a week. I researched and found classes around Westlake, and even at the bally's I was a member of, but I can't take that final step to actually do it.

I looked in my current location and found a couple studios that looked inviting and do-able. Nick found a groupon to one of those studios and when he sent it to me I decided it was meant for me to being again. I bought it. For 2 weeks now I've intended to use it. I've looked at their website about 20 times. I've planned out a schedule that will allow me to try several classes. I was going to go 2 days ago. Then I was going to go yesterday. Then I was going to go today. I haven't gone yet. It's difficult, but surely I've done more difficult things. Thinking about those minutes before he passed are one of the things that still hangs in the hollows of my inner caves of grief. I shut the doors and hope they will clear out, but until I face it, move past it, realize it may be more beneficial than harmful, I don't think it will go away.

Here's to hoping I get my butt back to yoga...


Kim said...

"....those minutes before he passed are one of the things that still hangs in the hollows of my inner caves of grief. I shut the doors and hope they will clear out, but until I face it, move past it, realize it may be more beneficial than harmful, I don't think it will go away."

described it to an absolute T. you always echo what I'm feeling. This tugged at my heart and I just wanted to reach across the screen an hug you. I get it. You're amazing. While reading this post I kept thinking back to our early, early texts...telling each other how it all happened, and crying...so much crying. You've trudged through so much sludge, and I know you'll tackle this just like you've tackled everything else...can't wait to get back to the states and catch up. LOVE YOU <3 <3

MandyMy said...

I'm right there with Kim, you have totally hit the nail on the head. This post stirred up so many emotions for me, and made me realize why I might not be doing certain things. You are amazing, and with time you will conquer this hill in the journey forward. Hugs!! Love you girlie!!

PS. We should all plan a meet up in the NC area!

It's Toner Time said...

I have a big pair of Frankie's sweats that I confiscated from him and LOVE to wear. When they came and told me, I had just gotten out of the shower, so I threw them on really fast before going down to meet them. It took me over a year to put those sweats back on. Every time I do, I think of my notification...but every time I also think....Man, I really love these sweats! I know you will find the strength to do it, just like you found the strength to run your 10 mile race...and those thoughts will probably rush in, and be tough, but love will get you through it. It has gotten you so far already. Love you!

Victoria said...

If you need a friend to go with you, I will happily go (and happily leave if you need to) once I move there! It makes perfect sense why its been difficult for you to go! on a lighthearted note, we can always get taco bell after! heheh Love you stace!

jenny said...

i love this post. so so much.

i just signed up for prenatal yoga and i've never done it before. i have been a baby (aka. scared and intimidated) to go, but this post makes me realize how trivial that is.

you'll get back to yoga, even if it isn't for another year, or two, or five. i know you will. you are stacey - you can do anything.