Weekly recap (8/22-8/28): On grief and loss
Disney Wine & Dine + Kiawah Half Training Week 3
Everything happens for a reason. Gosh, I hate that phrase.
It's terrible, it's trite, and most of all, it's untrue. While it's often said by very kind and well-meaning people in the face of some kind of loss, the reality is that it's a tone deaf phrase that minimizes true grief. And it's why I've never said it to someone else or been thrilled to hear someone say it to me.
In the past year I've experienced loss and grief. Thankfully, none related to the people in my life, but grief from the loss of our beloved pet, Stella Blue, the loss of a job and the situation surrounding it that was nothing short of abusive and horrendous (and I'm fairly certain left me with some kind of post-traumatic stress situation), and my ongoing health issues that while (thankfully) weren't/aren't terribly serious still left me chronically sick, exhausted, and unable to enjoy the things I enjoy the most (like running and racing).
Most of the joy from anything, including running, was wiped from my life. Most days I just tried to get through without completely losing it. I turned off emotions - both positive and negative. And even though I fought back and forged new connections and paths for myself, and my overall job situation has turned around, I find myself stressed that the rug will be pulled out from under me again. I'm suspicious and as much as I try, I don't trust the good things. And why should I? I've experienced a traumatic, abusive situation and I'm having a hard time recovering.
I stumbled upon this amazing blog post by Tim Lawrence about grief and loss that explains it far better than I ever could and I urge you to read it. If you've ever experienced loss and grief and bristled at the idea that everything happens for a reason, this blog post will help you process those thoughts. Or if you've said the phrase "everything happens for a reason," and are wondering just why it's not the best thing to say, Tim's blog post will help clarify that as well.
Everything does not happen for a reason. Some things are just bad. Some things you just have to live with, to get through, to allow yourself to grieve, and then carry that with you. It does not make you a bad person if you fail to "look a the bright side of things." It doesn't make you weak if you can't figure out what you could possible "learn" from loss. It makes you human. While we can pick ourselves up and carry on from loss (often we have no choice), we do not have to be persistent Pollyannas, wondering what's wrong with us if we just can't "get over it."
The past year that I've spent sick and exhausted didn't do anything to make me a better person. It's worn me down. It's made me a much weaker runner. It didn't "happen for a reason." Yes, I chose to push through and continue running, even as my race times got (and remain) worse and worse. But it's also made me much more cautious and worried about what might happen in a race or on a run because of my health. I don't feel as free as I did before when I run. I no longer get excited for races. I'm hoping with new allergy treatments that eventually, I'll be back to myself both physically and mentally, but those things will take time. Allergy shots can take up to a year to take full effect. And who knows how long my mental state will take to improve.
This week, as most weeks are, was another week spent persevering through recovery. I got in all of my miles and most of my workouts, except paddleboarding since my session was canceled on Monday evening. It was a good week for workouts, but I'm still not seeing the paces and the runner I used to be or could be. I hope that I will. I hope the fact that I pushed through everything will eventually pay off, but I can't help but think where I'd be if all of the sickness and stress hadn't happened because I'm certainly not a stronger runner now than I was before.
- Monday: Family bike ride - 4 miles
- Tuesday: Barre class
- Wednesday: Tempo run - 6 miles (8:18 pace)
- Thursday: Easy run - 5.01 miles (8:55 pace)
- Friday: Barre Cardio class
- Saturday: Rest day
- Sunday: Long run - 7.01 miles (8:49 pace)
Running miles: 18.02 miles
Total runs: 3
Biking miles: 4
Cross training (bike or SUP): 1
Total miles (run + bike): 22.02
Total workouts: 6
I also know I'm in for some more sadness and stress. This morning, I've been hit with one more pending loss - another one of our dogs, my sweet Meadow, was diagnosed with nasal cancer, which has a very grim prognosis. There is no bright side to this. This precious life doesn't deserve this. This did not happen for a reason. Even if I choose to create some kind of fundraiser in her name (which I'm considering), that does not mean that this bad thing had to happen for something good to come out it. This thing that is happening to her and to my family is just bad.
And while I know that I have a lot to be thankful for, that I am thankful for, that does not cancel out the bad things that happened, nor does it somehow disqualify me from being allowed to grieve.
I know that I will choose to carry on, but I will also carry my loss. It's a part of me now. And I won't feel guilty for that.