On Friday, November 6th the unimaginable happened. My beautiful, smart, funny, quick-witted, caring and joy-filled 13-year old daughter passed away.
Clara lived with pulmonary hypertension (you can read more about her story here); a disease that we always knew would shorten her life. What we didn’t expect was for it to happen at such a young age.
After being admitted to hospital Tuesday with a suspected case of appendicitis. Her condition deteriorated quickly and with each test, the news, and prognosis got worse. An asymptomatic, previously undiagnosed kidney tumour had ruptured and reduced her heart-lung function to the point that the only option the medical team had was to try and stabilize her long enough to remove the kidney. She suffered a cardiac arrest during the cardiac catheterization procedure and never recovered.
To say that my husband, two sons and I are devastated is an understatement. We are gutted and heart-broken and inconsolable, trying to reconcile what’s happened with the future we had envisaged for our family.
Needless to say, exercise and healthy eating have been the farthest thing from my mind.
While I know that movement and energy-giving food will help me to deal with grief, the fact of the matter is, my heart aches, my lungs hurt and my body is incredibly weary right now.
I have very little appetite and am thankful for the friends who’ve stepped up to provide us with hot meals for today and for the freezer. I’m not eating my greens. Or getting enough protein. Remembering to drink water is an issue too.
I had no idea that grief could cause such a rapid loss in weight, muscular strength or fitness.
This week, my husband and I have committed to daily walks around the neighbourhood. Right now, the hills are almost more than I can manage and I have a much better understanding of how Clara must have felt when she accompanied us on walks that were challenging to her heart and lungs.
I’m sharing this here because I know that many of you will have experienced a similarly debilitating grief and have found your way back to fitness after loss.
I would love to hear what helped you regain your physical strength, not to mention your courage to go back into the gym and feel the gaze of people who know your story and may not know whether to approach you or to talk with you about it.
I know that grief has no map and that it may be awhile before I’m able to teach group fitness, blog regularly and support my clients.
But I’m anxious to get back to doing what I do best; motivating and inspiring others to live a life full of movement and health and joy.
And taking care of my boys. Making sure they feel loved and supported as they move through their own experiences with grief and the relatively rare experience of losing a sibling in childhood.
xo ~ Tamara