Saturday, February 5, 2011

Moments of Normal

Brien just wrote about the Road to Recovery. I think I am on that road with him, just maybe not very far down the path yet. First, I can't bring myself to use the word "recovery." When I think of that word I think of recovering from an illness, and that implies "back to normal." Recently, I spent some time in a recovery room at the hospital and I will, without a doubt, recover from cancer. I have yet to accept use of the word "recovery" though when it comes to Grace's passing. I will never recover from that, she has forever changed my life, and because of that my life will never be totally normal again. Instead, I must move forward in this new and much different life as a very different person.

Last week, when attending the bereavement group, the leader was describing the grief process and emotions from initial shock to denial, anger, acceptance, anxiety, guilt, etc....the list is endless. He spoke about how the process is fluid and not usually sequentially completed in "stages" so to speak. A few things he said really struck home with me. Several weeks ago I really felt like things were getting worse for me. Time was not helping heal any wounds at all but only making me miss my baby more and more each and every day. The sadness that encompassed me was often overwhelming. I learned that is totally normal and my feelings were not just spiraling out of control, however it was, I believe, my own "rock bottom" so to speak. The leader then spoke about how slowly, these "moments of normal" would sneak into your life and they would be ever so fleeting at first and then, eventually, these moments would happen more often every day. When he said this, I couldn't help but think back to the night before we came to group.

As a bit of history, I have been an off and on "gym goer" for about twenty years I'm sure many of you can relate! For the past ten years I was a member of 24-hour Fitness Club and use to frequent the downtown Sac location. I loved the aerobic classes, my favorites were step and turbo kick. After becoming pregnant with Grace, I didn't often go to the gym, figured it was as good of an excuse as any of the others I had in the past. Lately, I've had other excuses, going through the grief process has been exhausting enough, let alone now going through the process of cancer treatment, which means going off of my medication in which a side effect is lethargy. Getting to the gym just seemed like too monumental of a task. Then, we moved our office and low and behold, my work was next door to Gold's Gym. After much debating, I finally took the plunge last week, cancelled my old gym membership of 10 years and joined Gold's. The night before our bereavement group, I decided to try out the step class there. I was nervous, I hadn't been to a class in over three years. Granted, it was challenging to keep up with the cardio but, thankfully, most of the names of the moves hadn't changed so when the instructor called them out, it was like riding an old familiar bike. It took awhile, but towards the end of class I had a fleeting feeling of happiness, that this was normal. But then, like a butterfly, it flitted away. I had no idea what I was feeling at the time so when I heard the support group leader discuss these types of "normal moments" the next evening, it gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, it would happen again.

Joining a new gym has been a different experience, I no longer see the old familiar equipment or the friendly familiar faces of instructors and members that I once knew. I now see a bright sparkling environment filled with change such as unfamiliar faces, new equipment to learn, and a whole community of strangers that I have yet to meet. Even though everything there is new and different, it's also oddly familiar. I feel like this new gym gave me some new hope and promise for the future. I plan on going back to class this week in hopes of feeling normal again. Maybe I will, maybe I won't....but, perhaps, I will at least become somewhat healthier in the process.


  1. Holly-I’m glad you and Brien found a support group to attend and I hope it helps, I can’t imagine going thru anything like this alone. I’m sorry to hear about the treatments you are going thru and hope everything is okay with you as well.

  2. Holly, thank you for sharing Gracie with us. What a GORGEOUS girl -melted our hearts! We are going to walk this road with you if you need us. Becky Pop and Stefan (Steve).

  3. Thank you, Nicole and Becky! Nicole, I just can't believe all you have done for Bevin and for JRA is such a short amount of time. I so admire your energy and determination, have no idea where you find the time to do so much for your family and others, you are an inspiration!

    Becky, I am so glad to have had a chance to meet you and Stefan. I am so happy to get to know someone else who is traveling down this road with us, and wearing the same shoes. I sure agree with Stefan, the shoes are tight. Hopefully, together, we will all continue the process that will bring us some peace.

  4. Holly,

    You likely don't know me, but I have heard your name a thousand times. My husband and I are old friends of Russ and Audrey's and when we visit, Audrey keeps calling me Holly. They are two of the most sensitive and supportive people that I have ever had the priveledge to know.

    Please accept our belated condolences for the loss of your beautiful daughter, Gracie. This is not something that our mutual friends would have likely gone out of their way to mention due to our own loss several years ago.

    Your story has touched me in ways that I cannot possibly explain. Your honesy and strength astounds me and I assure you that my thoughts and well wishes will be with you for a very long time.

    All I can find the composure to say is how truly sorry and heartbroken I am for you. Look for the things in your world that bring a smile to your face. Surround yourselves with those who love and support you; you know who they are. Lean on each other, but don't forget to hold each other up as well. Bask in the memory of your precious baby and know that you are truly blessed to have had her in your lives.

    Her memory will always be alive in your hearts. May time bring you better days and some much deserved peace.

    God bless.

  5. Thank you so much, Audrey's friend! I do know you, and too, have heard your name a thousand times as well :) I know your story just through Audrey and I know that you are one of the few people who can actually say that you have an idea of what we are feeling and going through during this difficult time. Although the difficult time I know will never end, I can only hope that it will continue to evolve, change, and improve somewhat over time. I am so very sorry for your loss, no one should ever have to be a member of this club. I am so touched that you have read the blog and that you had the courage to reach out and post, it meant the world to us. Audrey and Russ were Grace's parents as well. They were with us every step of the way. I don't know what we would do without them. I hope that time brings you peace as well, and thanks again.