Moving On is Hard

In the days before my daughter passed away I enjoyed exercise and felt I was in the best shape I’d been in my entire life. I found running to be very cathartic and it helped me de-stress. I was proud of the way I looked considering I was in my 40’s and frequently, I was told I looked much younger. So what happened. Why do I hate it so much now…..

Me in 2007-2008 as a red-head and in great shape.

Last night as I prepared for bed I checked my Facebook and Twitter accounts and noticed that Jillian Michael’s was asking for questions for her podcast. I thought to myself, I think I’ll ask her why I feel like exercise is such a chore. So in my question I asked:

My name is Malissa and I’m about to turn 55 (most say i look 10 yrs younger) in a few weeks. Nearly 6 years ago I lost my 17-yr old daughter – she was my only child. Since then I have lost my sense of self, my passion for exercise and want to find it again. I have a great job, a great relationship – yet I just seemed to have lost my mojo. When my daughter died I was in the best shape I’ve ever been. Loved to work out.

How do I get that mojo back – I want to feel that rush again after working out. Now it feels like the worst torture and I absolutely dread it.

Did I really think I’d get a response – not really. But this afternoon my cell phone rang and I looked at the number – Los Angeles, CA. So I answered it and sure enough, it was the producer for the Jillian Michael’s Show. They were recording a segment for her show and they thought my question was great and wanted me to ask Jillian later in the day. Around 4:30 my phone rang again, and I was placed on hold and a few minutes later was introduced to Jillian.

I stated my question to Jillian and we began to talk about some of the reasons I felt the way I do. She asked me some questions and after I answered a few, she got a little quiet and then said, “I want to ask you something”, I said ok and then she asked me a question that made me stop dead in my tracks. With your life going well, with a great job and great relationship, why do you think this part is hard to get back to? Tears welled up in my eyes and the sting of truth hit me. I said “it would mean my life has moved on without my daughter”. And she confirmed what I understood at that moment – I was avoiding this part of my journey. I was avoiding working out, exercising because if I do, I’ll get back to the way I was the moment my daughter died. It was the most powerful moment I’ve had in so many  years.

I realized at that moment that if I get back to the way I was before, 15 pounds lighter, healthier and feeling like I was before, that the final step would have happened. Life would have moved on and it would have moved on without my girl. All along I have thought that  I was doing so well in my journey in grief. I believed that I was moving forward and while I have an occasional bad day, for the most part, I have moved forward. But this question to Jillian, led to the simple truth – I have not moved on. Or at least not to where I should be or where I thought I was. So now what?

Jillian asked me how I thought my daughter would feel or what would she say to me if she was here now seeing me like this. And I said she would kick my butt. She would tell me to knock it off and be happy. In fact one time while we were talking she expressed a concern that I had not begun dating after my divorce. She said to me, “mom do not wait around and don’t stop dating because of me”  – I’m ok. You deserve to be happy. So Jillian told me to remember those words, when I want to give up and when I don’t want to go to the gym. Do it for her and eventually I’ll begin doing it for me.

I have to say it was very hard to keep my composure, but I did, but as I write this tears well up again and I feel like this is going to be an addendum to my journey. A part that I wasn’t planning on. A journey I wasn’t thinking I would need. I believe it’s going to take a lot tears, willpower beyond what I have ever needed before – to open the door of my grief and walk through it to the other side. The side that creates a place for me to be happy again. I know it’s possible. I am happy, for the most part, but something is missing and I now know, it’s me.

until next time,


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