Thursday, August 06, 2009

The same ... but not

I went back to the gym for the first time in over six months on Tuesday. I'm sure it wasn't the smartest way to dive back in, but I decided to try my beloved Bodyjam class. Yes, the one with all the fab twists, turns, jumps and deep knee grooving to a funky hip hop beat. Go big, or go home with a broken knee, I always say.

But how could I not? I was so passionate about it, and for over two years, the sessions that I looked so forward to three times a week - that had me pushing my over-40 body to the limit - kept me feeling great about myself, and more importantly, kept my mind relatively stress-free.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.

The last class I had attended was about six days after my Dad's diagnosis. My knees were intact, and Dad's prognosis, although not wonderful (being an upside of 18 months), was at least something to strive for. I hit the routine hard, throwing my body into the ferocity of Kanye's "Stronger", somehow trying to will the strength to my Dad to fight...or more likely willing myself to find the strength to deal with the enormity of it all. I remember working through it in tears.

Less than four weeks later, he was gone and my will limped in unison with my bum knee.

Aside from the fact that I couldn't physically get much from the gym until my leg got strong enough, there was a big part of me that was reluctant... or even afraid to go back to the gym. Routine, what was that anymore? How could life go on just as it was before, when the world I knew, and especially my mother's world, was shattered?

I suspect this is what made me drag my heels to the physiotherapist - and made it even more difficult to start with my regular classes again.

So here I was this week, tackling Bodyjam Release 49. The same class at the same time, with many of the same friends ('Hey, Karen, where've you been? It's been a long time...') ... but it was not the same. The instructor was new; the routine was new; and my confidence not exactly at a high. Especially when the instructor told me to watch for the advanced options she would be throwing out there, to make sure I wouldn't push myself too far.

Damn, I used to love to jump, twirl, spin, samba... all that fun advanced stuff! This would be more torturous than I thought!

In the end, it turned out not to be too bad, and I managed to complete the class feeling just sweaty enough, with no twisted limbs to show for it. Which was a bonus. It was difficult to hold back, and it certainly wasn't the old me out there on the gym floor.

So it was done. No more excuses. I intend to get back into my regular exercise cycle again (which will have to include some core strengthening workouts).

As I drove home from class, I was stopped at the railway tracks. Unexpectedly, as I'd never had to wait for a train at this time before, not once in the past two years of regular Tuesday night classes. I watched each car pass in front of me, in rhythmic tandem with the piano riffs of Coldplay's "Clocks" playing on the radio.

And I thought of Dad, and how I missed him, how I wished he was still with us ... but also about the inevitability of time, how life must still move forward, and how he'd want me to continue to move forward. Remembering the profound words that my daughter had said to me, just hours earlier when talking about her grandfather...

"Just pretend that he's still here, Mommy, when you get sad. It will make you feel better."

While pretending the odd time isn't quite the same as reality, it'll allow me to take more concrete steps toward the future. I did feel better.

After the last car of the train went by, and the railway crossing arms lifted, I took my foot off the brake.

And headed home.

43 comments:

Cheryl said...

It's great that you headed back, nothing like a good sweat...treat it as a gift to your body...
Kids are so innocent, and obvious....why can't we all stay like that? Whenever we pass a cathedral our 4 year old smiles and says that's where grandpa lives...keep moving forward, that's the only way to go!

Kat said...

That sounds like genius to me. Kids are just so smart and insightful at times. It is shocking.

Tooj said...

And the train that you don't ever get to see? It was there to make you pause and pretend. :) Inevitability of time. Indeed. Pretend away this weekend, in the sunshine, in the dark. Have a wonderful few days.

Ginaagain said...

Karen, your writing just gets better and better. This was incredibly touching. No, it won't be the same but it will be good again. Moving forward can hurt but you have to do it because that little girl of yours is sprinting ahead.

Kori said...

This post moved me to tears, Karen; NOT easy to do, as cold hearted as I am. :) Thank you; needed to hear some of this stuff today.

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

First of all, this is stellar writing my friend, just stellar. I have goose bumps and tears in my eyes...wait the goose bumps are on my arms, the tears in my eyes...I could learn soem writitn skills from you!

And I am so proud that you went back! And you know what, now that you got the first one out of the way, it's clear sailing from here. The endorphins will do you so much good! Keep at it!

JustMiss said...

So beautiful Karen. So happy that you are taking those hard steps of moving on. Such an inspiration!

Beck said...

This was a gorgeous post.... loss is such an awful, awful thing to have to live with.

Ed said...

There is strength in memories of the pleasant. This was really pleasing!

Kristin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss but congrats on getting back to something you loved!

YoMomma said...

I echo everyone's sentiments here. Losing your dad must be hard but good for you for getting back out there. I think this is good for you not only physically but could unintentionally be good therapy. :)

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

I understand your reticence to get back into the old schedules when everything seems like it should be (and is) different. It sounds like you are ready to make life return to as close to normal as it will ever be.

I'd give you a huge hug right now if I was there. It was so nice meeting you, too, at BlogHer.

And my favorite class is BodyStep.... and I haven't been since June 10th. Sigh.

followthatdog said...

I"m sorry for your loss. Over time the gym routine will come back. I hope you find that time helps soothe the sadness too.

Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas said...

Good for you. Taking care of your physical health is so important to getting your emotional health together.

Hugs honey.

louann said...

That made me think. We need time to sit still and watch somethings pass us by. And then we get to take a little step forward.

Maureen said...

We all must move forward. You are right; he would have wanted it that way. Great post.

Heidi said...

That's great that you got back into it. I plan on starting my exercise up again after the kids go back to school.
Your daughter is so insightful and sweet.

Kim said...

I almost could'nt finish reading it.. I know that sounds silly.. but well you know.. but all I can say is thank goodness for the kiddos right..they pull us out just when we need it..

Kristin said...

Way to go for getting back on the horse. I hope peace has found you!

marfmom said...

Aww, this made me tear up a little bit. I lost my dad 3 years ago, just before I got married. Now that I have a baby I miss him even more, but like your daughter suggested, sometimes I try to pretend he's still here and watching my son grow up.

Chocolate Lover said...

So sorry about your dad! But you have a pretty smart little girl on your hands I think!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Good for you getting back to your gym class! I keep a picture of my dad right on my desk so I can still see him all the time. I miss both my parents so much. My dad died in Feb. of 2007 and my mom on December 2, 1999.

Happy SITS Day!

Elizabeth a.k.a. Type A Mommy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know the year after my father passed away was especially difficult for me, and although it's never gotten easier, it's somehow become something I've accepted. I can't quite explain it. Getting back to the gym will help infinitely, especially if you love that class you take, it sure sounds like fun. And I hope your knee is feeling better, too!

Sherri @ Luv a Bargain said...

What a sweet thing your daughter said. Children never cease to amaze me with their insight.

Christina said...

Speaking from experience... those routines can be a blessing and a curse after something tragic. I'm glad that you're able to figure out which one this class was for you.

Christine said...

I like your daughter's advice. What's wrong with pretending...if only for a moment. That's what minds sometimes do when they're overwhelmed.
(((HUGS))) Wishing you peace.

Kim said...

You are a good writer. I'm sure you'll be glad you have these blog memories to look back at.
@cheapchichome.blogspot.com

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

That was beautiful. I am sorry about your dad.

teachmama said...

so sorry about your dad. so, so sorry. but good for you for getting back into the exercise routing--that's not easy, but your body will be smiling later....after all the aches and pains subside...:*)

AmericanTribal said...

I'm very sorry about the loss of your father, but I'm glad you got back to your exercise class. Working out and sweating is awesome therapy.
Your daughter sounds very inciteful. It's too bad we can't all stay that innocent as life throws hurdles at us, isn't it?

Jenn Erickson said...

Beautiful! You have amazing depth and spirit! I'm in awe of your perseverance and energy. Happy SITS day!

2busy said...

Your daughter is one smart girl! Great advice...

Helene said...

I love the way you write...you express your thoughts so beautifully!

What your daughter said was so very thoughtful and sweet. Kids are amazing at times like that...they seem to sense that we need to be comforted, for a change.

Mammatalk said...

Wow. From the mouths of babes...

Kristin said...

Okay...that post truly brought tears to my eyes...especially the innoncence and wisdom of your little daughter. Amazing!!

I Wonder Wye said...

That sums it up nicely -- Life is tenuous. Life is fleeting. Life is precious. It's what we make of it. And it's fragile.......

foxy said...

Wow - you've got some beautifully written posts, girl! I've enjoyed them all.

I wish I were back at Gold's Gym myself, so i could take those BodyJam classes... such fun!

Lorri Jeanne said...

Again, wow. I've never taken dance or aerobics classes. All I've ever done was weights.

muummmmeeeeee...... said...

That was so beautifully written but so sad. I loved your little girl's comment x

Michelle said...

OH MAN. What's up with all these sad posts you have me reading. Now I understand a little better why your mom was overseas without your dad.

Be blessed that you had a good dad to miss. We all don't. I dont mean to belittle your sorrows. Please don't take it that way. Just count your blesssings. KNow what I mean?

Marie said...

Glad you are back working out, that will lift your spirits....How is your knee holding up?

Sooo insightful of your daughter....Loved her comment.

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Popping over from SITS. Wish I could tell you it gets easier after losing a parent, but I lost my Dad about 15 years ago and my Mom exactly 5 years ago this month and I still think about them every day. Parents are special and irreplacable, even when they drive us crazy. The best way to pay them back is to provide those wonderful memories for their grandchildren.

When did I become my Mom said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your dad. I lost my father-in-law way too soon. We have just taken it a day at a time. 5 years later, we still miss him. But we are no longer in paralysis.

Your daughter has given you some good advice.

Here's to you, and your family, healing. A day at a time.

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