Week 6

Week 6 summary:

Weight: 231.0 (down 5; total loss 7.5)

Activity level:  I’ve mowed the yard a couple of times, planted some flowers, spent most of a day on my feet while helping butcher a couple dozen chickens, and a trip to Walmart.  But I’ve also been putting in a lot of hours at work, so during the week I tend to come home and sit on the couch.  I’ve got to be better about going for a walk or doing a little yoga in the evening.

Yes, I know my week 6 update and the weigh in report is late.  I did weigh myself on Sunday night but it was late and then I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday.  My parents and aunt ventured up north with me for Memorial Day.  I was really good about what I ate since I knew we were going to be cooped up in the car all day.

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Tough reminder

Week 4 summary:

Weight: 236.0 (up 2; total loss 2.5)
Activity level: Mowed the yard (manually propelled push mower), which took about an hour, on Tuesday. Walked partway across town to pick up a couple of things at the store yesterday.  I spent the day trying to get some sewing projects – baby gifts – finished up so I could send them with my parents today.

Week 4 brought a big reality check. I can’t eat badly and not exercise. One or the other can be okay . . . within reason of course. But both at once is a recipe for disaster. I got lucky – only up 2 pounds and I’ve still got a net loss. This was a nice kick-in-the-ass reminder.

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Week 3 update

Week 3 and I’m already late on my updates.  Oh well, it’s an off week for the scale, so I’m not going to get too worried about it.

I wasn’t too active this week, but I was pretty well-behaved on the diet front.  On Tuesday, I spent an hour walking through the grocery store, then lugged all of the bags into the house when I got home.  I had to work on Saturday morning, lining up students for graduation.  I think I walked 2 miles just pacing back and forth on a 30 foot stretch of floor in the library.  Now that summer hours are here getting a workout in should be easier.

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Week 2 roundup

Here’s the week 2 summary:

Weight: 234.0 lbs (loss of 4.5)
Activity level: I worked late several evenings, so I didn’t get out and do something until weekend arrived. I got in a nice 40 minute walk yesterday and I’ve been on the go all weekend: hauling laundry, cleaning the garage, pulling up carpet, etc. No time for snacking, which is good.

I’m pretty pleased so far, but I know it’s early. The trick will be to do better now and keep it going later. It’s going to be another crazy week at work but I need to try harder to at least go for a walk after work.

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Week 1 check-in

Not much to report for week 1. I made pretty healthy food choices, but I wasn’t active. Cold wet weather discouraged me and I didn’t get out like I wanted to. Oh well – there will be weeks like that sometimes I guess.

On to week 2!

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Keeping me accountable

I doubt anyone reads here anymore.  If so, I’m hoping all (or any) of you will help keep me accountable as I take on my new exercise and healthy eating plan.  I’ve added a few some pounds to my frame over the past couple of years and I need to remove them.  My diet isn’t terrible, but my activity level is shameful.  I spend all day sitting behind a desk and then come home and do the same.

Keeping myself motivated is going to be my biggest challenge.  I am really good about exercising for the first few weeks, then I get busy, sick, tired, or whatever and skip a day or two.  A day or two turns into a week and before I know it, I’m right back where I started.  So I’m going public in an effort to stick to it this time. I’m taking a ‘vacation of a lifetime’ next fall and I really want to stay on course. I’m hoping that by posting my activity levels weekly, my short and long term weight goals, and current weight every other week, I can stay motivated to reach my goals.

Here’s my beginning info:    Current weight: 238.5 lbs
Weight Goals: 199 lbs by December 25, 2013; 170lbs before September 23, 2014
Exercise goals: Short-term – at least 20 minutes of activity 3-4 times a week; Long-term – I’d like to start running, so maybe a 5K by next spring?

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Fresh Widow: Say his name: the #1 tip, and my reality

The text of the post below is stolen from Robin at Fresh Widow.  I don’t think I could have said it any better than I could.  If you want to read it (and more!) at her blog, it can be found at: Fresh Widow: Say his name: the #1 tip, and my reality.

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A long time ago, I wrote this post in draft. It didn’t get very far.

But the topic is MY NUMBER ONE TIP for how to help a widowed person: SAY THEIR NAME. And it’s also why I HATE that everyone ELSE thinks the number one topic on “how to help” is what NOT to say to a widowed person. Everyone publishes the list of what not to say. Because it’s good SEO. People WANT advice. Magazine editors think it’s “not as depressing” as the actual articles about our lives after loss (WTF?). Even grief counselors and “community leaders” dig into this topic with zeal.

Which SUCKS because it spreads the idea that you should be afraid of saying the wrong thing about a widowed person, when the chief problem of most widowed people after about the first two months is that NO ONE WILL TALK TO THEM.

In general, widowed people feel isolated. Sometimes, they feel they must have leprosy because so many people avoid them. (Don’t think we can’t tell. For a while we’re in a fog, but we can be very perceptive, too, and more than a little paranoid.) I often hear from friends and neighbors who “would like to help” that they are sure the widowed person’s close friends and family are in some kind of inner circle and stick around and support the widow. Sometimes, the closest people feel the most threatened or fearful. Widowed people describe their communities “disappearing” around them after the casseroles end. It’s not universal, but in the U.S. and Canada, the rearranged rolodex is THE most common complaint by far.

Well, it underlies the most common complaint: people acting awkward and saying stupid things. But the lists of “what not to say” don’t help.

I, for one, do not want to encourage people to be frightened of someone who has lost a partner. Many widowed people (not most) know that stupid things are not intended to hurt them, but they feel pretty damn alone when they hear “He’s in a better place,” or “At least you had a chance to say goodbye.” (Let alone, “did he have life insurance?”)

So why did I make the “Shit People Say to Widows” video? Because it does unite us as a community, because I thought it was a chance to see the topic through each other’s eyes for 3 minutes, and because it was fun as hell and funnier than.

Back to the topic: SAY HIS NAME. I felt I couldn’t blog in an honest way about it because I was a pseudonymous blogger.  (Maybe I overthink things a little? RILLY?) Plus, the tips are really part of another project that isn’t public yet. 🙂 Now I have done enough for the widowed community that I have a name, a real name, as myself: not just as Supa. (Though many people call me Supa anyway.)

So I’m “coming out.” My name is Robin Moore (for the few of you who don’t already know me). My first husband was Kevin MacDonald.

So, SAY HIS NAME, or her name, a lot. Say it a week after they died. Say it a month after they died, and a year, and two years, and ten years. Say it when you think of it. Say it in front of the widowed person, say it in front of their children. It’s okay; it won’t “remind” them of the loss. No one loses a life partner and just tries to forget it.

When people don’t say his (or her) name, it makes the family feel like they are the only one who remembers their loved one. (I’m going to stop saying “or her” but I hope you know I mean widow OR widower and him OR her, and they didn’t have to be married or straight to have a similar set of feelings or experiences after losing their partner. Do don’t back out on some legality.)

Write his name in a card and you share a memory, whenever you think of it, even if it’s years later (it will be less likely to get lost than it would have been right away!).  Write his name in a card for the anniversary of his death, or on his birthday, or on their anniversary, or call and say his name. Most people like to not be the only one remembering these dates, and they can’t help but recall the dates because seasons keep changing and other dates keep appearing and you can always smell and feel when it is in the year in some vague way. Remembering is not an act of will, or from the brain. Time and life are all around us everywhere and if we are well, they are in our bodies.

So, share a photo if you find one while cleaning up. Share a song or a silly story on a holiday. Call, email, or write a real note. Even if you have been out of touch in a while. Even if you USED to be scared of the widowed person.

As time goes by (and when I say “time,” I am specifically talking about periods of more than five years), the traumas turn to memories, the sad memories become fond ones, many details get lost, and with enough time, the widowed person might even forget the date of their anniversary. That doesn’t mean they will think it never happened; it will not remove the events of their life “before” from their life. And every experience will include the absence of that loved one, even if it not quite the first thing to come to mind. And no — these memories do not threaten my new husband, any more than his ex-wife’s name threatens me.

So, say his name. Show your friend that you remember him, too. He’s not just a loss. He was a person and a very big part of your friend’s life for a pretty long time. He didn’t just disappear when he died (though it can feel like a disappearance for a little surreal while). He changed the people he loved. (This is true in divorces, too. You can’t just “un love” someone or “un live” the life you already shared. Let’s be human, please!).

I’m sharing, above, the memorial quilt from my church, on which I embroidered his name during support group one night. I thought I was doing a terrible job, and I switched the thread midstream because I thought it came out too lumpy. It looks fine to me now. Every time I’m in church the quilt faces me. His name is among hundreds of other names. Each quilt records decades of love — fathers, mothers, lovers, grandparents, and children. We have a whole quilt devoted to children who died, and it’s comforting to see the range, from newborns to M.D.s.

They can’t be forgotten. They won’t be forgotten. Don’t you act like you forgot.

Say his name.

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Hitting a wall

I feel broken tonight.  Like the stresses of life have beaten me.  And I’m not sure if I should try to fight back or just curl up in a ball and wait for the beating to end.  I’m angry enough to want to lash out, but I don’t have anyone or anything to yell at or hit. Well, except the wall in the hallway that I hit (literally) earlier.

I’ve been under a lot of stress at work lately.  Too much to do and not enough hours in the day.  I actually worked about 30 hours last weekend, so today feels more like Friday than Wednesday.  It’s disheartening to think that I have to go in tomorrow.  There’s also been a flood of students into my office with questions, which is normal for this time of year.  I like seeing them but a couple of today’s visitors were memorable.  One was angry, the other in tears.  It’s hard for me to deal with their emotions at both extremes.

I’ve also recently started seeing someone again.  I thought things were going well.  We were enjoying getting to know each other.  It was nice to get out and be social, and to be reminded that I don’t have to be alone.  I’m not quite sure what happened, but his interest has waned.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I fuss and worry about being liked so the cooling of his attentions is very disturbing to me.  I understand if he’s just not interested (I can be a little much for some people – ha) but if I did/said something I’d like to know what it was so I don’t repeat the same mistake again.  We’re still sort of talking but I’m not quite sure where I stand.  And that uncertainty drives me crazy!

I’m also trying to renew my faith.  Renew may not be quite the right word though.  I’ve been angry with God for awhile now – I guess you could say I was giving him the ‘silent treatment’ – and I’m realizing that anger isn’t doing anything but making me miserable.  Slowly but surely I’m trying to improve myself and repair my faith, not just in God but in myself as well.

All of this combined with some concerns about family and friends, the change in seasons (fall to winter is particularly hard for me), and the upcoming holidays has finally become too much to handle.  I was muttering under my breath all the way to my car after work today, ranted on the drive home, and have actually cried a couple of times tonight.  Not that silent cry where tears slowly trickle down, but the ugly, puffy-eyed, snot-filled, uncontrollable sobs cry.  The first round of tears came at the end of my drive home, which probably wasn’t the best idea but I couldn’t stop it.  The second round came as I did something I haven’t done in over a year – slid my wedding rings back onto my finger.  They’ve been there for over an hour and I’m amazed how quickly that weight on my finger became familiar again.  I know I can’t wear them all of the time (too weird) but I’m surprised at how much comfort they bring me on a bad day.

Well, enough whining for one night.  I’ve written a book (thanks for staying with me, if you’ve lasted this long) and my hand hurts. Just needed to get all of that off of my chest.

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Unique and Devestating Loss

I have tried (and I think failed) to describe the feelings of loss that surrounded me after Chad’s death.  I have found a much better explanation so I am borrowing it to post here. This from a message board that I frequent.  It does a wonderful job of explaining the depth of loss a widow/ers go through and the challenges they face.  The original post can be found here.

Unique and Devastating Loss (by WifeLess)

With the death of our spouse (which here includes fiancée, significant other,
partner, etc.), we grieve the loss of so much more than someone we merely
loved or were close to, like a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend or pet. We
grieve instead the loss of: The one we loved most deeply, cherished and felt
the very closest to. The one we swore commitment to in that unique human
bond of marriage, which many consider sacred. The one we shared the
ultimate partnership with to live as one and perhaps bear children with. The
one who embodied our true sense of home. The one who was our best friend
and who was to be our companion for life. The one we confided in, depended
on and trusted most. The one who really knew, understood and accepted us
as we were. The one we felt safe and protected with. The one we shared
private moments and intimate feelings with. The one we mated souls with.

But it is not just that this most precious person has been torn from our life,
as unbearably heartbreaking as that alone is. With the death of our spouse,
and only of our spouse, many additional profound losses must be grieved as
well. For we also suffer: The loss of who we ourselves were while with them.
The loss of the couple we were once half of. The loss of the life partnership
we once formed. The loss of the husband or wife role we once embraced.
The loss of the life we once lived. The loss of the plans we once made. The
loss of the dreams we once shared. The loss of the future we once envisioned.

Amidst all this, we are also suddenly confronted with many hardships we
never expected to face at this point in our life. Besides financial survival,
increased domestic burdens and perhaps single parenting, additional
challenges less apparent to others but all too real and terrifying to us. We
must now find it within ourselves: To create a new identity. To redefine
our role in life. To establish a new connection to the world. To build a new
network of social relationships. To discover a new sense of purpose. To
formulate a new set of goals. To decide on a new direction for our future.

And we must accomplish these without dishonoring our former life, but while
suppressing bittersweet memories of that life, so that they not hold us back.
Memories of happier times mostly, but also those of our spouse’s death,
either sudden and shocking or after prolonged illness. We must further
endure the feelings of guilt and disloyalty that follow us as we attempt to
forget and move forward, but with our heartstrings tied so tightly to the past.

And all these tasks must be taken on at the lowest possible point of our life in
the worst state imaginable. When we are the weakest, most vulnerable, most
insecure, most isolated, most heartbroken and most emotionally exhausted
we have ever been. Without that one person we long ago became accustomed
to relying on to help get us through life’s greatest challenges. The one who,
just by being there, would have provided us emotional comfort and moral
support to draw upon, as well as the strength and confidence we need to
complete those tasks and so much more. But now we face all this alone.

Profound indeed is the death of our spouse. Unique and devastating. For
nearly all of us, much more catastrophic to our life than the loss of any other.
And truly comparable, many of us widows and widowers often feel, to one
other death only. Ours.

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Tired of the struggle

It’s been a rough few weeks.  I can’t really pin it on one specific cause, just a lot of contributing factors.  I’m not quite sure how to shake the dark cloud I feel like I’ve been living under.  I get an occasional good day but it seems like I have more bad days than good.  I thought I was past all of this – guess I was wrong. 

I hate feeling like this.  I’m the type of person who sees a problem and wants to find a solution.  I don’t like not having the answers.  It frustrates me to no end.  Maybe talking to someone would help – the question is “Who?”  I don’t like burdening anyone with my problems, so I just bottle it all up.  Eventually I’ll reach my limit and ‘blow my cork’; the question becomes when, where, and who will get caught up in it?  So many people think it’s been long enough that I’m ‘over it.’   Oh, if only that were true!

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