There are so many ways that I cope and deal with my grief, and it has evolved over time, and I have needed different things as other life stressors and changes have happened. I was already in therapy when Boris died, and I increased the number of times I was going, plus added an additional therapist who specialized in trauma. One of the most impactful things I did was connecting with other grieving people, especially those who’d lost a partner. I did this through support groups, joining online support communities, and attending Camp Widow, for example. I read a lot of grief books, listened to podcasts, and honestly, I am not sure if I’d have survived without Nora McInerny.
But, one of the less obvious ways I made it through was through movement. I remember in the early days I took a lot of walks. I would walk through my neighborhood alone or with a friend, and I would walk at the cemetery. It helped to put my energy into something physical, and to feel like I was pushing through the thick grief that I felt so stuck in. Another form of movement that I’d always loved, but it was not part of my regular routine, is dancing. I discovered this YouTube channel, The Fitness Marshall, maybe a couple of years before Boris died. But, at some point in my early months of grief, I started doing the videos more regularly. Then, the pandemic hit, and their videos became a highlight of my week. When my life got even more stressful after my dad fell and his health declined, I was doing their workouts at least a few times a week. I ended up joining their subscription service, and it became part of my regular routines.
The reason why I am writing about this now is because I had the opportunity to see the Fitness Marshall on tour last weekend and do a meet-and-greet. It was incredible. People who I’d watched on my screen and participated in their workouts for years were in front of me, and I was surrounded by other people who were equally (or more) excited about this event. I had this little voice in my head that told me it was silly or weird, or that I should be embarrassed by this sort of niche obsession. I mean, it felt sort of awkward to meet them and to dance with strangers. I was nervous and worried that I looked stupid. But the rest of my brain was like STOP! You are a badass! This brings you joy, and you should be soaking up every ounce of joy you can! I have been through some really hard things, and a lot of life feels painted with sadness. It is hard to find joy. So, when I have opportunities to do things that are fun and joyful and in this case health, then I need to do it. I need to dance to the Fitness Marshall workouts and get excited about seeing them on tour.
I hope that others who have gone through the loss of a partner, plus all of the additional stressors and losses, have something like this in their life. Something that is just for you, and that might feel silly or weird to other people but brings you joy, and that is all that matters.