By Dan T
Life has this weird sense of humor in that it seems to enjoy knocking us down from time to time.
We’ve all been there – the question is, how do we deal with it, the stress of whatever the situation and continue to focus on our weight loss goals?
The short answer? There is no magic formula. You just have to try and stay the course.
I’m certainly no different when it comes to personal loss. This April
14 will mark the fifth year since I lost nearly everything in a house fire (minus a basket of laundry, a lap top and a truck) … that was about as much chaos as I wanted to ever endure. But somehow, I got through it, but only because of a lot, lot, lot of help along the way.
But as bad as the loss of a house is, nothing compares to the loss of a loved one. And again, I’m certainly not immune. I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost young people I once coached, and in the last few years, there have been several who have left us in our family. And as I write this on Friday night, Feb. 8, my family again is reeling with the death of a beloved uncle, father, husband, who succumbed to the horrific disease that is cancer. This one today, even though I was preparing for it in the last few weeks and days because we knew my uncle was slipping fast, has left me with a variety of emotions.
I’m sad today because I loved my uncle. His children and myself and my siblings have always been close because we’re all close in age. So looking back in my memory bank today, there were dozens upon dozens of fun memories through the years of our families together. My uncle also bailed me out of a few bad situations through the years with his knowledge and expertise, but above all, his willingness to want to help. We probably had hundreds of conversations through the years, as he had a great gift for gab. My one regret is I never got the chance to say good-bye, as he got sick and went downhill so fast, there just wasn’t any time.
So while we were prepared for his passing – especially after a two hour phone conversation Thursday night with my cousin, his second oldest – times like these are especially difficult. And we all go through them. Eventually, we all face our own mortality, and at some point, we likely will have to endure the loss of our own parents, just like all my cousins are doing today. I’ve been in kind of a fog all day when the word came from my mother this afternoon. Sadness is the first emotion, but certainly, there’s some anger at the circumstances that took this valued member of our family from us at just 66 years old. We feel robbed of another 20 years of having him in our lives and search for answers.
What does this have to do with a weight loss journey, you ask?
Directly, it really has nothing to do with it. But stress can block a person’s success. As much ground as I’ve gained in a month in this program, it would be easy to slip into feeling sorry for myself this weekend, order up a pizza, grab a 12-pack and go to town … in fact, it may even be a justifiable response to the situation.
However, doing that won’t bring my uncle back, won’t really make me feel any better and certainly won’t help my cousins, their children, my aunt or anyone in my family. What I need to do now is maintain my focus on the task and the journey that I’m on and find other ways to relieve the stress that I’m feeling tonight and what I likely will feel down the road. That’s one reason why I turned to my computer tonight and put these thoughts down. As a writer, this is my therapy and it does help.
At times of great loss, whether it’s of property like a home, or the death of a loved one, we have to turn our attention to something positive, if that’s possible. And in my personal journey, which is far from complete, I need to lean on other sources to keep myself level.
My stress hit a pretty high point two weeks ago, and the gains I felt weren’t that great. In the past week, they leveled out a bit, and I had more success.
Where this week takes me with an impending, emotional family gathering at another funeral, remains to be seen. But I have to stay the course, and if you’re on this journey, you need to find a way to do the same.
Even if, just like losing weight, it will be difficult.
You just find a way.