Thankful Thursday: Internal Reflection

thankfulthursAs the holidays approach, I begin my internal reflection on what I am grateful and thankful for this time of year. Yes, of course, I’m thankful for my husband, family, friends, & Murph, but there are a lot of other things I’m thankful for too. I am also taking part in Amanda’s 30 Days of Thanks Challenge. Check out her blog at Diary of a Semi-Health Nut.

I’m thankful to finally be comfortable with myself. For years, I struggled with social anxiety (and still do to some degree), always thinking I had to act and dress a certain way for others to like me. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin for much of high school. Then college came and I discovered- Hey! If I drink I become this really outgoing, social person! The person I always wanted to be! Unfortunately, it only lowered my self-esteem and made me regret many things in the end (Ahem, where did my phone go? I broke another camera?!). Once I got over the “cool” going out and drinking phase, I discovered that I’m happy with who I am. I’m not a social butterfly….and that’s OK! Now more than ever, I want to do things that make me happy. Life is way too short to be doing things to solely please others.

I’m thankful for my upbringing. I feel very fortunate to have had two parents that truly cared about me. I always thought my mom was overprotective (which she was), but I’m realizing now as I get closer to contemplating parenthood, that those acts were out of love and concern. If my mom was still here today, I’d tell her how happy I am she cared so much. I’d also tell her that one day, when I have my own child, I will be just as overbearing.  Thanks, Mom.

296016_879634873096_1201841277_nI’m thankful to not have succumbed to despair after my mom’s passing. There aren’t checklists for surviving after a loved one has passed. I could’ve been overcome with the devastation of losing such an integral part of my life. I could’ve shut out everyone else and self-medicated. Instead, I chose to lean on my family. I understand that losing her is not something I “get over”. It’s something I accept.


My dad and I at my mom’s memorial bench outside of the school she worked at.

It was hard to hear the words, “I’m sorry,” after Mom’s passing because all I wanted to yell out of frustration was, “You had nothing to do with it. This isn’t your fault. There’s nothing to be sorry for.” I also hated thinking that others would feel sorry for me. At the same time, I realize there just aren’t words to be said that are appropriate. Honestly, it was those who said nothing that helped the most in our time of need. I’m thankful that though I miss my mom immensely, I haven’t given up on life. It will be difficult to raise my own children without her, something I never envisioned myself doing, but I know I will do it because I had the best “teacher” to learn from. My mom’s jest for life was unlike anyone elses. I’m thankful to have her memory to pass on to my own kids one day.

What are you thankful for today?

30 Days of Thanks Challenge on Diary of a Semi-Health Nut

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I Run to Heal

duskrunI love my mornings and am usually energized after a shower and cup of coffee. I’ve never been a morning exerciser though (meaning really early, 5:30 or 6:00). I think the perfect time to go for a run is 8:00 am, however that doesn’t jive with my current work schedule {summer I miss you}. I’ve switched to exercising after work, which most days is very doable. I’m flexible in that if I need to stay longer at work, I will and move my work outs around. My go-to and favorite work out continues to be running.

Tuesday night I headed out at 6:00pm for a short, 4 mile run at dusk. It was absolutely beautiful. Stress just melts away when this is the scene ahead of you.

When I see this picture, it reminds me of peace, of calm, and of my mom. I always think my mom when I run outside. It’s not that I don’t allow myself to think of my mom throughout my day, however, when I run my mind clears and I feel closer to heaven in some way. My mom loved being outside, taking walks, biking, and exercising. Without this outlet to mourn peacefully and calmly, I wouldn’t emotionally have the strength to deal with her loss day to day.

If someone were to ask me why I run, it would be hard to incorporate every aspect. I probably would say something along the lines of the health benefit. But honestly, it’s been an outlet for me to release frustration, pain, anxiety, and to mourn the loss of my mom. 

Before my mom passed in June 2012, I distinctly remember her smiling at me after surgery and telling me I was her “ray of sunshine.” I always look to the sky when I see bright rays of sunshine, most often during my runs, feeling in some way a connection again with my mom. It’s hard during these times of loss because all you have left are these small moments.

The answer to why I run is not simple and running is not something I ever envisioned myself doing. However, it brings me peace, sanity, and closer to my mom and that’s not something I’m willing to give up anytime soon. 

To grieve is to mourn publicly. I thank you for letting me mourn the loss of my mom publicly because it helps me to heal.