In Memory

November 18, 2014


I don’t know exactly where to begin this post, or exactly where it is leading me, so I will just start, “ahem”.

Most important things first, I guess. I’m still alive, still around, and still enthusiastic about cycling and about my goals.

What I am NOT is in the shape I was just some weeks ago, or actively exercising right now, or eating even remotely well. But, to quote my mom*, “I will be”.*

What destabilizing force has wrought so much damage? Was it my own well-chronicled “unforced errors” in battling with food & fitness? No. I was firing on all pistons in mid-September and had been for several weeks. I’d NEVER been that focused, that dialed-in. I could glimpse the future, my cycling future, and it was good.

No, what occurred was a catastrophe from without which initiated a cascade of negativity within. I am sad to say that my mother went into the ER with a major health situation in mid-September, and after a total rollercoaster of emotions for her very loving family, she has passed away on October 5th.

There is a LOT that I could dump out here from the proverbial therapist’s online-blog couch about the situation. Part of me thinks I should. After all, a big point of this blog is to preserve things for MYSELF, for future reference. Part of me also hesitates to do so, for varying reasons.

I think that I will suffice it to say that I loved, and love, my mom very much, felt great tenderness toward her, and her passing devastated me well beyond what I was consciously aware of for at least a few weeks. My buddy Mr. O accurately assessed that I was most probably in a kind of shock. Her passing, quick and sudden as it was, and only after a rollercoaster of days in which I fully anticipated she would return to, basically, normal and walk out of the hospital and return to her home, caught me off guard and invoked a kind of shellshock. I think it’s safe to say I hadn’t psychologically steeled myself sufficiently for the storm, and consequently the tsunami swept me far out to the deep water.

It’s funny to me that a lot of the things you hear, even cliches, about the passing of a close loved one, are all (or largely) true. I thought the concept of “stages of grief you pass through” was a cliche that surely, with few exceptions, was without substance. The typical things about wishing you could have spent more time with the person, said more things, done more with and for them – I was sure that was true, but the emotional punch with which it hits you was something I wasn’t prepared for.

One thing that struck me – still strikes me – over and over since her passing is the extent to which a lot of what I feel cannot really even be Englished. It’s like a “reality” or a sensation that defies capturing in language. Very peculiar feeling.

What does all of this have to do with a bicycling blog? Well, I’ll throw another cliche at you – everything, and nothing.

I think it’s safe for me to conclude from this distance that I didn’t handle her death particularly well in terms of absorbing it into my life. In most respects relating to my work, my relating to people etc, I was able to continue without issue. But my fitness went right down the tubes as I ate myself into and through grief. I performed a lot of self-analysis during this period, and a lot of what I’ve found is not sufficiently cheery to expose to the light of day in a public blog. But suffice to say that I’ve become aware of more than one or two reasons that I allowed myself to go downhill.

As I’ve told my dad recently, I am, if not fullfledged emerging from it right now, then certainly on the outskirts of it. “It” being this funk, this depression, this self-destructive directionless descent. I have put back on many pounds in a very short span of several weeks. No, not dozens…but, more than 5. More than 10, in fact comfortably more than 10, and that’s about all I have to say about that. I dug myself a nice hole to climb back out of in order simply to return to where I was in the halcyon days of mid-September before my world was crushed.

The good news is that I DO want to get out of this deep hole, and I AM going to do so. I don’t know how long it’ll take – that will partially depend on whether I am in fact emerging from it right now or only on the outskirts, yet to really cast off the “funk”. But I do feel confident to say that I am not going to stay here forever, I’m not going to stay here LONG if any more at all, and I am going to get after it again. And I WILL reach my prior state, and well beyond. I’ve spent a lot of my time these last few weeks thinking about my goals, and even as I pushed them a little further, a little further, a little further away, they have served as a distant point of light that I know I am going to navigate toward again, with eagerness and excitement.

Thank you for reading, and don’t give up.

* one of the last lucid things my mom ever said to me.  “Mom, are you ok?” — “No.  But I will be.”