Grief protection

Grief, if you’ve ever felt it, is over-powering.

What to do about it has been a source of discussion in grief counseling for years.  When Leroy died, I would experience waves of grief.  The sadness would come over me at the oddest times; I’d be sitting on the couch watching TV or driving in the car when something on the radio would trigger a thunderstorm of tears.  The grief would pour out of me.  Grief counselors would try to explain how the process works and how long this would take to pass, and I would listen, hoping to hear something that would guide me through this awful time.

Walking helped the most.

I was a lucky girl because of a friend had experienced a tragic loss of her own shortly before Leroy died.  We walked together and talked together, helping each other along the way.  The walking never stopped.  We have pounded the dirt at the C and O Canal for years now, talking through our grief, her breast cancer scare, my adjusting to being a widow, and just plain old daily life.  Walking is our safety net.

Amanda Loudin, a Washington Post journalist, writes about how “Exercise helps when you need it most” in today’s paper.  Experts like Allison Gilbert, a grief expert and author of “Passed and Present” says that what grief takes away-energy, joy, focus- exercise can give back.

I’m living proof of this phenomenon. I’m sure there’s a chemical reason exercise works, and certainly a psychological reason too and I appreciate both, but I’m most grateful for how it just simply pulled me out of some of the worst times of my life.

Grief is part of loss.  It comes with the territory.  But there’s no reason not to step up and step out of its reach before the damage can’t be reversed.

Anyone for a walk?


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Brady Merrill July 29, 2017 at 7:33 pm

I said I would ride a century (100 miles) if I made it. I got through treatments, I got some semblance of normalcy back and got on a bike, one year after, 45 miles , two years after 65 miles, third year a Century.
I faced each set back with the same thoughts, I will get back on the bike, I will get back on the bike.
I have been lucky that after every set back I could get back to way eased the pain for me.


Heather Erickson July 24, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience, as well as the Article by Amanda Loudin. I had an interesting experience recently that made me think about coping mechanisms I will one day need. My husband has stage IV lung cancer. He’s lived with it for 5 years. I recently had foot surgery and stayed in my home for about 6 weeks. At the end of the 6 weeks, I experienced severe anxiety and panic attacks when it came to resuming life and leaving the house. I had to force myself to go to church and other meetings, but it wasn’t easy. Getting out was the only way to conquer that fear. It was amazing how quickly it developed. I’m sure that not everyone is that way, but it made me realize that when my husband dies, I won’t be able to hole up. If I do, I may never come out. The idea of walking is wonderful. It’s a way of still having solitude, but not hiding in the house.


sam July 22, 2017 at 10:44 am

Nice post


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