Back To Yoga

" First step into Advocacy - Elizabeth and I with Congresswoman Nita Lowey" - Washington - March 2010

First step into Advocacy - Elizabeth and I with Congresswoman Nita Lowey - Washington - March 2010

I think that the fact that I kept writing when Andrew died, kept me alive.
Even in the blackest of moments, when everything inside me felt as though it had been hacked and butchered, I would write, even if I only wrote: “I can’t write today.”

Breathing, swallowing, going to bathroom, keeping my eyes open, all the basic vital functions were overwhelming.
Even though I couldn’t eat or drink for days on end, I kept telling myself that as long as I could string two words together, I could stay alive, for my children, for my husband. In two months I lost 40 pounds,(I suppose there have to be some benefits to remaining alive through the fires of hell ;), but I have since put it back again, and more)
Like a harness though, writing kept me connected to life, it kept me from giving in to my desire to never wake up again. Writing and knowing that I would find a way to turn Andrew’s death into life, for others.

And gradually the activism and advocacy took shape, a path became visible. First one step then another, albeit with the occasional relapse, but I made it all the way to the “Get Your Wellness On” Fair in September.

But now the first anniversary of Andrew’s death is fast approaching and I feel exhausted.
I mean, I am already planning next year’s fair as well as the new “Community Love” project, raising money to sponsor two athletes to compete at the 2012 London Olympics, and starting a new blog “Get Your Wellness On.”
But I find that I am a bit slow. Take yesterday for instance, having literally spent three days sleeping, yesterday morning I got up intending to: go to Apple Farm to buy vegetables, then on to Michael’s to get a special “thingy” to hung the picture of Andrew that I’ve had made into a poster for the Fair. Once back from shopping I intended making a chicken soup from scratch for Hugh who now has the bug I had before the fair, and then go for a walk with Elizabeth.

This is how the day went instead: I did get up, showered and got dressed, but then I messed around on the computer for a while. Then I spoke on the phone for half an hour with a special friend from Sicily. Then I heated up some chicken noodle soup from a box (at least it was organic). By then I was exhausted.
I called Elizabeth “Do you want to go for a walk?” I asked her.
“Yes, it’s a nice day.”
“I am so tired though, I think I am going to have a little lie down first.”
“Yes, yes, go and have your rest. Call me when you wake up and we go for a walk.”

Yippee, I thought, she didn’t drag me out of the house to go traipsing around the pond. On the other hand I was disappointed because I knew that once I got out of the house and got to the pond with Elizabeth, I would have been fine. We would have talked all the time and before we knew it, we would have walked a couple of miles.
But the afternoon sleep was so nice.

Fast forward.

I was already in bed last night when the phone rang, it was Elizabeth.

“You knew that if I went to sleep I would sleep for hours and we wouldn’t go for a walk,” I accused her.
She laughed, “You need the rest, don’t fight it. You wouldn’t be sleeping if you didn’t need it, it is all part of healing. And to be honest with you,” she continued. “I needed a rest myself.”
“Are you teaching tomorrow?” I asked her.
“As a matter of fact I am not.”
“Do you want to go to yoga with me in the morning?”
“Which kind?”
“The gentle, meditative kind.”
“Yes I’ll come. I haven’t been for a while and I am out of shape.”
“You and me both. I fell off the yoga wagon a while ago and now I really need to stop talking about it and get back on. I want to get fit again.”

And so my friends, I am going to leave you know, grab my yoga mat and go.
Perhaps you can join me and roll out your yoga mat wherever you are.
Enjoy it.

Have a great day,


11 thoughts on “Back To Yoga

  1. Yay for you doing yoga today…

    And your writing keeps me going too! (No pressure!!!! Lol) Seriously, thank you for the talent you bring to day by day chronicle the grief you experience as a survivor giving voice to many who suffer silently, secretly, and for some shamefully.

    Today’s post was so authentic; I’ve known those kinds of days…

    • Hi, Gosh I do hope I’ll stick to it again. I felt SO energized afterwards that even went for a walk around Halsey Pond.

      Hedi just left a message that last night the daughter of one of her husband’s colleagues killed herself.
      I am so shaken!!!
      What are we going to do?

  2. This was great! I try to read it in an English accent like yours in my head but of course it comes out silly. But I loved reading this one, really motivating. I’m so slow too sometimes and never quite get everything done that I’d like to get done in one day. But step by step, we all have our pace and there is no rush. Yoga here (in Bogotá) is sooo expensive for some reason, which really goes against the whole philosophy, no? Not good. I miss it too. Big hugs, Esme! -Laura

    • Great to hear from you sweetheart. I am so happy that you are still reading my blog. How is life in Bogota’, expensive yoga notwithstanding?

  3. I am sorry to be the realist here, but we need waaay more than yoga; last night my husband’s coworker’s daughter committed suicide, an honors student, who did tons of volunteer work, a star athlete at her HS, one of the “popular kids” with everything going for her. She had been bullied and harassed for months and did not tell her parents what was going on.

    My heart is broken for all of these kids/young adults and their families…

    We have to let them know that these events pass and things GET BETTER….How do we do this….not to mention dealing with the bullying in the first place…

  4. I appreciate your kind words, Esmeralda; her family and friends are beside themselves…I wish you could be with them, I really do…

    I am unable to comprehend why anyone thinks it is OK to verbally or physically OK to torture another human being.

    I am at a complete loss to understand the apparent complete lack of conscience that some parents enjoy fostering in their kids who bully others on a regular basis…

    • Dear Hedi – Please do what you can to be close to the family. If possible help organize help with cleaning, laundry. Also maybe neighbors, friends, colleagues could take turns providing meals for the family.
      When Andrew died, I had the help I mention above. My neighbors and friends fed us for two months, I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.
      Please try to organize continuos prayers for the family and friends.
      Please try not to think angry thoughts, they don’t help at the moment, try to concentrate your energy on those who need it.
      You are all in my thoughts, please give a huge hug to the family from me, there isn’t much else I can do, other than pray and send my love.
      Thank you for letting me know Hedi. Take care of yourself, so that you can take care of others. God Bless You. A very, very sad, Esmeralda

      • Hedi…the following is a hodge podge of thoughts.

        The advice Esmeralda gave is wonderful. My church family reached out to us and did all of the things Esmeralda mentioned.

        On Kauai there is a community crisis reponse organization (non-profit)that responds to families whenever there is a sudden violent death (of any kind) to support the family. Perhaps there is something similar in your community.

        I appreciated thoughtful gifts of flowers, cards, food from coworkers and people I barely knew. They dropped by, not overstaying their welcome, gave me hugs and the gift of their thoughtfulness comforted us.

        It was the first funeral I ever had to plan in my life, so it was a miracle that a church friend stepped forward to ask if our family needed any help with that.

        Find out if there is a Survivors of Suicide support group in your community and contact them for more suggestions on how you may help. Perhaps just tactfully providing correct, current info to the family so they know there is a support network for them out there.

        Nov 20 is National Survivors of Suicide Day. Your community is probably planning something–a walk, a conference. Contact the planners…participate.

        Right now, the focus needs to be on supporting the family. There is also info on the internet on how to support survivors…

        You might also contact your local or State Department of Health to see what their plan is to prevent suicide and get involved. Our state has a suicide prevention task force that meets to plan and coordinate multiple stakeholder efforts to create awareness, educate, and improve prevention, intervention, and post-vention activities.

        I am not an expert on suicide and I need to become better educated about the effects of bullying / harrassment and suicide, but from what I have read in the past 2 years I have gotten the impression that there usually is not one single cause (i.e. bullying) but multiple causes with something being the “tipping point” to where the emotional pain becomes unbearable. And it’s not uncommon for people to try to find and blame someone or something when causes of suicide are often more complex. It’s our quick way of addressing the relentless “why” question. I have found books by Dr. Thomas Joiner helpful in trying to understand why people die by suicide.

        I am really worried about how suicide or bullicide has been in the media. I know AFSP has suggested media guidelines on how to report suicides without causing copy-cat deaths. I pray that all the media attention recently has not actually caused some to think more about suicide while it has brought attention to the concern. Responsible reporting is also important.

        Once the family is supported…which as you can tell from Esmeralda’s blog takes months…minimally the first year until the family members can speak up for what they need. I tell people I don’t like the day that my son died and I don’t do anything on that day that I don’t want to do. Once the family is supported, there is much you can do and fortunately many resources available to do it to educate youth about resilience, bullying, and suicide prevention. Do whatever resonates with you. Do it in connection with schools, churches, community youth groups / clubs.

        Sorry, I keep rambling…one last thought. Get Suicide First Aid Certified. What is that? There are non-profits that train anyone on how to provide life-saving first aid to someone in a suicide crisis. Just like people know CPR, Heimlich Maneuver, and other crisis life saving responses. I received training on how to recognize and respond to a suicide crisis through a course offered by our state DOH. LivingWorks (is online) is the organization that provided the trainings. So I am SafeTalk and Assist Trained (descriptions are online). This training brought me the most peace of mind after my son died that I would in the future have a better chance of helping someone experiencing a suicide crisis. Perhaps my son would not have died at his point of crisis if the people around him had been educated to recognize the signs and know how to respond. No one can say that for sure but the odds would have been better for him if we all who interacted with him during the month he was thinking of suicide were better educated–family, co-workers, pastors, friends, police. All these people were untrained. Perhaps if time was reversed and all of us were trained, maybe he would have survived that crisis and lived a few more years.

        The more I think about the whole issue, it seems so big and beyond what we can do. But I just go back to focusing on what can I do and whatever that is that’s right for me is enough.

        Hope something I wrote has value…

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