Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

The Rise and Fall of a Boot Camp Queen:

I am not in the picture above. 

Because I hate push-ups. 

BUT….I signed up for Boot Camp. 

It was only three weeks. 

I have never taken a Boot Camp class before and quite honestly it scared me; all those push-ups, burpies and mountain climbers. But this class was only three weeks and I thought I could do anything for three weeks.


And quite honestly, I rocked it. I wasn’t the best one but I was kinda in the B+ range and I always like it when I’m above average.

I still can’t do push-ups….darn you push ups.

At the end of the class we all got in a circle and did a HOOYAH! I HOOYAH’ed all filled with my sweaty, stinky awesomeness.

On Sunday (after an awesome Boot Camp swim) I met my family to see my beautiful niece perform in the Nutcracker.

“You sound sick,” my mom said.

“Nah, it’s just a tickle.”


 By 9:00, I was coughing up a storm and checked myself into the guest bedroom.

Monday morning, I knew I would not partake in Boot Camp awesomeness, or work, or anything productive. I was coughy, feverish, sneezy, and the body that felt so strong and capable on Sunday, could barely make it to the couch.


I was sick.

I think of Samantha all of the time but it’s times when I’m sick that I think about how she felt….how it was to feel sick….a lot.

The last time I thought about this was on a United Commuter plane to Minnesota with a raging Urinary Tract Infection.

There is only one bathroom on a United Commuter Plane….and it is very small. And it was muy ocupado on that flight.

By me.

I got off the plane and b-lined it to the information desk to ask for the nearest Urgent Care Center.
TMI, right?

But the whole time I talked to Samantha….Oh Sweet Girl…I am so sorry you had these horrible infections. If you can help Mommy get to her rental car without passing out, she would be most grateful

And she helped. And I did not pass out. And antibiotics are a wonderful thing.

Yesterday, I crawled to the couch and pulled up the covers and thought of my girl. I felt sooooo weak. So devoid of energy and I wondered if was remotely what our Mito friends feel. 

I also realized I was stinky.

So I mustered up my strength to take a shower. Mind you shower only. I was so tired there was no shaving of legs, no shampooing of hair, conditioner was OUT of the question. If this continued, I would have to be the Christmas Yeti.

Hubs reminded me that there is no Christmas Yeti.

Darn it.

There should be a Christmas Yeti.

As I snoozed for another hour, I thought of those I know and love with energy diseases. I KNEW when Samantha was low on energy, I could see it in her eyes, her complexion. And those days, she just wanted to cuddle.

And I know adults who struggle with this disease. I thought of Olivia Sue, one of our adults with mito….and kids…..and she posts pictures on Facebook of the tree she decorated while on oxygen wearing her Santa hat, make up and looking beautiful. Because, energy or not, life goes on and a tree needs to be decorated…. God Bless her.

I did not decorate the tree wearing a Santa hat. I don’t think I own a Santa hat. But I might need one now.
I can pretend to know what my Girl went through.

But I don’t know.

And it’s not until I get sick that I can at least appreciate that I do not know what my Girl went through, or what Olivia Sue goes through as she decorates the tree, or how our other beloved mito kiddos and adults go through. Being sucked of your energy sucks.

So, I missed my last week of Boot Camp. But tonight I can get off the couch without cursing the Gods of Influenza……well maybe I give a tiny curse.

And I am reminded once again of what the incredible people we help are up against….to those, I cannot pretend to know what your day is like. But you are braver, stronger and much more persistent than I am…you are a bazillion burpies and two bazillion push-ups in one. And not the knees-on-the-floor push-ups….the real ones.  


Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Karate Sticker

Welcome Christmas. 

You snuck up behind that Turkey, why yes you did, all dancy and prancy with your Elf-on-the-Shelf and Christmas cheer. And now you are here, all lit and glittery. You are here. 

And what to do with you. And where to spend my energy with you. 

Yesterday, I volunteered at Children’s Hospital with the Bereavement Program. They organize an evening for families in their first year of loss. Families are asked to make luminaries in memory of their child.  

I came early. As I laid out chocolate cupcakes with Santa faces, I talked to the Children’s Pastor, who I like quite a lot. 

“Now Bob, I’m not going to cry am I?” 

He stole a sugar cookie. “No, no crying.” 


“Yes,…..No, no promises. Wow, those are good cookies.” 

Families filtered in and were given brown paper bags to decorate. Some came alone, some came with children, some came with friends. 

Some came stoically, some came with tears in their eyes. 

And they decorated those bags. 

The tables were covered with different types of stickers. Our job was to help them find the stickers they needed to decorate the bags. 

Easy task right? 

Oh no. 

When a grieving mama is looking for a red ball sticker and she can’t find a red ball sticker, you will move hell and earth to find that red ball sticker. 

And it can’t be a croquet ball, or a balloon that looks like a ball. It needs to be a ball. 

And I GOT it . I couldn’t help with anything…..I couldn’t make anything better but gosh darn it!  I could find a red ball. 

A Grandfather came up looking for a karate sticker. And I searched frantically for a damn karate sticker. 

A mama came up with tears in her eyes looking for ladybugs. “How old was she?” I asked.

“Two and a half”

I went outside, gazed at the Christmas lights and cried. It was a short cry… ugly cry but enough to dab a tear or too. 

I found Bob and gave him a nudge in the ribs. “You said I wouldn’t cry.” 

“It’s a lot of sad energy,” Bob said. “First Christmases are so hard.” 

“You SAID I wouldn’t cry.”  

“Here, have a cookie.” 

“Doesn’t help.” 

“Apple Cider?” 

I stayed later and spoke with some of the families. 

I believe in an afterlife and I think someone, something, some energy was there to greet Samantha as she journeyed on. 

And I think in this journey through grief here in this world, someone needs to greet you and tell you it will be okay….well not okay….it sucks my stinky big toe but at least, at least, I will find a karate sticker for you.

Or maybe not….I’m making this up as I go.  


We Are Good. We Have Plenty

I do like Thanksgiving. 

I find it the simpler of holidays….a holiday focused around a meal, gratitude, family….. 

Hubs and I went to Virginia to visit my Mama-in-Law. The flight is long, the drive is long….time to think…the visit is relaxing and instead of Black Friday shopping, I thought about what I am grateful for. 

I post a lot about gratitude and I do mean it- Our family and friends are like oxygen to me but if I said that the holidays don’t get to me a bit, I would be lying. I would love our family to be different. 

but we are not

and so I search for simpler things to make me grateful: 

1. Pink sunrises and sunsets: 
Times when the world is illuminated in pink are the times when I know my girl is watching over me. In Colorado, there are times when the entire horizon is enveloped in pink. I look up, take a deep breath, and thank her

2. People over 80: 
I spent this vacation with the most interesting people; one who was a secretary during the Nuremberg trails, another who spent time with Lindbergh (she commented that he was a crazy driver). So many stories, so much life, I ate it up with a spoon. We talked about life and ate pie. These 80+ women were the Cat’s Pajamas. 

3. Cats Pajamas: 
Just ‘cuz

4. I am happy I can read: 
14% of us in the US cannot. Think about that book that you treasure and how it changed your life. 

5. My body: 
HA! Because I never scrutinize it the mirror 🙂 

As I get older it is less about my pouchy belly but more that I am thrilled to have legs that will take me up a mountain and down a mogul field. It is not perfect but it works and I am happy everyday for my beating heart, my breathing lungs and my gigantic you-can-feed-a village-thighs

6. My job: 
I do like my job, my company and the people I work with

7. Our nieces and nephews: 
My goodness, how we adore you. And what a thrill it is to see the oldest become a good man, the youngest smile and the joy you ALL bring our families. That….. and you still think I’m cool or let me think I think I’m cool. I love you. 

8. My Babies:
It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. You will always be the best thing I have ever, ever done 

9. Hubs: 
Yeah…’re pretty good. It’s not until you walk through hell and back that you realize who you want to walk through hell and back with

10. I am grateful to this life: 
To this journey. We are here only briefly. What will we do? Will we lament how we have been robbed? or will we look for the pink in the sunset? 

As I set the Thanksgiving table we talked… we need to carve more turkey? Do you need more rolls? Stuffing? 

The response? We are good. We have plenty.