On Grief and Health

Here is what I have learned about grief thus far.

It’s unpredictable.  Unruly.  Some days you will feel joy as normal; others you will experience a profound sadness that you cannot shake.  Those days you may find yourself shedding lots of tears, or making a cup of coffee and settling into the couch with a stack of your mother’s paper and letters, searching for comfort.  You may wander through Barnes and Noble’s “Spirituality” section and seriously contemplate purchasing a book written by the “Long Island Medium”.  You will look for signs everywhere and cry in frustration when none appear; the next moment you will be laughing, picturing your mother rolling her eyes dismissively and muttering, “Please, Lis – like I have time to get there and give you a sign.”

You may long to connect with everyone you love one minute; and the next moment you will feel like hibernating for a day, a week, a month.  You will need lots of brief walks, deep breathing, wine, and understanding.

In the weeks since my mom’s death, I’ve attempted several health overhauls as well.  I stopped drinking for about nine days after New Year’s, intending to teetotal for the month of January.  Then my stress-levels skyrocketed with lack of sleep and three children and life and grief and I thought to hell with this.  If there is ever a time to indulge, it is now.

I have a birthday looming. (And how do you do birthdays without the one who birthed you calling and sending treats or cards?  I will report back.)  And the promise of another year leaves me hopeful and realistic: I will – God-willing – keep getting older.  I want to keep doing that.  And that means stacking the deck in my favor.  Whatever genetic or environmental landmines lurk in my future, I want to be prepared with optimal health.

I DVR Dr. Oz and tend to skim any segments I find interesting when I am folding laundry.  I am a sucker for huge life overhauls that are destined to fail (I’m awesome), so I downloaded his new “Day-Off Diet” materials.  The idea is you follow a strict meal plan for six days per week, and then you take one day off to indulge a bit.

My first gripe with this plan is that the art department thought it would be cute to put a MOTHER EFFING DOUGHNUT in the graphic for a diet plan.  Thanks, guys.  Every time I look at your handy spreadsheet, I crave 46 Munchkins.

My next issue is the complete and utter lack of cheese.  There is also no Greek yogurt on this list, but the first breakfast option is chock-full of it.  Confounding.


Finally, take a look at the “unlimited” vegetables.  If you are like me, you took one look and thought, “Unlimited daikon? Never ending water chestnuts?  WHERE DO I SIGN?”

All jokes aside, I like this one-page doughnut diet cheat sheet for a loose guide to good eating.  I’m still nursing a newborn ten-month old, so I’m not super-restrictive.  But I can stand to cut out most refined sugar (I still use a dash of coffee creamer) and a plethora of simple carbs.

I also decided that in order to really keep myself on track, I need to monitor my activity, sleep, and food intake.  So I purchased a highly technical super sleek gadget:


(Because I exist in roughly 1994.)

Then, I enlisted the help of a very adorable sous-chef, who is always trying to convince me that fruit snacks are “healfy.”

We made vegetable soup to have on hand for the week. (Saute those bad boys pictured above in a little EVOO and garlic, then add diced tomatoes, green beans, spinach, and squash, vegetable or bone broth, salt and pepper and any spices you like.  Fin.)

Later, after we grabbed H from school, we took advantage of the gorgeous Dallas weather and journeyed to our new most favorite juice bar, and then an insanely awesome playground.  It fills my soul to play with my gang.

(“The Buzz” + “The Sublime” + “Berry Blast” = some very happy dudes)

It’s been one day and I managed to avoid simple carbs, alcohol, and desserts.  I am a hero and should write a book, right?

I keep telling myself there is a bigger picture and purpose.


It helps.


One thought on “On Grief and Health

  1. Thank you for writing this – you explain grief beautifully. Today is the first anniversary of a loved one’s death and I had been teary-eyed all day seeing the Facebook tributes roll in. It still feels raw – and she wasn’t my mother. Sending positive energy to you.

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